“Auntie Em! Auntie Em! It’s Twister™!”

“Sheep are very dim; once they get an idea in their heads, there’s no shiftin’ it.”   — Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “Flying Sheep” skit.

 

My poor interlibrary loan clerk.  This was the man who, one solar day before the humor-as-therapy program begins, comes to my office:

HE:   “Sign me up for that thing you’re doin.’  Whaddaya call it?  ‘Happy Time’?”

“‘Happy Time’?  It’s ‘Skill-Building Techniques for Stress Reduction.’  How’d you get ‘Happy Time’ out of that?”

“I couldn’t remember all that.  All I know is we’re supposed to laugh a lot.”

So I sign him up for ‘Happy Time,’ so he can laugh a lot.

A few weeks into our program, I ask this same ILL clerk if he’s completed his ‘Observing Your Personal Humor Style’ assignment for the week.  This assignment asks inmates to be aware of countervailing humor types (constructive & destructive) while watching TV, listening to the radio, hearing funny comments or observing practical jokes in the Unit or the Yard, as well as funny things they say, do, or think.  They are to keep a tally of each time they witness or participate in either constructive or destructive humor.

“I’m still doing it.  I hear a lot of negative humor all around me is what I’m learning.  There’s so much, I’ll have to use another page!”

“Just write in the space, ‘Too many to list.'”

“Oh!  We can do that?”

“That’s what I’M doing.  Especially with my thought life.  Lots of destructive humor swirling around in there.”

“OK, good, thank you.  That makes it a lot easier.”

“So, how’re you enjoying the course so far?”

“I like it!  I like when you showed the cartoons.  I laughed at almost every one of those.”

“Happy Time.”

“You’re not gonna let me forget that, thanks!  I like that you can laugh and learn new stuff at the same time.  Just don’t expect me to do Twister™.  I was talkin’ with some of the guys.  They’re gonna push back on that one.”

It is here that we must pause our narrative, and interject some much-needed-or-the-rest-of-this-won’t-stand-a-chance-of-making-the-slightest-bit-of-sense back story. 

In the previous class I mention that, when we finally do a Laughter Yoga session, we’ll need to remove the tables & chairs to make space for laughter exercises.  I also mention that, when I participated in a laughter yoga session at Walpole Pubic Library, at the end of it all we lay on mats and practice deep, relaxing breaths as a cool-down from all the belly laughter.  But In this man’s twisted mind, upon hearing the word mats and then the word exercises his thoughts twist to Twister™.

1966 Twister GameME:   “Twister™?  What the hell are you talking about?”

HE:   “You said we had to play Twister™.”

“Never.  Mother of God!”

“You told us last class.”

“Look, I created this program.  Like I’m gonna have adult male prisoners playing Twister™ with each other.”

“Everyone else think so, too.  They think you’re gonna make us play Twister™.”

“If they think that, it’s because of you!”

This past Friday, I mention to my course assistant that the ILL clerk refuses to understand that I never referred to, joked about, or even thought of Twister,™ “The Game That Ties You Up In Knots,” by Milton Bradley.

ME:   “He’ll go to his grave believing that!”

ASSISTANT:   “He’s a bug.”  (Usage note:  In New England, “He’s a bug” means “He is certifiably and dangerously insane”).

“He’s also the one who keeps advocating for us to screen The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Hey, at least that has a twister in it.”oz twister<laughs>  “THAT’S what he’s up to!  He’s talking about twisters to make you show the film!  Whadda they call that?  Subliminal! He’s manipulating you!”

 

Nah.  He’s just a bug. 

BTW — Here in New England, they call it ‘Twist-ah.’  Of course they do. 

They also raise children, some of whom end up in jail believing that their rnG3Y6Librarian could even conceive of seeking written approval to supervise games of Twist-ah™ in an adult-male prison.

Humor-as-Therapy, indeed.

 

 

The Wonderful Home Brew of Oz

(in which it is driven home that word choice matters, even when discussing American cultural archetypes….)

 

WWOO2

Today with my course assistant, talk turns to our next humor-as-therapy class.  Last class meeting, our group decides in a future class to watch The Wizard of Oz as an object lesson for identifying instances of destructive & constructive humor.  I mention that, from a selection of 30 DVDs purchased for the program, their choice of this particular film surprises me.

“Bill, you can only see it on cable.  THAT’S why they wanna see it.”

“Yeah, but it was weird.  That was the first film I mentioned, and I suggested it as a joke, really.  But then every hand went up.”

