Saturday, March 18, 2006

Theme Wk. 8/ Small to big

“He cut me!”
If you’ve ever spent more than 15 minutes in an elementary school, I’ll bet you’ve heard those words, spat out with a vehemence unimaginable to anyone not familiar with the ritual of lining up to go…everywhere… the bathroom, the gym, the library, the cafeteria, recess. For some reason, and for most kids, being the first one in line is more important than three squares a day and a place to sleep under a warm blanket. They don’t seem to care that the last in the line will get wherever they’re going approximately 3.2 seconds after the first in line. If a nearby adult makes any exaggerated, shocked expression, or slightly sarcastic comment about a lack of blood, it will be met with either a glare of daggers, or a totally blank stare. (And more than likely, more whining about someone jumping the line.) This scenario often progresses to the dreaded, “She’s looking at me!” or that equally onerous “She made a mean smile at me!” ( not quite sure I’ve figured that one out yet) For whatever reasons, kids seem to be getting shorter and shorter tempers, and less tolerant of the other kids around them.
Fast forward a few years, and these little darlin’s are behind the wheel. Is it a big surprise that they still don’t want to have anyone in front of them? They ride your back bumper until they can’t see any cars coming toward them (of course they can’t see any cars, there are too many curves) and then they fly by you, all the while yakking on a cell phone. You overhear their conversations at the mall about how he “showed her what mattered”, or how she “let him **%^$ know what he could do to %$@#& himself. Whoa. Chill out kiddos.. Of course it’s a real joy when one of these same people is telling all of this to a co worker while they wait on you at the local convenience store. I would way rather hear “Have a nice day” than some of the conversations that go on at the checkout counter. But.. At least they’re working, right? The ones who aren’t can spread their brand of cheer through their gangs.
More and more parents are criticizing teachers for picking on their kids or not giving them a chance. (if little Sally doesn’t have time to finish her homework that should be ok…after all, she does have soccer practice and gymnastics, and cookies to sell… who has time for math?) When she fails her test, Momma can whip off a phone call to the superintendent or the school board quick as you please. If she’s really good at it, she can round up lots of other parents who can all whine to the school board about the big old meanie who is expecting their children to actually do their work. Of course at the same time, there is usually at least one student in the classroom that these same parents want “something done” about .
So you go to a basketball game to relax, and get to hear “fans” screaming at the other “fans”, the players, coaches and especially the refs. It used to be just a handful of loud mouths who would embarrass their families , schools, or towns, but it’s becoming more prevalent, and has finally reached the point of the over paid and under-talented players going into the stands after the rude loud mouths. Don’t get me wrong…I love basketball! I have my March Madness brackets in front of me now..watching the outcome of the tournament, but it’s a game! It’s not a matter of life and death. That would be when countries get involved in the business of other countries either because they disagree with the politics of that country, or because they want something from that country. “His friend made a mean smile at me.” Well sure…that’s a good reason to go to war.


Blogger johngoldfine said...

"For some reason, and for most kids, being the first one in line is more important than three squares a day and a place to sleep under a warm blanket."

Precedence is very symbolic--it's certainly important to dogs. I'm always out the door first, and they have to wait to be called inw whatever order I think they deserve--but I'd sooner cut off my little finger than not call the alpha dog first.

The 'mean smile' is new to me, but there have been harrassment cases where someone got in big trouble because their smile was disrespectful or 'sexy.'

Thank god, I don't have to quiz a student on the quality of the smile ('Number of teeth showing? Sarcastic thoughts or violent fantasies while smiling? Any secondary message with eyes?' Etc.)

Well, I have nothing to say about the writing here except that obviously it got me stimulated and thinking and it clearly starts small and by the end includes war, justice, and everything else.

10:42 AM  

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