Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Party Time!

Next Friday is Halloween party day at school. For the uninitiated, Halloween party day is when students stuff their cheap Wal-mart costumes into their backpacks, spend the morning learning absolutely nothing because all they can think about is changing into said costumes, and then, after donning their Iron Man or Darth Vader or fireman (how quaint) get-up, proceed to growl at me under the mistaken impression that I am somehow confused about their true identity.

Holy shit. The Hulk is in my classroom.

We have a parade first. Here's how it works: Everyone gets in their costumes (including the teachers. If you don't, you have to endure an hour's worth of "What are you supposed to be?" and "Nice costume" and "Party pooper". And that's just the other teachers.). We line up. We walk through the halls and around the building, then back through classrooms so that all the little kids can see us. Kids I don't know wave at me. Three of my future delinquents will try their damndest to terrify the five-year-olds. I will pray that the line moves slowly so we can delay the start of the party and that no one gets lost.

Then we'll go back to our room. In the room I will try to stretch out any quiet activities for as long as I reasonably can. So we'll eat first. And I'll do the whole, "I'll call your group as soon as you're quiet." Except even when they are quiet I won't call on them right away because I want the eating to take as long as possible. Kids are quieter with their mouths full.

However, there will come a time when most of them are done eating and they'll start talking. It will get progressively louder. Some of them will leave their seats and cause trouble. A couple of boys will take their temporary personas too far and wrestle or sword fight or kick each other in the 'nads. Someone will cry. There will be parents in the room and I'll attempt to win them over by offering them food that I did not provide. Then I'll get on some kid (probably the nad kicker) to show the parents how stern I am. Eventually, we'll play a game to kill more time. I like quiet ones, like 7-Up. If I'm lucky, the clock will move fast. And if I'm really lucky, some of the parents will ask to check their kids out early.

This is what happens when you become an old fuddy-duddy. Halloween is no longer about the costumes or the candy or frightening little kids or even getting kicked in the 'nads. It's about getting through it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Posts from the Past:

Want to know what not to pass out this Halloween? Click here.
Want to read about a terrifying Halloween tradition? Click here.
Want to participate in the Great Chocolate Milk Debate? Click here and vote in the comments!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Sold a Poem

I haven't submitted any poetry in about a year and a half, but this week I got a contract in the mail from Jack and Jill and they're paying me fifty bucks to publish one of my poems. It's about sledding. So that's fun.

My mother-in-law got selected for jury duty. Most people I know dread jury duty. In fact, I may be the only person in America that would LOVE to be on a jury. Alas, in my thirty-four years I've never gotten the call. What's a guy have to do to be inconvenienced around here?

After lots of submissions and plenty of requests for fulls, I'm pulling my YA off the grid. I know "it only takes one" and all that, but I've gotten very similar feedback on the story and it's quite obvious that the problems are significant and ultimately not fixable (at least, not without drastically changing the story. And I use the word "story" loosely.)

The good news: Almost done with another book.
The bad news: Been "almost done" for months.