“They miss it.”

 

 

Talk then turns to the performance of Judy Garland.  My assistant mentions that MGM originally wanted Shirley Temple for the role of Dorothy Gale.  I said that, as an old man, I now respond to her character from the point-of-view of a protective father.

“FYI — I won’t be able to see this film without tearing up.”

“Bill, I tear up at almost everything now.  TV, books, movies, don’t matter.  I’m a big lush.”

<pause> “So, you’re a drunkard now?  Since when?”

“What?”

“That’s what ‘lush’ means.  You’re a drunk.”lush

<laughs> ” Oh!  I thought it meant you cry easily!”

“What you mean to say is ‘I’m a wuss.’ ”

“OK–”

“–who likes drinking to excess.”

<laughs>   “Yeah!  I’m just a big lush!”

“I’m telling!”

“You probably will!”

 

hooch

Pruno.  Hooch. Home Brew.  And the score of other jailhouse nicknames for sugared fruit left out on the window sill to ferment into alcohol.  I doubt anyone’ll be drunk while OZ is playing.  Not even the ‘big lush,” who’ll be too busy crying.

 

 

darkoz1But I’m waiting for someone to suggest we synch the film to Dark Side of the Moon

How would you write the Authorization to Enter form?

“ITEM TO BE BROUGHT IN:  Pink Floyd CD to use as soundtrack to Wizard of Oz.”  They’d call a Code 99 & truck me away. 

 

 

WWOO

Unless they’re fans of the Trailer Park Boys.

Dark Side of Oz | “In Popular Culture”

 

 

You Get What You Need

Today, I receive a PDF file in my work email containing a letter to an inmate in response to his complaint that more typewriters should be placed in the population law library.  No this may come as a shock, but I do not believe that this is a very professional way of communicating a change in service with your professional librarian.  Because I believe this, I am furious.  Dismissing the letter-writing impulse to the Superintendent, I feel that the direct way is best, and decide on the day following to call his secretary to make an appointment to meet & discuss this.

micromanagers

Next afternoon, while walking through our staff parking lot toward the front door–a walk of about 100 yards–it occurs to me that my input was in fact solicited by my boss.  Not only was it solicited, it had been mentioned more than once over the past two months.  It took a while for this to surface, because of the casual way in which these conversations were held, almost as an afterthought.  So it isn’t that the Librarian’s input was not sought; it was that a decision was made that did not jibe with the Librarian’s input.

So I have that to stew over.

But that’s much easier to deal with than having not been asked in the first place.  In this case, Administration does the professional thing and asks the front-line employee for input before weighing the alternatives.

Do I think that their decision caves in to the demands of a few loud-mouths?  Of course I do.  But you can’t always get what you want.  You can’t always get what you want.  You can’t always get what you want.  But if you try sometime, you just might find — you get what you need.

I need some sleep.

cant-always-get-what

Smells Like Teen Spirit

(In which an associate asks, “Do you feel that your parenting experiences helped inform your role of correctional librarian and dealing with inmates?”

This same associate says: “I am not equating dealing with my daughter with dealing with narcissists, sociopaths, and misogynists.” Whyever not?  EYE do.  Teenagers are narcissists, and I argue that they’re sociopaths until they learn to show real concern and compassion.  And many teen boys have never been taught to treat their female counterparts with the respect they deserve.  Parenting is an apt analogy. 

Prison is akin to a dangerous day care center, where the 10 year-olds are 6’5″, 235lbs, don’t read well, think the universe revolves around them, cry to their Mommies (i.e., file grievances), and hit instead of think.  It’s arrested development.

Hey — ‘arrested.’   Get it? arrested

Courage to Change the Things I Can

(In which a question which I’ve been asked many times is again posed: “How do you move from the prison-librarian demeanor to the Normal-Joe-living-life demeanor?”)

For those who aren’t yet aware, prison employees have a higher rate of (fill in the blank with any social tragedy imaginable)__________________  than nearly any other helping profession.    Newsweek – “Prison Officers Need Help”

Thankfully, I go home to a loving family who really do understand what love is and, to prove it, they doggedly choose to put up with both the bad and the good in me.  I’ll never know why, but for this fact of my life I am blessed and grateful.  

I’ve found that the way you are inside is the way you are outside.  There’s no magic switch for this stuff.  So you try to treat inmates & employees the way you want to treat your family.  funny-feelings-on-off-switch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This very day, a fascinating thing happened between myself and an inmate who is uber-stressed about getting a reply brief submitted by his court deadline.  Because he was being verbally aggressive to people in the law library, I took him in my office, closed doors, and talked with him.  Within 60 seconds of explaining why he felt the entire world was conspiring against him, he started tearing up. 

