Just Happy to Be Here (Friday)

I feel like I have to lighten things up after yesterday’s cathartic, heart-rending entry. Let’s go old-school stream of consciousness.

Donkey Kong didn’t get the memo regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Apparently a couple of students who I call the Rabies Babies – for no real reason, mind you – found a TV on the side of the road. The TV works. They brought it to school this morning to set up in my classroom. They are now playing Super Smash Brothers Melee on Game Cube in a corner of my classroom. Since I’ve had blinds installed over both the windowed walls of my classroom, I closed them all and shut the lights of for effect. I can now cross off “Turn my classroom into a 1920’s speakeasy – but for video games” off my bucket list. That’s reassuring. All I really have left to do are see Stone Temple Pilots live and watch the Mets win a World Series. Sure, there is that other thing about raising my daughter to be a noble, contributing member of society, but that’s more of an on-going process than a one-time thing. I think that’s a pretty big distinction.

This is your lizard on Raid. Any questions?

Lynnette’s parents took us out to dinner last night, as per the usual on a Thursday. The restaurant they selected was all the way in Kaneohe at Windward Mall. I can’t complain, since they did take us to dinner, but it did feel as if the universe was conspiring against me, from about 8 PM on. We hit traffic on H1 heading back home because of those lane closures. This irritated me because I wanted to go to bed. When we hit the snarl, I took my phone out and started reading a few articles on Grantland.com. We got home eventually and all it cost me was a minor headache from trying to read in the car. When we got home, there was a note taped to our door. One of our neighbors who didn’t bother to leave their name typed out a screed (IN ALL CAPS!) informing us that Abby barked “for hours” and that it really irritated them. They also suggested that we teach our dog “not to bark” by “squirting it in the face with water from a spray bottle.” This is the first actual complaint that we’ve received about Abby, so I was kind of curious, but also irritated. Again, I just wanted to go to sleep. I handed Lynnette the letter, went into the bathroom, peeled my clothes off and got into the shower. It was probably the highlight of my day to that point, with eating cheese on a stick a close second. I got out of the shower and was in the process of drying off when Lynnette said “I think I know why Abby was barking. There’s a lizard above the door.” I was naked and half-wet and dropped an f-bomb followed by “I just want to go to sleep!” I put boxers on, got a paper towel and took stock of the situation.

The lizard was above the doorway leading to our bedroom. It was big. I probably missed it on the way in because I was in zombie-mode. I stood there for about two seconds and considered the jump and slam technique, which would have featured a chubby Asian man trying to get some mad air, then slamming a gecko into the wall. But I was too tired. I walked to the kitchen and grabbed the Raid. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Phil, Raid isn’t meant for lizards!” No, you’re right. It’s not. But it does make them lose their shit, and it does slow them down. Like everything else in life, you’ve got to tilt the odds in your favor. That’s what Effie Trinket said, and you know what? I believe her. Anyway, that’s what that lizard got for preventing me from going to bed. Lynnette and Madison were behind me taking in the action. Well, Lynnette was also backseat-lizard catching. She’s also a Hall-of-Fame Backseat Crib-Builder, Entertainment Unit-Builder, and Chef, but ironically, not Driver.

I’m going to end this woefully depressing story by saying that the lizard ended up in a Ziploc bag and Madison wanted to see it, but shouted “You better not open the bag!” before agreeing to come near me. Believe me, Mad. I would not do anything that would increase the likelihood of that thing getting out again.

“My friends call me ‘Nova,’ like Casano- you know what? Forget it. Jus give me the five points, ah, Mister?”

Today is Friday of Spirit Week which is the culmination of activities tied to the Homecoming football game. We play Iolani at 5 PM at the Stadium. Be there. Aside from the wonderful festivities that allowed me to wear shorts all week, the Homecoming game is a yet another chance to maintain a long-standing tradition: offering my students extra-credit to come out and support their school. See, I know the score. Teenagers today have about a billion things they could spend their free time doing. I’m just trying to swing a little of that decision making in favor of our school. So the students get 5 points for saying hello to me at the game. That’s not 5 percentage points, just 5 points, which is the equivalent of half a homework assignment. Buuuuuuut, they have the option for an extra two on top of that if they compliment Lynnette.

I must have written about this before, but for those who have not followed this blog since it began on Myspace, here’s the origin story:

A few years ago, I made this exact arrangement with my students. I told my co-workers about it, but I didn’t tell Lynnette. So when my co-workers and I were seated in the stadium with our husbands and wives or boyfriends or girlfriends, they were all in on the joke. The first student found me and said hello. 5 points. The second student said hello, and complimented Lynnette. Since she didn’t see this coming, she was caught off-guard and graciously said “Thank you.” A couple of my co-workers giggled. The next student only went for the 5 points and quickly walked away. In retrospect, this is what made it work so well: the first few guys didn’t tip her off. Well, the next three guys came in a group and all took turns saying hello, then complimenting her. I think one of them might have even used the word “voluptuous,” (Yikes!) That’s when Lynnette turned to me and said “PHILIP! DID YOU TELL THEM TO SAY THESE THINGS?!” “No!” I shouted. “Why would I do that?” My co-workers lost it. And of course I couldn’t keep a straight face, but it didn’t matter. By then one of my students was telling Lynnette that she was more radiant than the sun or something.

So Lynnette knows it’s coming now. She’s a good sport about it. I know it makes her uncomfortable, but I also know that she’s too nice to ever say that to the students, so she just kind of has to accept it. I get a kick out of it, and the students enjoy A) the extra credit, B) something about swag, and C) watching their friends stumble all over their words like “Oh, um, Mister, is this your wife? Oh, um, she’s like, I mean, she’s really pretty…” then getting the hell out of Dodge.

Happy Friday! One more week until the first quarter ends! We can make it!

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