Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Let's Do Lunch

Who wears a bowtie anymore, wondered Richard. Just as he was thinking that, Harold Brown and his bowtie made a sudden sharp turn, walked twenty feet, and parked their styrofoam lunch tray directly in front of Richard’s brown paper bag.

Richard watched the tray hit the table, and was about to comment on the cockroach strolling through Harold’s string beans when Harold blurted out “I heard Goodrich observed you the other day.”

“Yup,” answered Richard. “You know, there’s a…”

“Don’t take it too hard, Carter,” smiled Harold. “I heard she invited you over for meatballs and you turned her down. Big mistake.”

“You think so?” Richard asked.

“I would’ve been over in a flash,” said Harold, while picking something from his teeth. “Of course, I’m the sort of teacher who doesn’t need to do those things. She’s observed me four times, and they’ve all been great. What happened in your class?”

“Harold, you ought to…”

“Don’t worry about me. I know what I’m doing. I was almost teacher of the year last year. I should have won, and I would have, to, if it hadn’t been for that woman getting pregnant again. How does that make her any better than me?”

Once again, Richard didn’t know what to say.

Luckily for Richard, Howard believed in leaving no pause unfilled. “Now you tell me what happened in your class, and I’ll tell you exactly what you did wrong. I’m really good at that, believe me”

Richard believed him. “OK, fine,” he replied. Richard looked down as Harold continued to gobble down the orange stuff on his tray. “Actually, Harold, I don’t remember what happened.”

“What do you mean? Are you on drugs or something?”

“Well, no. I was just tired, and I fell asleep.”

Harold’s eyes opened wide behind his flex-titanium glasses. “You fell asleep? While Goodrich was observing you?”

“No, Harold. I fell asleep second period, and she didn’t observe me till period three.”

“Oh my God. What did she say?”

“She told me I should fall asleep on my own time.”

“Wow. That’s bad. Very bad. You should have spoken to me. I would never…”

“I told her it was none of her damn business what I do on my own time.”

Harold almost spit out a mouthful of green beans. “You what? You couldn’t, I mean you didn’t…”

“I had to, Harold. She has no right telling me what to do in my free time. This is a free country.”

Harold swallowed the last of his green beans, wiped his mouth, adjusted his tie, and left the cafeteria.

An older teacher at the other end of the table waited a few moments and asked, “You didn’t really do that, did you?”

“Of course not,” said Richard.

“I didn’t think so. You seem like a bright kid.” The older teacher turned to Richard. Richard couldn’t help but notice his T-shirt, which said “TIER ONE” in large block letters.

“Why don’t you get out of this system now,” suggested Tier One, “and get a job in Long Island? You could make some real money out there, and you won’t have to deal with idiots like Harold anymore. Don’t wait till you’re my age.”
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