shut up shut up shutupSHUT UP

On the heels of last night’s admission that spending half an hour talking about education with a couple of very talented teachers made me actually miss teaching, I woke up at an indecent hour last night to an email from my boss warning me that I was likely to have to spend a good portion of today and Monday covering classes, specifically 7th grade math, which you may remember was my major subject during the last year where I was actually a full-time, entire-year teacher.

This ended up not working out because of several preexisting commitments, but I did teach math during sixth, seventh, and eighth hour today. And I’ll admit it: I had fun. It was nice.

(I didn’t do any lesson planning or grading or really have to deal with any discipline issues. I shut them up at the beginning of class, let them know that if they were silent and respectful while I explained my rules I’d give them a generous leash during class, and then went from table to table checking in and answering questions during class. In other words, I only did the fun part of the job. Hell, I didn’t even have to do any whole-group shit! That might have required classroom management!)

I am not going back into the classroom next year, Goddammit. I’m not. No. And I’d appreciate it if the universe would quit trying to contrive situations where it pretends that thinking about returning to the classroom is anything other than a cataclysmically bad life decision.

In other news, it has been a solid four days since I’ve had a decent night’s sleep, despite sleeping for about 20 hours on Wednesday, and I’d appreciate it if that could happen tonight. I’m mostly over the cold, which is now only manifesting itself in occasional acute and intense bouts of dry throat, but I’m surprised at how functional I am given how little useful sleep I’ve had lately.

In which white people make terrible decisions

I seriously thought Ralph Northam’s stupid lying racist ass was the dumbest thing I was going to encounter this week, I really did. He issued what I thought was a pretty decent apology the night that the blackface/Klan picture broke, and I almost– almost– thought that maybe he shouldn’t have to immediately resign.

Well, fuck me for giving a racist a second’s benefit of the doubt, because the very next morning this asshole is not only trying to take back his admission that it was him in the picture, he “defends himself” by saying he wasn’t in blackface that time but there was this other time that he did it and man, isn’t shoe polish hard to get off your face?

So fuck that guy. He can go. Ain’t nobody gonna miss him.

(I won’t be entertaining a lot of debate on this point, for the record. We can lose everybody who ever wore blackface, period. I don’t give a fuck who you are or when you did it. I can’t believe that not only am I still having this fucking conversation, but it’s like the third time in a few weeks.)

And then I log onto Twitter for a moment during my lunch break and I get to play the Dead or an Asshole? game, since Liam Neeson is trending for some fucking reason. A wise man once said that the Internet plays a game where every day a new person is chosen as the Main Character of the Internet, and you win the game if that person is never you.  So, Liam lost the game today.

And Liam’s story kinda had me fucked up for a minute, you know? Because– and stay with me, here, because I’m phrasing this carefully– I very much do get the feeling that something terrible has happened to someone you care about, and you weren’t able to do anything about it. I very much do get the idea that in response to that trauma he went a little crazy for a little while. That’s not the problem.

No, the problem for Neeson is that he phrases this whole thing in terms of revenge, which … uh, randomly walking around with a club in your pocket and hoping that somebody black starts shit with you isn’t actually revenge, Liam. That’s racism. It’s not revenge when somebody does something to you or someone you care about and you beat the hell out of somebody who maybe sorta looks like the person who did it. That’s not what that word means. And from what I’ve read, he didn’t seem to recognize that distinction at all during his deeply weird interview for a movie that I already wasn’t going to see because I can’t tell if it’s a revenge fantasy or some sort of weird, fucked-up Fargo-level black comedy shit. Nothing about Cold Pursuit was worth this shit. Nothing.

I mean, ultimately I think Neeson’s gonna skate on this, because the story basically just boils down to I had some terrible racist thoughts for a while that didn’t lead to any actual actions, and that’s not enough to have a serious effect on his career unless it turns out he’s got some stories in his past where he did do some shady shit. I’ll call it 50-50 that that happens, we’ll see. But … dude? Why the hell did you decide to tell this story in the first place? This is shit for your shrink, not a goddamned junket interview!