I saw the tears & said “See that?  That’s exactly what you need.  Don’ be afraid to cry in here.  For your own sake, relax and let it come.”

He did.  He broke down & cried.  Through the tears, he talked about the pressures he’s under, and how he’s innocent of the crime he’s convicted of, and how he needs to get out.  Crying was exactly what he needed. 

(Researchers believe that crying may have a biochemical purpose.  Tears release stress hormones or toxins from the body, says Lauren Bylsma, a PhD student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, who has focused on crying in her research).   “Why We Cry: The Truth About Tearing Up”

We also discussed his notion that everyone was out to get him, as a way of pointing out to him that this kind of thinking only adds to the tension he feels. 

After our talk, I pointed toward the law library & said, “And don’t feel self-conscious about leaving this office with red eyes.”  He said something instructive: “Oh, I won’t.  I’m not proud.”  

That took guts, to let down in front of a staff member, and fearlessly show emotion in front of people who, in general, see crying as a weakness.

We shook hands.  He left feeling better and, hopefully, thinking a lot clearer.   I kid you not when I say:  it’s for moments like this that I do what I do.  

But to return to the original question.  The implication is:  if I can help an inmate through his stressful times, that means I still have enough humanity left to go home and be there when the people I love and who love me need me.serenity-prayer

“I feel no comPUNction telling you this”

This happened tonight in our humor-as-therapy class.  This is a long set-u114837-op for a short pun, so take a long, deep breath….
 
Using PowerPoint, I show the class an image of a life preserver with the words SENSE OF HUMOR photo-shopped on.  I asked a student about the significance of this, & he said: “Because humor can save your life — AND it tastes good, too!” referring of course to a Life Saver.

wint-o-green

A BAD PUN FOR BAD CANDY

Since I had a few Wint-O-Greens with me, I said “You mean these?”  The inmate saw that the mint was wrapped in clear plastic, and expressed surprise.   He looked across the room at a known punster and said “Thank God!  I thought he was taking a condom out of his pocket!”

The punster said “Don’t be silly — Why would he be eating condiments?”

This from the same guy who, a few weeks ago in the same class, when challenged to make a pun out of the paper clip he had, hands me the clip before he leaves & says “I would’ve returned this sooner, but you were going at quite a clip.”  Before I could reply, he said “But that’s OK, because you were fasten-ating.”
 
I’ve stopped wondering why I am the way I am.    

He’s a Very Good Joe

(In which we pause for a reverent tip o’ the DOC cap to a recent retiree from the Connecticut Department of Correction, Mr. Joseph Lea, one of the most active & beloved prison Librarians ever to grace York Correctional Institute….)

It’s afternoon on Wednesday, May 27th, and after checking into the Mystic Marroitt, I report to the lobby where I see a smiling gentleman who looks like he’s part of the welcoming committee.  I ask him if he knows where the York prison tour group is meeting.  Smiling even more broadly, he tells me that he’s the tour guide, and introduces himself as Jean-Claude Ambroise.  While chatting, Mr. Ambroise learns that I’m a prison Librarian, and quickly mentions Joe Lea, the soon-to-be-retiring York Librarian, in attendance at the same Correctional Educational Association Region I conference.  I find out that “soon-to-be-retiring”  actually means Friday, a scant two days hence. 

Joe Lea_York

Mr. Joseph Lea, talking up prison libraries and their potential to change, enlighten, entertain, and educate.

At 4PM, give-or-take, the 2.5-hour tour commences at York Correctional Institution, Connecticut’s women’s prison, with Instructor Jean-Claude Ambroise leading about 10 inquisitive conference attendees.  I’d like to say Jean-Claude showed us around the whole place, but this would be hyperbole as the prison and its buildings sit on 850 acres.  But we saw what we wanted to see, and all of our questions were answered by the enthusiastic, accommodating Mr. Ambroise.

After about 1.5 hours of segregation, housing units, hospital, psych services unit, visitor’s room, and vocational classrooms, we were (finally) ushered into the library that Joe Lea spent the last 20 years of his professional life creating, thinking about, planning for, and teaching in.  I got to see law library computers on well-lit, organized tables.  I got to see rows of low, double-faced freestanding metal shelves housing well-chosen, nearly-new paperbacks and graphic novels.  I saw the well-planned, wooden circulation counter replete with circulation computers, and even a small cubby housing a very prominent aquarium.  I saw lots of ALA posters & signage. Not surprisingly, there was a fairly large section of books & material on parenting,  child-rearing, and women’s health.

