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October 19, 2005

Wednesday Wandering

One of the more interesting aspects of being the Officer of the Guard is that you get to chat with the troops pulling duty in between their shifts. I operated on the assumption that everybody opens up, even to an officer, over a cup of coffee at o'geezitzdark in the morning--I was usually right. F'r instance, one Balkan February eve I was trading "What I do in Real Life" stories with a couple of fellow-sufferers after we'd gone into the Guard Shack to thaw out from the thirty-below-zero ambient atmosphere and got this gem....

"One of the jobs I interviewed for was a teaching position in the local grade school. The interview went well, but I had a few things I needed to get straight, so when the interviewer asked, 'Do you have any questions?' I answered, 'Let me see if I've got this right...

" 'You want me to go into a room full of kids and fill their every waking moment with a love of learning. I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits.

" 'You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons and raise their self esteem.

" 'You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job.

" 'You want me to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, make sure all students pass the state exams, including those who don't even show up with any regularity or complete any of their assignments.

" 'You want me to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap.

" 'You want me to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card.

" 'You want me to do all of that with a piece of chalk, a couple of books, a bulletin board and a big smile and do it on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps.

" 'You want me to do all that and you expect me not to pray?!?' "

Heh. H/t to "Shayla, the Double-Digit Midget."