We also watched the first half of the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary last night, a process so horrifying that my wife legitimately looked over at me and asked if I was okay a couple of times. It’s not even Tuesday, y’all, and I have had enough stories of stupid white people to last me until next Black History Month, thanks. We can be done now.

In which I’m dumb again

School was back in session today, finally, albeit with a two-hour delay to let the last of the below-zero temperatures bleed away before the kids had to be outside waiting for buses. Unsurprisingly, facing a shortened Friday after three days off something like 48% of the student body opted to not bother coming to school, so it was really peaceful around the building today.

I showed up for work today in a button-down grey shirt, sleeves rolled up (I always roll up my sleeves; I despise the feeling of fabric on my lower arms for some reason,) with a blue-and-purple Jerry Garcia tie and a brand-new purple sweater vest. It marked the first time in my life I’d ever deliberately worn a sweater vest, and my last thought after looking in the mirror before going to work was I have never looked more like a middle-aged middle school teacher in my life than I do right now.

I didn’t mean to buy the goddamn sweater vest. It was literally a stupid accident. I was at the fat man store last week sometime buying T-shirts (as it turns out, my policy of buying shirts at the cons I go to has put me in a position where most of my wearable T-shirts are con shirts now, and I needed to reassert the proper solid-color balance) and I saw the sweater on a table on the way out. I liked the color and the subtle pattern and I bought it on a whim, not realizing until I got home and unfolded it to hang up that it was a damn sweater vest. I don’t even know why I dislike sweater vests so much; it’s an irrational prejudice but I still have it.

A sensible person would have just returned the sweater; I’m keeping it out of spite. Against, apparently, myself and my own bad decisions.

And then two different kids over the course of the day compared me to Rick Ross, who, if you don’t know, is the dude in the picture up there, a picture I obtained by Googling “Rick Ross sweater vest”. One might think that that might be a sign that sweater vests are perhaps his thing, but no, it turns out shirtlessness is more his thing, and I will never as long as I live be photographed shirtless, full-body torso tattoos or not. I think the kids probably thought they were making fun of me, but I feel like any day where I walk out of the house thinking I could not possibly look more like a middle-aged middle-school teacher and then get compared to a famous and wealthy rapper is a good day even if the main point of comparison is that we’re both fat and bald and have bushy beards. I’ll take what I can get, dammit.

Okay I’m ready to go back to work now

45 below zero yesterday, forty below zero this morning, and I’ve been to school one day this week and twice in the last nine days. I went outside for a couple of minutes yesterday just to feel what -45 degrees felt like, and it is not something that I would recommend– not because of the cold, oddly, but because of the weird shit that happens to your skin after spending even just a couple of minutes outside in that shit and then coming back into a 68 degree house. That’s a temperature shift of somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred and ten degrees in seconds, and it turns out that it’s a bad idea.

It’s possible that there won’t be school tomorrow either. I don’t know that it’s terribly likely for a number of reasons– objectively, it’s still gonna be fucking cold tomorrow, with a windchill below zero, but the actual air temperature will be positive and I think after the last several days they’re going to look at that and go meh, good enough and have the day. Attendance will be shit because a lot of parents are going to shrug and let their kids stay home anyway but it won’t add another day in June.

(Goes and looks at the forecast)

Jesus H. Christ this shit is NOT NORMAL:

-25 on Wednesday (yesterday,) 53 on Monday, then a low of 6 again on Thursday. This is Goddamned ridiculous.

Anyway, one way or another I’ve been stuck in the house for a bit too long at this point and everything is starting to bore and/or aggravate me and despite the fact that it’s still currently -8 outside I may need to leave the house this afternoon just for the sake of my sanity. I’m maybe an hour or two away from beating Dark Souls again and part of me thinks I should just roll straight into DS2 for the third time after I finish that. The rest of me is starting to think this is borderline unhealthy and hey you have all this free time maybe finish writing a book?