At one point, I notice tall metal locking cabinets taking up the better part of a wall which were marked “Staff and Clerks Only.”  (Jean-Claude wasn’t sure what Joe kept in these, and no one had the key).  

I saw lots of windows welcoming the bright sunshine streaming in to warm the plants which were scattered about the place.  Even though inmates were not using the library, you get the feeling that inmates DO use the library, use it often, and are happy to be there when they come.  It is an inviting, colorful, useful, and friendly place.

Joe Lea work at York for 20 years.  After what I’ve learned, the place will never be the same without him.  Joe is a lawyer, and a teacher, but for women young and old, Joe was–first & foremost–their Librarian.  Joe advocated for and started many of the volunteer programs like AVODAH, theater with Judy Dworin, book clubs, the “Mommy and Me” program, and “Mother and Child.” 

Joe kept busy.  Mr. Ambroise assured the tour group that the women responded to and were grateful to him.  Joe brought more than library science skills to his work.  He shared his passions.  That’s the greatest gift from any correctional Librarian.

lamb_york

Wally Lamb: He just couldn’t keep it to himself.

 

Funny — you can see a book 100 times and it means little or nothing to you.  While in this particular library, I gravitate to the nonfiction, and notice a cover that I’ve seen 100 times and, until now, has meant little or nothing to me.  Shocked and startled, I stand in this library in this prison, holding Wally Lamb’s book which suddenly has a profound meaning for me.  Gazing at the cover, I suddenly wish the library were open so I could quiz the women to discover how many read the book, how many enjoyed it, and how many lived it (i.e., participated in Lamb’s writing workshops).

At the Thursday luncheon I was taken to Joe’s table, where we were introduced and, during our brief chat, I learned that Joe would soon be off to England.

Here’s to your retirement, Joe.  From what I’ve seen, you won’t stay still for long.

Dummies and Their Prison Libraries

(In which a Decrepit, Exhausted correctional Librarian gets schooled in the rudiments of the library racket….)

Right now, the Commonwealth is kicking people out the door via early retirement packages.  It’s moments like the following that proves I’m cuckoo not to take one.

Last night, I’m in the Lending Library with a new hire, Don, an intellectually curious man who is widely-read, he says, “…in every subject but biology, that’s my weak point.”  We are trying to locate Gary Zukov’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters but not having much luck.  Then talk drifts to CS Lewis and Screwtape, a book which, a few months back, I urge him to read (he does). Since Don’s a spiritual man, we wander a few shelving units to the left to find Lewis.

“By the way,” says I, “We just got this in today.  It’s categorized under 213, the Dewey designation for the creationism/humanism debate.”  It’s a book called Going Ape: Florida’s Battle Over Evolution in the Classroom.  I take the book off the shelf, and notice the “Advanced Copy” admonishment across the bottom of the cover. Usually we don’t accept these, for good reasons.  But this section numbers around 35 now, and as I have a few scholars who love wetting their waders in this stuff, this afternoon I have the cataloger/classifier process it.

As for what happens next, I must say in my defense that it has been a long week, both here and at home, so I discover that the phrase ‘uncorrected galley proof’ will not leap readily to the mind.  At that instant, our typewriter clerk heads toward the front library doors to walk down the hall & into the Law Library to retrieve typewriters for the night.  Pointing to the ‘Advanced copy’ phrase on the cover, I ask Don: “What are these things called?”

Typewriter clerk stops.  Our eyes meet.  “Books,” he offers brightly.

Don smiles.  It takes me a few seconds –doe-in-the-headlights style– but it starts to sink in.  “I thought you went to school for this?” Typewriter Clerk continues.  Now I’m laughing.  “We should write Prison Libraries for Dummies so you know these things.” Exit Typewriter Clerk.

Now I can’t stop laughing.

Don, a student in the current cycle of our humor-as-therapy course, laughs & says:  “Was that an example of destructive or constructive humor?”  I reply: “It’s an example of Mocking The Boss, and that’s very destructive, indeed,” I say, still laughing.

Perfect timing.  I wish you could’ve been here.  So that’s what these things are called!  We have thousands of them!  They’re everywhere!

sandwich with words

A TIME TO WEEP: Or, “We get angry, we don’t cry!”

