On venturing into public

My belly is full of pizza and my brain is full of nonsense. At the moment I prefer the contents of my belly; ultimately the pizza will cost me less. That said, it’s been a very long time since I was getting any kind of exercise regularly– and, despite my near-permanent status as a professional fat dude, I actually enjoy exercise. I got a weird little thrill when my wife pointed out that the current bathroom mirror (which is six feet wide and about four high, with no borders– just a big piece of mirrored glass) ought to go down into the basement as part of our as-yet nonexistent home gym. I was actually angry with myself that I hadn’t thought of it on my own.

I ran into three different families’ worth of students during the ten minutes that I was buying pizza, by the way, which makes me think maybe living in more or less the same neighborhood as my school isn’t that much of an advantage.

One of them asked me what I was doing there, which tells you the caliber of kids I’m dealing with. (Yes, this is an unfair thing to say. No student anywhere thinks his teachers are real people, and running into us in public, thus confirming the unwelcome truth that we exist outside of our classrooms, is always an occasion for wonder and mystery. But it’s still funny.)

“I’m here for pizza,” I told her.

“Really?” she asked.

I leaned forward.

“I actually live here,” I whispered, and pointed under one of the chairs by the door. “I slept there last night. Don’t tell anybody.”

Her eyes tripled in size. Her mother got their pizza (I was waiting for a Deep Dish pizza, which takes longer even though it’s more of a Deep Ish pizza) and shot me a weird look as they left.

By the time the third family said hello and left, I think the employees thought I was some sort of rock star.

The pudgy, bald, talentless kind, of course.

I tried to spend part of last night applying for a field trip grant through Target. Have I mentioned the DC trip yet? I take a group of seventh and eighth graders to Washington, D.C. every two years, and this year is a travel year. The trip is hella expensive so we’re trying to find a good way to pay for it that doesn’t involve me having to run a fundraiser. First it took twenty minutes and two changes of my password to log into the site, which is justweird, and then after taking three thousand or so characters to say I want to take my kids to DC so they can lern history gud, it lost my entire application except for the biographical part at the beginning. Frustrated, I tried to flip to the last section of the application, which asks me to break the trip cost down in ways that are frankly impossible (it costs, roughly, $800 per kid, but that’s a flat fee– they don’t break it down by transportation or food or lodging or whatever. It’s just $800. Target wants everything broken down specifically– I can’t even realistically estimate those numbers– and I doubt they’ll like it very much if I just put $32,000 HOLY FUCKING HELL ARE WE SERIOUSLY PAYING THEM THIRTY-TWO GRAND into one of the boxes.

Holy shit. How the hell are they making thirty-two thousand dollars off of us? That’s fucking insane. Mental note: redouble plans to become a DC tour guide once I decide I can’t teach any longer.


Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.