Sunday, May 29, 2011

Not So Best Wishes

My son, Trent, is graduating from eighth grade. Part of the pageantry of wrapping up his final middle school year is the signing of yearbooks.

One of Trent’s teachers penned the following ditty in his book: “Trent, you are not as annoying as most people think.”

Trent assured me the teacher was only kidding. He got a big kick out of it.

But even if the teacher was serious, this would rank only as the second worst yearbook signing by a teacher I’ve ever seen. The undisputed award for “Worst Yearbook Signing by at Teacher” occurred way back when I was in high school. I had an acquaintance who was a bit of a ne’er-do-well in school. He unwisely asked a teacher who was one of his regular targets to sign his yearbook. The teacher was short, and not so sweet.

“Good luck,” he wrote. “You’re going to need it.”

Unlike my son’s teacher, I’m sure he wasn’t kidding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Facebook Hate Shouldn't Be Taken Lightly

Dr. Drew Pinsky is among those supporting a 13-year-old girl who was recently suspended from school for posting on Facebook that she wished Osama Bin Laden would have killed her teacher. I’m not nearly as sympathetic.

Specifically, the girl wrote, “I wished Osama bin Laden had killed (my teacher) instead of the 3,000 people in the Twin Towers.” The school suspended the girl for five days. “I’m so sorry this has been so hurtful for you,” Pinsky told the girl.

I feel sorry for the teacher. Wishing death upon someone is no joking matter, particularly in today’s environment where teens have not only threatened people at their schools, but have acted on those threats. The girl’s mother admits the post was wrong, but quickly follows up with criticism of school officials for addressing this with her daughter at school, particularly since it happened away from school grounds.

I’m thankful someone is watching these things. The days of dismissing hateful language as idle teenage chitchat are long since past. In fact, warning signs have too often been ignored. I think five days suspension is actually pretty light. If it were up to me, I would have expelled the girl and notified police.

And, if this were my daughter, she would be at home trying to make things right instead of making a spectacle of herself on TV. As for Dr. Drew, I wonder if he would be so sympathetic if the teacher were his wife.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Useless Superpower

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a pretty useless superpower. I am generally able to tell a person which celebrity they most look like. I, for example, look a lot like Tom Cruise if he had let himself go. (It’s the nose). Granted, if Earth were threatened by aliens, you’d probably want Superman. But if you were people watching over a few drinks, you might find my power to be more entertaining than the Man of Steel.

Like most superheroes, I can’t renounce my powers, even if I wanted. They recently surfaced unexpectedly as I was reading about the Arnold Schwarzenegger love child. As soon as I saw Arnold’s mistress, I knew her doppelganger. She is a carbon copy for the crazy mother from the Miami Housewives series.

Take a look for yourselves. Arnold's girl is on the left. The housewife mom is on the right. Once you see the uncanny resemblance as I do, I doubt you mere mortals will ever challenge Tubby Tom Cruise again.

Arnold Girl

Crazy Mom

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Looking Good on the Diamond

It was hard to convince my 8-year-old son, Clark, to get sports goggles. Now, it’s hard to get him to take them off … ever.

The other night I caught him wearing them in bed while reading a book, as if a stray line drive might rocket through his bedroom at any moment. He wears them when we go out to eat. I’m surprised he doesn’t wear them in the bathtub.

Recently, Clark insisted on wearing his entire Little League Reds uniform to a Reds’ baseball game, complete with goggles. Three people mistook him for Chris Sabo.

In addition to sharing Sabo’s fashion sense, Clark plays third base, just like him. If fact, I’d figure he was going for Sabo’s look, if only he’d ever heard of him.

Or maybe Clark wants to look like giant horsefly.

Who knows what goes through the mind of an 8-year-old boy? But I do know this much: If a food fight ever unexpectedly breaks out at Applebee’s, he’s ready.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Remembering a Man Who Found the Loopholes

I think I can best describe the life of my grandpa Morris, who died Monday, through a single story. He was so cantankerous that he picked up smoking in his 90s as a protest against authorities at his senior living facility.

Let me explain.

Like a lot of people his age, grandpa wasn’t thrilled with being moved to a senior living facility even though he was in his 90s and in desperate need of help. So when he got there, he resisted. This manifested itself in a variety of ways, including securing the code to the automatic door and sneaking outside when people weren’t looking.

As a result, administrators rightfully cracked down on his privileges, including limiting his trips outside the facility. At about this same time, grandpa probably jotted down a grievance in one of his many notepads. He noticed smokers were allowed to leave the facility regularly for 15-minute smoke breaks, while he wasn’t.

So, to level the playing field, he reached the only logical conclusion: Despite being a nonsmoker his entire life, he must pick up smoking immediately.

Can you believe it worked? To his credit, he had discovered a loophole and was soon outside with the others, puffing away. For my mom, this meant now bringing him cigarettes along with his beloved chocolates.

This was the life of my grandpa, a man who stubbornly gamed the system until the very end. God bless him.