(In which the value of Tears and Crying are discussed, and we discover a Poet in our midst, to the fascination & delight of the group….)

In our PPT tonight, we discuss eustress and distress, and how having too much of either clouds a person’s thinking and causes confusion.

During this discussion, the usefulness of tears comes up.  Talk begins with the notion that, for a man, it’s ‘acceptable’ to cry at certain times, but ‘unacceptable’ at other times.

An older, wiser man says:  “It has become more acceptable for a man to cry in our current culture, almost expected of a man.  But that’s not the way it was when I was young.”eustress

An angry man says: “We’re men.  What we do is get angry, not cry.  Women cry when they’re upset.  Men get angry.  Crying isn’t an answer to a problem.  Saying to a guy “Whats up?” and calling him on his bad behavior is what men do.  Crying doesn’t solve anything.”

I say:  “Do you know what comes out in your tears when you cry?”

Someone answers.  “Saline.”

“Yes, salt.  But something a lot more important.”

All goes silent.  “Hormones!  For decades they’ve known that your tears wash out hormones that are causing you distress.  It’s actually necessary to cry, to rid your system of these hormones.  That’s why you feel so much better after a good cry.  It’s a cleansing mechanism.”

Mr. Angry says:  “Maybe, but boo-hoo-ing over a problem doesn’t solve that problem.  You have to confront your problem.”

I pointed to the PPT slide showing a chart of all the bad consequences of heavy stress.  “We just saw that stress causes muddled thinking and impairs your decision-making.  After you cry, your mind is free to think clearly again.”

“Oh.”  Mr. Angry mused on this awhile.

“So instead of acting out in anger, instead of being combative or confrontational, now you’re free of those emotions and can reason out another solution.”

“I can sorta see where you’re going with this,” says Mr. Angry.

Mr. Pun says.  “Well yeah.  Recall that emotions are often deceiving.  We think because we feel a certain way that we have the right to act out of that emotion.  In fact, emotions often lead us to to a place we’d rather avoid.  We all have the right to feel anger.  But bad things happen when we act of out anger.  What we have is the responsibility to acknowledge anger, let it wash over us, and then deal rationally with the problem.”

“But most times you don’t have the time to do that, you have to act,” says Mr. Angry.

Mr. Wise Man says: “What I do then, if violence is the only solution, I walk away.”

“But then you’re seen as weak!”

Wise Man says: “So be it.  I know I’m not weak.  I know I’m strong, because I’m the one who has the guts to walk away.  There’s where my strength is.  The ability to walk away.  And not let my emotions deceive me.”

A man in the Boston University program raises his hand.  “I have a writing assignment with me that is related to what we’re talking about.  It’s a poem.  If you want, I can read it.”  (Later, he stays behind so I can photocopy this).

He reads:

A TIME TO WEEP

You told me
“Big boys don’t cry”
Because I believed
you wrecked me

You lied I learned
the hard way yet
to spite you I
found the truth:

I triumph by the grace of tears

With them
I connect with tomorrow
Without them
I tread hopelesswords hurt children

When I oppress tears
numbness corrupts me
people litter my way
life is a formality
I refuse to pray

When tears fall
charity embraces me
I let the Light in
I cherish Now
my soul feels its worth

Through stinging-warm salt water
at a place beyond my
shattered heart
a feather-silent whisper
that sadness is
His angel

A tranquil and reflective silence envelopes us.  Someone says “That’s really nice.”

Wise Man says, “That’s what I’m talking about.  Why we NEED to cry.  Not only that, if I may.  This poem introduces another thing we didn’t think to bring up on our own.  Faith in something bigger.”

Mr. Angry says, “Please, let’s not go there.”

Wise Man, who is Muslim, says, “Fair enough.  But that will be something you have to work out on your own.”

“I think what the poet is saying,” Mr. Pun interjects, “is our resistance to tears as people and as a society.  If we’re open to them, then it doesn’t matter who considers it ‘acceptable’ for a man to cry.  What matters is that we believe that it’s useful and necessary to cry.  Crying is like an emotional safety valve.  It’s nonsensical to break it down to men and women.  Human beings need to cry.  That’s why men were given tear ducts.  We’re supposed to use them.”

Wise Man say:  “I’ve been in a lot of these programs.  I’ve heard many men admit that they were told as boys not to cry.  A show of hands — like me, how many here were told that growing up?”crying

About half the class respond.

“OK. Now, also like me, how many were BEATEN for crying?”

