I saw a co-worker and his wife in a social setting. The man turned to his wife, “Tell Jeff the story you told me.”
Her face lit up as if she remembered something important. She began a story from the high school cafeteria where my kids went.
She told me about a young man who doesn’t “fit in”. She said the student being picked on wasn’t popular, struggles in school, and in all reality, is not very socially skilled. By all accounts, he’s a little odd. Add it up, and he’s an easy target.
The young man’s primary defense mechanism is to blend in like a social chameleon, then avoid others. That’s impossible during school days when he would unwilling become the center of attention. He’d shrink alone, virtually defenseless, and silently absorb any words, jokes or laughter directed his way. Continue reading The Other Table
My daughter said she was thinking about taking a college philosophy class.
I swallowed, hard.
My exposure to Philosophy 101 in college was a single day many moons ago. I figured it was going to be a blow off elective course. I mean, easy, right?
But when the sweater wearing professor came in with pointed shoes, coke bottle glasses and five pens in his pocket protector, well, there’s your sign.
He walked straight to the lectern, cleared his throat and started.
He didn’t introduce himself, say hi, nothing.
He could have at least said, “Hey y’all! What a dad gum good lookin’ class this is! I’m Professor Nerdman, and this here is Philosophy 101! You’ll all need this textbook I’m holdin’ up right here and I’m passin’ round a syllabus for ya now.” Continue reading Philosophy of a One
“You’re going to cry when I graduate, aren’t you?”
“Yes. Yes, I am.”
That was enough to satisfy my youngest daughter, Jessica, back in September. She’s the last of my eight children to graduate high school.
She graduated Friday.
We have a few college graduations left, but by and large, the work is done. The time is finished. The investment complete.
I cried, not why she thought I would, but I cried… Continue reading 31 Years, 3 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days
We sat in assigned seats. She sat next to me. I didn’t understand why she would keep her arms crossed, as if holding herself, and rock back and forth while looking down at her desk or staring at the blackboard. Back and forth she rocked, back and forth.
We were in second grade. I understand child abuse now, but then, I didn’t even know what it was.
Looking back, she did. Continue reading Maybe For One
Today was Jessica’s last, first day of school. It’s always different for a senior during their last year of high school. It’s the beginning of the end, but also an end of the beginning. It’s a celebration, yet a mourning, and both emotions run a parallel course.
Most seniors. whether high school or even golden age seniors, inherently seem to make more effort to savor the time. A sentimental process of looking back and remembering starts.
At the same time, seniors usually seek out more opportunities to make more meaningful memories with their friends because the looming reality is that it is all about to change.
It’s strange. I’ve noticed that even kids who don’t like each other tend to unite during their last year of high school. Maybe it’s because they share a bond of we’ve done this together and belong together. We belong to this school. We belong to this year. We belong to this graduating class. We, we as a group, we have walked a path together, even if on different trails, and we will end this journey together as a group, so we will enjoy each other on the path because after this year, it is no more. Continue reading Last First Day