Tuesday, May 16
New Thing #78: I subbed at my old high school.
Now this was a trippy experience. I haven't been at my old high school in a really long time. About four years ago, they declared one of the main buildings "not earthquake safe" and they condemned the building. This happened to be the building where the theater was, and when I heard that they were demolishing the theater (where I once played a really mean Beast in Beauty and the Beast) (and when I say "mean," I mean "awesome") (this was my freshman year) (I remember during one performance my "hand" flew off during a really pivital scene--I think I was in a rage or something--and the furry glove thing I was wearing as my "hand" just flew the fuck off, but I didn't break character--even though pretty much all of the teenagers in the audience were laughing at me during this pivital "rage" moment--still, I did not break character because I'm a pro, people) (anyway, when I heard they were demolishing the theater) I went back to pay my respects. But I didn't walk around the rest of the campus--I only went to the theater. So it had been a really long time since I had been on the rest of the campus. And it was freaking surreal.
First of all, when I first walked onto campus, I was struck by the smell of the trees. They had this really pungent smell--a smell I haven't smelled in a really long time--(I should have probably just said "an odor I haven't smelled in a really long time," but I like how "a smell I haven't smelled in a really long time" looks)--and the instant I smelled that smell (odor) I felt like I was in high school again. Like, I immediately felt fifteen and it felt really incredibly wrong to be walking into a classroom and telling the kids that I would be their "substitute." I mean, hello: I'm still a kid. At least I feel like one. I am not supposed to be this weird guy who the "real kids" make fun of and try to see how much shit they can get away with without me yelling at them. I mean, I'm just not supposed to be that guy. Not here at least. This is my fucking school. This is my fucking turf. I wanna be the one who's trying to make the other kids laugh by saying stupid things about the sub and trying to sneak out to "go to the bathroom" but really walking down the street to go to Carl's Jr. That's supposed to be me (at this school) goddamnit.
When did I get so old? (Okay, yeah, I know, I am not old. But compared to these kids, I felt like I was 500.) (I mean, they looked at me like I was 500.) (But come on!) (I listen to Eminem!) (I'm down with 50 Cent!) (I think Kanye West is fly!) (I can be dope with your shit.) (I won't rat you out, dog!) (Okay, fine, don't believe me, but I am fucking cool, kids, so listen up and represent, you dig?)
(No. They don't fucking dig, though--that's why I feel so old.)
Anyway, after I walked around campus for awhile and got used to the old smell again and reminded myself (again and again) that I was not actually a student here anymore, that I had, in fact, graduated from this institution 10 years ago (oh, and by the way, I'm really mad because it looks like there isn't going to be a 10 year reunion) (what the fuck is that about?) (I mean, I know that people always say that the 10 year reunion sucks because no one has really done that much with their lives yet and no one has their sex change until the 20 year reunion, but I still fucking wanted to go to my 10 year) (I mean, it woulda been "new thing" at the very least) (because we didn't have a 5 year reunion either) (because my class apparently doesn't care) (and I know that I could do something and try to make it happen and stop complaining about it) (but it's kinda too late to plan an entire reunion for this summer) (if we really don't have one, I will call the alumni association and look into helping them plan an 11 year reunion) (which just might be kinda bitchin') (because, like, if we had an 11 year reunion, then whenever people are like "yeah, my 10 year reunion was a waste of time," then we could be like, "well, my 11 year reunions fucking rock--it's that extra year, man" and no one would be able to say otherwise because no one else has ever had an 11 year reunion to compare it to) (what was I even saying?) (um) (oh, right, so I was walking around campus and accepting the fact that I am an Adult) and then I started getting weirded out by how different the place actually is. Because half of the buildings have been condemned--and also because of bigger classes--they've gotten rid of both of the baseball fields that they used to have (where I spent countless hours in left and right field at PE praying that no one would hit a ball near me, forcing me to prove yet again to my PE teammates that they got the shaft when they picked me last) and added a buttload of "temporary" buildings. Like this one:
I hate these buildings. They're ugly and if I was a high school student and I had half of my classes in these ugly temporary buildings, I would be so stupid right now because I'd feel super "temporary" and I wouldn't want to learn. That's just the vibe I got from these buildings.
New Thing #79: I subbed for a Visual Imagery Using Computers class (that's the freaking class people) (I would not make that up) (it's a very specific elective, apparently) (we did not have any electives as specific as this one back in my day) (we had electives like "drama" and "art") (nothing like "Visual Imagery Using Computers)
So I arrive and find the students' assignment on the board (pictured above). So today they're supposed to "finish their independant projects" and then work on their "new handouts." Cool. But all of the kids tell me they've all already completed their independant projects and that they don't feel like working on their new handout because it isn't due until next Tuesday (which, I would like to add, is 5/23, not "5/19" as it says on the board [pictured above]. Um, "5/19" might be next Tuesday on Mars or in some alternate universe where weeks only last for four days, but here on Earth 5/19 is Friday) (anyway) and since the handout is so easy and it's not due for a week, they all want to play Super Mario Bros. on their computers. And I let them. Because I am the coolest substitute teacher in the world. (Or at least I'm trying to be, dear lord, oh yes I am trying.)
New Thing #80: I subbed for an Art class. (This was the same day that I subbed for the Visual Imagery Using Computers class--I was actually a roaming sub that day, and I filled in for three different teachers)
This was kind of a boring class to sub for. The students were all working on paintings and they were all good students so they pretty much just sat and painted and I, like, sat there, um, watching paint dry.
New Thing #81: I subbed for Band.