The same amount of hands go up.”  “Thank you.  OK.  Something I’ve also learned, because it happened to me, is some were beaten until they learned to shut down and not give the abuser the satisfaction of seeing them cry.  How many in here, the same as me?”

Several hands go up.

“OK.  Now that you’re men, you’re angry about it.  And rightfully so.  Just like I used to be.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Hear me out.  Now we have the the responsibility to do something positive with that anger.  We MUST get in touch with our feelings.  And for a lot of us, that means going in your cell, close the door, put up the Do Not Disturb sign, and let the tears come.”

“Anger is physically and psychologically draining.  Tears let you lose a lot of that negative energy,” say Mr. Pun.

Mr. Angry:  “I still say you can’t walk around crying every time something happens to you.”

“You just missed the point,” say the Wise Man.

Movement is called.  8:15PM.  Time for us to part.

To be continued….

The art of assisting discovery

And so, Library Scientists, once more into the breach.

“We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there.” I just quoted a lyric from the theme to Smokey & the Bandit. That’s sad. But it’s true. Usually we have 17 weeks to introduce this stuff. I applaud & admire you guys for cramming 17 weeks worth of Stuff into a paltry 10 weeks. Rather, I applaud your willingness to do so . You haven’t done it yet.

in_session

DO YOU MISS FACE-2-FACE CLASS ROOMS AS MUCH AS I DO? WHERE ARE THE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS? TELL-TALE TONES OF VOICE? THE SCENT OF PATCHOULI OIL? OK, SOME THINGS WE COULD DO WITHOUT.

 

We’ve got 14 management principles to cover. That sounds like a lot, but many of them overlap, as ye shall surely see. But there are subtle nuances. Pay particular attention to the nuances. Not just in this course, but always.

 

 

 

 

 

can't_hearWe have but one mandatory Collaborate session, and that’s not going to come until later in the semester. We may, however, get together informally just to hear each others’ voices. Isn’t it strange that, in a university course, we need to go out of our way to hear each others’ voices? I think that’s strange.

 

The terrible results of online frustration.

THE TERRIFYING RESULTS OF ONLINE FRUSTRATION.

Here’s hoping we all get along.  That’s important to me, believing as I do that you have to like each other to learn from each other.  That’s simple enough.  But it doesn’t always happen, as we know.  So many miscommunications happen between these keys and our emotions & brains.  Having pointed that out, I say here & now that when I mean something to be funny, I will use an ASCII smiley     :o) .  I will not do this always, because we’re all adults and, well, that gets tiresome.  But I will do it when necessary.  My sense of humor is decidedly dry; even in F-2-F situations, they can’t be sure.

 

barnesNoble

SHE FINALLY FOUND IT. IT WAS ON AN END CAP. OF COURSE IT WAS!

 

It happened to me just today, in a bookstore.  The bookseller had spent about five minutes taking us all over the floor plan trying to locate one copy of a brand-new book and, for reasons inexplicable, says to me: “How many copies do you need, sir?”  Since she hadn’t found one yet, what comes out of my mouth was “Fifteen, if you got’em.”  My companion, who is walking behind me, laughs softly.  Says the bookseller: “OH!”  Meaning “What am I gonna do NOW?”  I quickly assure her that only one is required, as the intended recipient of the book has yet to master the technique of reading in stereo.  Relieved, the bookseller says, “OH!  You said that so seriously I thought you really needed 15!”  Says I:  “I’m good at that, huh?”  My companion laughs softly.

Frustration over miscommunication causes more harm than the threat of nuclear disarmament.      :o)

To all you people I haven’t seen, heard, or spoken to yet: welcome to the course.  Well, there is one I met, and recently.  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of one students’ company.  If you’re interested, the post is here.

teacher7

This kind of thing COULD get you an “A.”

 

Before August 7th rolls around, I hope that I’ve sufficiently enlightened & antagonized you to the point that you’re not sure if you just hate me a little or you’re certain you despise me with all of your heart.  I have this effect on people.  Why should you be an exception?  And the thing is, I don’t even have to try!  It’s the DNA.

CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TRYING TO MANIPULATE YOUR EMOTIONS?

CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRYING TO MANIPULATE YOUR EMOTIONS?

But I do sincerely want you to learn.  So do your work, share ideas, and discern the difference between fact, opinion, and starry-eyed student idealism, and all may yet be well.  I’m looking forward to meeting you and learning a little about you.  Thank you for the opportunity.  And now I can’t get that Smokey & the Bandit song outta my head.