Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 149

The Time Mookie Went To Fifth Grade

As the new school year is gearing up, I was talking with my kids about when I went to school and how things worked way back then.  Naturally the conversation turned to all of the teachers I had during my schooling and who was the worst and who was my favorite.

My answer for the worst teacher was a toss up between my 2nd grade and 4th grade teachers who were both no-nonsense teachers who I don't recall having a lot of fun with.  They seemed like bitter old ladies who had no time for any shenanigans.  I do have to give a shout out to my 8th grade math teacher as well for being rather unpleasant.  She was a bit of a tyrant and for some reason wore long-sleeved shirts all the time.  A joke eventually got started that she was a big drug user and she wore long sleeves to hide all of the heroin needle tracks.  We of course had zero proof of any of this, but it made the days in her class bearable. God we were mean.

Knowing what I know now as an adult, I don't blame a lot of the teachers for their lack of tolerance because a bunch of "asshole kids" can really wear on your patience.  I have no doubt we probably lived up to that description.

Then it came time to discuss my favorite teacher:  The best teacher I had during my schooling - hands down - was my 5th grade teacher Miss M.*

Miss M. was a first-year teacher fresh out of college, and she was so excited that she finally had her own class of students.  I must add that not only was she fresh out of college, young, and fun:  Miss M. was Hot. As. Balls.  To this day, I still say it was no accident that Van Halen's song "Hot For Teacher" came out in October of this particular school year.  I am not making this up.  Now since I was only 11 years old at the time, the term "hot" was subjective because my view on girls hadn't developed yet.  I didn't know what was what (still don't) or what I'd do about it.  However I did know she was quite pretty and there was something special about her.

I still remember that the entire first week of school was a major screw-off.  The entire week.  Due to her naivete and being so excited to have her 1st class after four years of college, we essentially played games and had fun the whole week.  About a month into the school year she figured out or was told that her class was WAY behind the other 5th grade classes in the building in terms of keeping up with the established curriculum.  She for some reason told us this, and advised that we would be picking up the pace and getting heavy into the learning.  I don't recall the "pace" of anything increasing, but we pressed on with our reading, math, and other subjects.

Learning-wise, I recall two particular subjects that she helped me with that year: 1. This was the year we learned how to do fractions and I was horrible at it.  Like scary horrible.  I had no idea what I was doing, and could not figure out how to add them together or break them down.  Everyone else seemingly got it and it was all lost on me.  Eventually she helped me and I sort of figured it out; and 2.  My strong suit in school was my ability to read.  Traditionally for my entire elementary career I had been put into the highest reading levels due to my above-average comprehension and reading skills, however for whatever reason I was put in the lowest reading group in Miss M's class.  The LOWEST.  I was with some other poor soul who - bless her heart - couldn't read for shit.  The material was literally 1st grade material and I was crushing it.  Finally my Mom and Miss M. discussed this at a parent/teacher conference and figured out I was probably in the wrong group (I blame my 4th grade teacher for being a beyotch and screwing up my transcripts).  Miss M. gave me a reading assessment test from the higher text books and quickly found out I was indeed in the wrong group.  I quickly went from reading about Dick and Jane chasing their dog Spot to more challenging reading material.

Four other things I still remember to this day:
1. I still remember her sharing an affection of the music of the time with all of us.  Like most of us, she enjoyed the music of Twisted Sister (We're Not Gonna Take It / I Wanna Rock), and Huey Lewis and The News.  I still remember her telling us how she went and saw a Huey Lewis concert one particular weekend and how cool we thought it was.

2.  Miss M. had a knack for wearing loose-fitting button up shirts, and bless her heart - she had something to fill those shirts with.  Unbeknownst to her - or maybe she just didn't care because she was dealing with a bunch of 11 year-old kids, she pretty much "gave away the farm" anytime she bent over.  I still remember the one time she leaned down the end of the lunch table to tell a bunch of us something, and we all saw cleavage and bra as far as the eye could see.  As they said on Seinfeld: "They're real, and they're spectacular."  Again, I was 11 so I didn't know what I was looking at but I also knew that I didn't mind looking at it either.

3.  Hugs.  Miss M. gave everyone a hug every Friday before we left for the weekend.  They were such good hugs, many kids got in line twice. In fact, kids from OTHER classes would show up after school and get hugs too as we were being dismissed.  "Did you get a hug from Miss M?"  "YESSSSS."

4.  One day after we got back from lunch or something, we found the room empty and Miss M. wasn't there.  We all sat there talking and waited for quite awhile for her to show up but she never did.  Finally one of the girls went up to the office to see where she was, and they came back saying Miss M. was in the office crying.  Our class had been serious trouble that day prior to lunch, so we thought we drove her over the edge and we were in for it.  When Miss M. returned to class she did indeed let us have it, but in doing so she also stated the reason she was really crying was because her friend - who had visited our class once or twice during the school year - had suddenly gone missing.  To make matters worse this friend had a history of attempted suicide, so Miss M. had totally lost it.  Thankfully her friend was eventually found safe and sound later that day.  Needless to say we all ended up giving her hugs that day.

So as school gets started out there this fall, take a second to remember those teachers who made you a better person or even just put a smile on your face because it seemed like they cared.  I've come to learn that no matter how nasty they seemed or mean some of those teachers were, they really did care.  They probably wouldn't have been there if they didn't.

Miss M:  Thanks for the mammaries memories.  I hope life has treated you well.

* - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Math Problems Come To Life At Walmart

Shady Sal fills a cart with 25 pineapples.
Shady Sal neglects to pay for the pineapples and sprints out the front door pushing the cart as fast as he can.
On the way to the car, Shady Sal drops 10 of the pineapples as he swerves around pedestrians and police cars.  Then Shady Sal throws 6 pineapples at the on-coming police cars as he peels out of the parking lot in his Ford Escort.  How many pineapples does Shady Sal have left after the cops unleash a hailstorm of bullets and tear gas upon Shady Sal's car?

When Your Cold Medicine Needs That Extra Kick

The More You Know