It was actually the "jazz band" that I was subbing for. I was filling in for the regular band teacher, who had to leave early for some reason, and so we crossed paths when I arrived.
He didn't remember me.
But I had this dude for band when I was a freshman.
I played the clarinet for six and a half years. From third grade through the middle of my freshman year. I quit playing the clarinet for a multitude of reasons:
1. I wanted to be cool.
2. Drama seemed cooler than band.
3. Which, in high school society, it is.
4. But only slightly.
5. And I was really tired of playing the clarinet.
6. The only reason I even played the clarinet to begin with was because you had to play the clarinet if you wanted to play the saxophone.
7. And I REALLY wanted to play the saxophone.
8. I cannot remember why I wanted to play the saxophone, but I have a sneaking suspicion it had something to do with Michael J. Fox.
9. Maybe I was reading Tiger Beat and Michael J. Fox filled out one of those "questionaires" they're always making people fill out and MJF said that his favorite instrument was the saxophone.
10. That's just a guess, but I'm thinking it might be a really good guess.
11. But then when I switched over to saxophone in sixth grade, I really hated playing the sax.
12. It was just a really unwieldy instrument.
13. So I went back to clarinet.
14. Now, at that point, I might have just quit, because I knew I'd never be playing at Carnegie Hall or nothin'.
15. But I didn't quit.
16. I kept playing the clarinet.
17. Why, you ask?
18. (You might also be asking why I've formatted this as a list when it's kind of a list and it's kind of not a list.)
19. It's definitely a list. But it's not a list too.
20. You know?
21. I mean, there--#20--that's really just a parenthetical statement that got its own number.
22. Because I felt like giving it its own number.
23. Because it flowed that way.
24. Because I haven't made a list in a really long time.
25. Because I like making lists.
26. Just because.
27. You still want to know why I kept playing the clarinet in junior high school when I didn't really want to play the clarinet anymore.
28. Here's the thing.
29. (See, there, #28--that totally did not deserve its own number.)30. (But it got its own number.)
31. But the thing--the thing--here it is:
32. I knew that if I persevered, that if I kept playing the clarinet through junior high school, if I just fucking stuck it out, then I could be in the Marching Band in high school.
33. And in high school, the Marching Band could be used to substitute for PE.
34. And I already knew that I didn't want to suffer through high school PE.
35. So I was holding out, I was doing my best, I was keeping the faith, I was playing my clarinet, I was suffering through it because I knew that it would not be nearly as bad as high school PE was destined to be.
36. But then I got to high school.
37. And the Marching Band teacher was a jackass.
38. And I said, "screw this shit" and I finally quit and stopped playing clarinet and just went ahead and suffered through PE.
39. Because I knew it wouldn't be as bad as taking two years of Marching Band with this dude.
40. Who, on Tuesday, May 16, I subbed for.
On a totally unrelated note, my proudest achievement as a clarinet player was learning how to play Milli Vanilli's "Blame It On The Rain."
And on that note (hey, all of this "note" talk during the "band" portion of today's blog is totally accidental--I'm serious, the puns are uninentional, people) I would like to ask you to take a moment of silence for Milli Vanilli (who should not have been put through the ringer they were put through) (because, yes, they did a bad thing) (but don't we all?) (and if you really want to blame it on something, well, you should, you know) (seriously, I could play that shit on the clarinet) (how dope is that?) ('coz the rain don't mind) (and the rain don't care) (okay, I've been rambling long enough, how's about we have that moment of silence)
I miss Milli Vanilli.
Okay, anyway, back to New Thing #81. So I subbed for my old band teacher. The teacher who finally got me to quit band. Because he was an asshole. (When I quit, he asked me if I would donate my clarinet to the band, and I didn't want him to have it so I said no, and it sat in my closet for 13 years, until finally about a year ago I gave it to my friend John, who is an awesome musician, and I'm really glad it's gettin' some play again after all these years.)
The band teacher totally didn't remember me.
As he was leaving, he told me (in front of the entire class) that all I had to do was tell them what songs to practice (from a list he had given me) and that any of the drummers could count off the beat "except for Joy because she's Asian and we all know Asians can't count."
The class went silent. Joy was like, "what?"
And then the teacher was like, "Oh, you know I'm just kidding, Joy."
And then Joy (who rocked) (and who I was proud of because she stood up for herself) was like, "yeah, but you always say that and I never think it's funny so stop saying that."
And then the teacher sat down next to her and was like, "I've never said that before, I'm just joking."
And then Joy told him, "look, you've been saying that for the last three years and I really don't find it funny, so stop."
And the teacher asked the other students if he'd ever said it before. And all of the students said, "yeah, you make that joke all the time."
And then he apologized and Joy accepted his apology and he said he wouldn't say it again and then he left and Joy rolled her eyes and I led the class through their songs.
But it made me think of this Biology teacher I had in high school who used to call us "little fags" and who thought he was the coolest person ever because he could make jokes that were "un-PC" and he didn't give a shit. And I hated that teacher. Because I didn't want to be called a little fag by nobody. I mean, I'm all for un-PC jokes, but there's a time and a place for being un-PC and a high school classroom is definitely NOT one of those places. There's too much other shit you have to deal with, you should not have to deal with racism and homophobia from your freaking teachers. The people who are molding and shaping our youth. The people we're supposed to look up to. Those are the last people who should be saying things like "you little fag" and "we all know Asians can't count."
I wish I had said something to my biology teacher way back in the day, but I was really happy to witness Joy standing up for herself.
It makes me really mad when teachers are douchebags. Because there are plenty of douchebags in the world and our teachers should not be among them.