My favorite teacher present ever

I meant to mention this yesterday, but I forgot to bring this home and it fell out of my head, so enjoy this early-morning post. One of my kids came up to me with her parents after the 8th grade recognition yesterday and said she had a present for me. Then she handed me this roll of toilet paper.

“It’s for putting up with my crap all year,” she said. I made her sign it.

Ah, teaching.

I get presents

So Hosea walks into class this morning at the beginning of the day and hands me something wrapped up in a plastic grocery bag. “Merry Christmas!”, he says, “but don’t open this until I’m gone.” I agree and put the bag on my desk, where I proceed to forget about it until fifth hour, when he’s actually in my class. He asks if I have opened his present; I conceal my lapse of memory by saying that I thought he meant to wait until he’d gone home for the day, not just left advisory. This placates him, however, and we get through class.

During my prep I look at the bag. There is a note attached. The note is legitimately rather sweet and has already been added to my Notes from Students file where it will remain forever until my wife and son throw it away after I die:

I open the bag and find two things inside. The first is this bag of chips:

Okay, cool, I think. I have a thing I need to do after school that is going to keep me from getting home on time and maybe a quick snack will tide me over until then. Then my teacher Spider-Sense kicks in and I examine the bag a bit more closely:

Hm. Maybe not, then. But what’s this other thing?

It was wrapped a bit more prettily than that, as I’ve unwrapped it a couple of times since then, but you get the idea. It’s a couple inches square. Now, Hosea has brought me baked goods from home before, which is always kind of unfortunate, as he really is a nice kid when he wants to be, but I have a thing about eating random baked goods from kitchens I’ve never seen, particularly when students hand them to me and double-particularly during Covid. But, shit, I’m genuinely kind of hungry, and this looks like it could be a brownie. I could go for a brownie right now. Maybe I’ll make an exception.

I unwrap the item and immediately die laughing, because this is what is inside. I actually have to take it to another teacher who I know also received a gift from Hosea to make sure that I am looking at what I think I’m looking at:

It may be that at this resolution and sans any context or touch you still can’t tell what this is. I thought for a moment it might be a block of cheese; it is not. No, that is half a bar of soap, and I think it might be homemade soap, but I’m not a hundred percent sure, as there’s traces of a logo molded into it, which it only now occurs to me could mean that not only is it half a bar of soap but it might be half a bar of soap that has been used and then dried off before being wrapped in aluminum foil.

Again, the note was sweet. And it’s the thought that counts. But apparently the thought in this case is that I am smelly and have the iron stomach of a raccoon or perhaps some sort of opossum, and … well, this is what having Hosea in class is like.

Merry Christmas!

I have had an insanely frustrating day

And, in return, I would like to present you all with a very simple life hack. I tweeted about this earlier and I’d like more people to be aware of it.

You may have gotten a Visa or MasterCard gift card for Christmas, and you may have been frustrated upon trying to use it at an online retailer, because you either have to leave a small amount of money on the card or somehow manage to spend exactly the amount on the card, because most online places won’t let you split a purchase over more than one card.

If you’ve got a $50 Visa gift card, and you want to spend $60 at, say, Amazon, then what you do is you first use the Visa on Amazon to buy a $50 Amazon gift card. This will be emailed to you as a code and you can then immediately use that code plus your debit card or whatever, and boom– $50 off whatever you wanted to buy, with no money lost to transaction fees and no money left on the card.

You’re welcome.

Merry Christmas!

Raise our hand if your wife bought your 8-year-old son what is obviously a drinking game for Christmas!

(Looks around)

Just me, eh?


Three Christmas anecdotes

FIRST: I have been firmly on the Don’t Buy Me Anything train for Christmas for several years now, but this year my wife and I agreed to exchange one gift each. My wife won with this gift, which is an assortment of beard-grooming tools: a brush, which is gonna get used multiple times a day, beard-specific shampoo, which will get used as often as I need to use it, and beard balm and beard oil, which … well, we’ll see. This is actually just about the perfect Christmas gift, really– something that I would never have thought to buy for myself in a million years and would never have guessed that she’d gotten me in advance, but which I immediately realized upon receiving that it’s something I needed and am going to use all the time.

It is also a subtle dig at my hygiene, which a lesser person might choose to take as an insult but which I’m deciding I’m entertained by. 🙂

SECOND: My son received three different gifts that he already had. One was a set of Minecraft sheets, which both my wife and her sister bought him in a bit of a communications breakdown. Second was a Transformer. I’m kind of irritated about the Transformer; he got it because he brought it to me in the comic shop last week and announced that he wanted me to buy it. I reminded him that Christmas was in a couple of days and made him put it back, then immediately took it to the counter and asked them to hold onto it until I could come back without the boy and buy it. They did, and I did. The second he unwrapped it he announced he already had it and went and produced the original figure. Then he argued with me about whether he’d picked it out or not.

Like. Dude. Yes the fuck you did. That’s the only reason I bought the goddamn thing.

THIRD: Okay, maybe technically this is two-and-a-half anecdotes, but whatever. He also got one of these two tumbler cars from my mom and dad. He already had one of these, too, but he immediately decided he was excited about having two because now we can race them. So, OK. No problem there. The punchline: I’m pretty sure they alsobought him the original one.

My mom just called a few minutes ago. My dad was in their office looking for something. He found a third bright red Sharper Image tumbler car in the office while he was looking for whatever he was looking for.

Apparently Mom and Dad really want my kid to have this toy.