Sunday, September 18, 2016

Head of the Class

You see, in my last post, I wrote about being stung by a bee.

It was the kind of juicy tidbit you read on the internet and think, hey, that's really something; I would like to know more about that.

Your pulse quickens, your pupils dilate, and you lean in closer to your screen. What on earth will happen next??? you wonder.

But I laid that tease of a narrative on you, then failed to close the deal.

Allow me to quote from just one of the many lost, betrayed voices that rang out after I posted:

"Er...I'm still waiting to hear what happened after you got stung by the bee..." -lily

Good god, man! I read this comment, and I tore my breast in shame.

So I owe you all an account of a bee sting, by gum, and such an account you shall have.

When a bee attacks, are you supposed to hold your breath and try to look bigger, or roll into a fetal ball and play dead?

I did none of those things that fateful day; in fact, I failed my body terribly in its time of need.

I chose to scream, flail my arms and legs in unpredictable circles, and steer my lawnmower directly into a pine tree. 

If my family had been watching from the window, they would have thought Daddy was having a hilarious stroke.

But they weren't. They didn't even care. They were too busy watching Fixer Upper, clapping with glee every time Chip pulled up musty carpet to reveal pristine hardwood floor beneath.

The bee had its way with me, and I wept from the owie nature of my boo-boos.

You know what they say, though: if Mother Nature throws you from the saddle, hurry and get back on her, or risk being someone who prefers the indoors for the rest of your life.

And so, just the other day, I took a group of my students for a walk in the woods.

I let them walk ahead of me, so they couldn't see my tears.

Most of my students are new this year. They are right out of high school, no diploma, no college in their future. They're here to get jobs, learn how to open a checking account, stuff like that.

Not walk in the woods.

They got hot and hungry, and all I could think to ask them are questions like 'what is your favorite thing to eat?' or, 'what is your favorite thing to order at Red Robin?', or, 'have you had the lava cake at Applebees?' 

We passed a memorial plaque that mentioned how the park was named for a veteran of the Civil War.

"The war of the North and the South was stupid," said A.J., a big, greasy looking country boy. 

"Why do you feel that way, A.J.?" I asked, pretending that I am a nurturing educator. I do that by using feeling words and first names.

"Because they shouldn't be fighting. They are all part of the same country. If I was back then, I'd be telling them all to work it out in peace. Like I would get them all in one big room and say you and you need to shake hands and get along."

"But the South refused to give up slavery," I pointed out, glancing back at my black students. I wanted them to know I wasn't racist, and I figured looking at them right after saying the word 'slavery' would do the trick. 

A.J. considered that for a minute.

"Then I would shoot'em in the kneecaps!" he suddenly shouted. "I'd shoot all the generals and be like Now what? Now what?"


After a moment, I asked him if he liked Mexican food.

The trail deadended on the bank of the Huron River. My class and I stood in awe of the water's majesty.

 It's not the cleanest stretch of the river. One of the kids noticed some weird orange-brown slime puddling up and oozing into the water, and we all crowded around to get a good look.

Sometimes, my duty to educate butts up against my urge to be a five-year-old boy. 



  1. Is 'Sweathog' a bad thing?

    I am not much into actually doing lawn work either. I have a neighbor who enjoys doing mine.

  2. Nicely done, Mr. Brick! Did you know that yellow jackets (aka horrid murder-bugs) sometimes make nests on the ground, say within a pile of sticks and dried leaves? I learned that when I was little, and gathering wood for a fire so we could make s'mores. Side note: Running in circles and crying isn't as effective a deterrent as one might imagine.

  3. Ah, I am now sated with the knowledge of knowing about your encounter with the dreaded striped winged beast. And what a tale it was. I laughed, I cried, I napped for a bit because ageing is a bastard and I may have dribbled a little...and I don't mean from my mouth...again, ageing...

    Excellent as always, although that last picture did royally crack me up.