That’s the stir-crazy talking, obviously. Clearly it’s all nonsense. What are y’all doing to stay sane while outdoors is trying to kill us?

In which I almost die because I’m stupid but then I don’t so it’s okay

I have made a number of very bad driveway-related decisions in the last 48-72 hours, guys.

BAD DECISION THE FIRST: I did not get up at five this morning to clear the driveway before going to work. This ensured that a day and night’s worth of wet, heavy snow was on my driveway– the type of snow that doesn’t basically disintegrate back into fluffy snow when the snowblower tosses it, but limply splats back onto your driveway a few feet away, ensuring that you just have to move the same snow over and over again and that the job gets harder and harder the closer you get to being done.

BAD DECISION THE SECOND: I did not clear the driveway of the relatively small amount of snow that had fallen in previous days either– basically I should have hit the driveway at least twice instead of zero times in the last four or five days– which ensured that under the wet, heavy snow is now a layer of hard-packed, days-old, repeatedly driven-on ice, meaning that at least twice I got a split-second holy shit I’m about to break my leg and die out here scare while clearing the driveway. Now, neither time did I fall and break my leg, but another inch or so of sliding either way and something really shitty woulda happened.

BAD DECISION THE THIRD: I had on my beastcoat. Understand that I have two articles of cold-weather outerwear: a “winter coat” and a Winter Coat. I wear my “winter coat” most of the time and I rarely button it. I am Of the North and the cold generally does not bother me very much, but all of the talk of fifty below wind chills over the next couple of days has somewhat thrown me off of my game. My Winter Coat is rated to sixty below zero, and I need you to understand that in the most literal sense possible my Winter Coat possesses no chill whatsoever. It’s a Carhartt, for those of who who will understand that. And I need to be careful when I wear it, because most of the time it’s way too goddamn much coat for what I need. For example, if I’m going to wear it in the car I cannot have the heat on. I’ll be sweaty by the time I get out of the car, even on a short drive. Opening the windows is actually not a bad idea.

Wearing this motherfucker outside, with a sweater on underneath, on what isn’t really that cold of a day (yet) while performing strenuous work– another disadvantage of the ice is that the wheels on the snowblower don’t work at all and I’m basically just ceaselessly shoving it through 6-8″ of, again, heavy wet snow– meant that I realized halfway through the job that I was feeling kind of woozy because of, no shit, impending Goddamn heatstroke.

Yeah. My wife wasn’t home yet and my son was inside by himself doing who knows what, so if I break a leg and then die in the driveway I’mma stay leg-broke and dead in the driveway until she gets home, because it ain’t like he can move me, or that he’d even look up from the iPad long enough to notice my dead ass out there. So I went inside for a few minutes, let my heart rate slow down, took off the sweater and the beastcoat, and swapped my soaked-in-sweat knit winter hat for a regular baseball cap. And then made …

BAD DECISION THE FOURTH, which was going back outside before mopping my stupid, covered-in-sweat body off. Because what with all of the sweating and dying from roasting myself alive inside my fucking Beastcoat I’d forgotten that, while not much by historical standards, it was actually fucking cold outside, and that you really do not want to be outside on even moderately cold days if you are soaking fucking wet. And while I can’t be trusted to say whether the temperature had actually dropped while I was inside– it’s not like I was feeling the actual air temperature anyway– I can sure as hell state with certainty that the wind picked up pretty substantially while I was inside, meaning that any residual body heat I had left was gone, gone gone within minutes of getting back outside, and I still had half the damn driveway to do. Eventually I had to come back inside and put a third hat on, and the first thing I had to do when I finally came back inside for good was mop off my beard, which is super fun.

On the plus side, now that I’ve survived all this stupid bullshit, warmed up and cooled off and dried off, I’m going to go take a shower and then change into sweatpants and a sweater and I am not going outside under any circumstances for the next three days, whether work calls off or not. Chicken soup time, motherfuckers.