So I just found out that my eighteen year old cat has a tooth abscess, which is going to require a spot of dental surgery on Wednesday, and my brother’s wedding is the weekend after this, and the hotel alone for that trip is going to be ugly.
What I’m getting at is that this would be a great time to buy a book or two, if you’re the type to enjoy science fiction or nonfiction books about teaching. I even sell autographed print books directly if you’re interested in that. Because the next two weeks were already going to be bugfuck expensive, and the vet bills ain’t gonna help. And I still don’t have a proper job.
That said, let’s tell a little story about the job I do have. Several years ago I was in charge of the morning video announcements at one of my schools, which involved putting together a script, hustling a pair of middle school students through reading it, then editing the whole thing together and adding sound effects, text, and the occasional bad joke. Over a while it became a running joke that Mr. Siler Doesn’t Dance. It started with a two and a half minute speech about sports physicals by our gym teacher that I intercut with shots of students dancing to keep them paying attention and then eventually cut to me, sitting perfectly still, because I don’t dance. A later shot had me doing a gesture with one finger (no, not that one, but hell if I know how to describe it) in tune to the music while other people danced behind me.
For the rest of the year, any time the kids walked past me, especially the younger ones, one of them was bound to be doing that finger dance. It stuck around for years.
Fast forward to Saturday night. We got killed at OtherJob on Saturday; I walked in to discover the day shift had done probably 30% better than they ever do, especially on a day with no big groups or birthday parties, and we managed to double that number by 7:30 PM and triple it by the time we closed. It was gorgeous outside. You could tell.
Anyway, I was at the outdoor register and basically had my head down most of the night because the line of people wanting to play never let up. At one point I heard my name off to my left. “Yeah, Mr. Siler used to do this all the time,” the kid is saying. I look up, and it’s a former student, a kid who’s probably 16 or 17 by now. He’s part of a big family. There’s a (good) story about his sister in Searching for Malumba. I think I had him and three of his brothers and sisters.
And he’s talking about me, and he has no idea that I’m standing a foot away. And he’s doing the goddamn finger dance.
The look on the kid’s face when I called him out by name was hilarious. I don’t know if he just wasn’t paying attention or what– it was pretty common knowledge that this was my other job, so frequently kids would come looking for me if they showed up, but it’s been a few years since I’ve seen him– and I think I exploded his brain for a bit there.