Booties, Bloodies, Babies: Some Recent Realizations

Exhaustion. Sleep Deprivation. Revelations. Last Monday, I accidentally wore my nose ring to school. The parents descended like vultures. Not to talk about their students who are failing, but to talk about my outward defamation of the good Lord's temple. We had an hour and a half long assembly which consisted of singing Gospel Hymnals to Jesus and watching Nyla (who spells "have to" as "haft to" and has made it to Senior English never haffing to learn any grammar) perform liturgical dances instead of learning how to read. The school board censored A Handmaid's Tale because one tenet of the abstinence-only campaign in public institutions is that high school students won't have sex if they don't read about it. And, the kicker, another teacher (who generally does more sleeping at the high school than teaching) decided to tell one of my students I'm not a certified teacher. Nice. Dina got her wisdom teeth pulled, bled all over a desk, and ruined her midterm. Shay is so pregnant, she doesn't fit in the desks anymore- this being all the more unfortunate because the only extra chair I have in my classroom is already occupied by an obese student who also doesn't fit in any of the desks. And Jenny got sent to in-school suspension for nine days because she had some sex during a cooking competition field trip. (Censorship works). When I went to visit her in the brimming suspension trailer, I said, "Please stop having sex at school functions so you can graduate, Jenny," and she said, "Ok."

But there are daily rewards. According to Kendrick's survey, he's "totally enjoying Macbeth because that man is one sneaky warrior," Robert asked me how to spell "androgynous" for an essay on society's off-base definition of masculinity, AND I somehow successfully pulled off a field trip to Tulane. We did miss the bus on the way home, and I had to drive kids to their sundry residences which I could get sued for, but I've come to the realization that there are no rules really. None. You honestly don't even have to be certified to teach at my school (ask the four teachers who aren't. Aren't what? Certified. Seriously.)

I also realized I love my students much more than I ever loved the students I was around during college. Leah said, "College students are so quiet and alone," when we walked through the Tulane student center. It's true. There seems to be a lot more vibrancy in the smallness of Laplace than on the lawns of a $40,000 a year university. I wish more of my students would be college bound or at least outside-of-Louisiana bound so they could spread their simple kindness and wisdom.

My small town sweethearts were additionally awkwardly surprised by the lack of clothing on female collegiate bodies. I was too. Leggings alone? This is a whole new ball game. Booties everywhere, uncovered, walking, moving, gelatinously shaking from quad to classroom. Whitney said, "You have to have lost respect for yourself to wear that in public," and we all nodded, unable to move our eyes from the caboose of a young lady wearing TIGHTS with nothing over them. Literally. What has this generation come to? I feel old and prude and confused.

And in my personal life, or lack thereof, we hit a drunk pedestrian in my car, her head came through the windshield, and then she upended and hit the ground head first. I know this because I watched the video of it from the nearby bar three times. No questions asked by the police, no ticket issued, no rules, see? She did live and that's all that really matters. I have been reminding myself of that every day. We live. That matters.

Quincy busted through the full length window in our kitchen to get out and enjoy some sun, and now the kitchen makes my feet cold. From our balcony, you can hear the new Pomeranian puppy our neighbors just bought. That's their second Pomeranian. Why anyone would make that same mistake twice is a mystery to me. The new one looks like an electrocuted rat and sounds like a miserable child. The police broke into our neighbor's house, guns drawn, and never told us why, and I woke up to gunshots three nights in a row this week. A lightning storm rattled my window like a banging fist, and in the quick midnight light of this tempest, I realized, amongst the scattered things that I do love here, I am getting ready to leave Louisiana.

Cakes and Babies: Bring on the Fat

King Cakes are on the shelves!!! This can only mean one thing: Mardi Gras is coming! In about a week, the first parade, Krewe de Vieux, kicks off this season of grimy hands clawing through orange messes of boiled crawfish, magnificent twinkling floats coming down St. Charles, no time for naps between parades, hoodies covered in beads covered in beer covered in cheesy float-thrown medallions. Today is warm and gray, Eeyore-ish, and I am filled with anticipation for the onslaught of Mardi Gras. The Mardislaught, if you will.

Some things overlooked by out-of-towners which are crucial to the understanding of this glorious holiday:

1. It's been years since I've seen boobs at Mardi Gras. This is a kid-friendly holiday, folks. You really have to go down to Bourbon to seek out the breasts, and if you're going down there, you're really missing out on the tradition of Mardi Gras-- of kids perched on ladders along the parade route stealing all the good throws, of mammoth-proportion open-door parties in old St Charles Mansions, of hundred-member marching bands blasting out hip hop harmonies on brass, of kegs lined up along the streetcar line with Krewe-engraved cups galore, of all things free for the taking. Mardi Gras is more about partying with the community than partying with the communi-titties, if you catch my (concealed mid)drift.

2. Nothing happens on Fat Tuesday night. Actually, not true. At midnight on Mardi Gras night, the OPP comes out (prisoners), all chained up, to clean the streets. And they do a good job of it, too. Whatever trash you see Fat Tuesday night is wiped away, etch-a-sketch-style, by morning, like magic. So don't plan to come for Mardi Gras and have a blow out the night before Ash Wednesday. Stay in and repent, sinners, for what you've done.

3. You can't drive anywhere. The streets are closed off. The streetcars don't run. It's wonderful. You have to walk off all of that purple, green, and yellow sparkly frosting that coated your arteries when you downed three pieces of three layered cinnamon cake on the street. And then you can wash down your walk with an Abita Mardi Gras Bock when you get where you're going.

4. Dogs don't eat babies. Inside a king cake hides a mini little plastic baby. The person who gets the baby has to throw a party for everyone else eating the cake (you probably already knew that part). Last year, Kate bought a beautifully braided, gleaming king cake from Antoine's, all stuffed to its seams with raspberry cream cheese, and we made the mistake of going to a parade and leaving the piece of culinary art on the counter. When we got home, the dog had so thoroughly devoured it, the cardboard box was even down his gullet. Icing shimmered at the corners of Quincy's panting mouth, and all was gone...all but the tiny little baby, smack dab in the middle of the kitchen floor.

So I lie in wait with my greedy dog. I feel it today in the grayness and breeze: it's gonna be a good Mardi Gras. It always is.

Sports News

jnix.jpgtravis.jpgdad-stud.jpgredfish.jpgcarm.jpgMy name is in the paper- my name is in the paper! (To the tune of nanny-nanny-boo-boo). (What is nanny nanny boo boo??) I've had my eye on him for years: Jayson NIX , #1 in the Colorado Rockies 2001 draft, is poised, at long last, to take the second base position of Asian hottie Kazuo Matsui, about whom my friend Anne, in front of her five-year boyfriend, remarked, "I'd let that man do anything he wanted to me." The import: my surname is moving up in the ranks, much as the Colorado Rockies skyrocketed to the World Series after royally sucking for like ten years. True, they got shut out, but a valiant effort, and I say here-here, with my fingers interlaced and alternately shaking over my right shoulder, then over my left, for the Rockies and for Jayson giving our family a good name. (He may or may not be Jerry's bastard child from the 1970's...I mean, did you see that wedding picture of my dad before balding and weight gain took hold...)

Speaking of illigitimacy, in other sports news, the Broncos running back, Travis Henry (yeah, you know him, the one who has 9 different babies from 9 different baby mamas in 4 seperate Southern states) has just been let off the hook for positive marijuana testing. Phew!!! We need role models like this for high school males.  I chose this picture of him because he looks cross-eyed, and that's funny.

Another thing, not all red fish are red, and I need to get this out for others who might be deceived. This is old news that I realized from the Grand Isle Peer, pulling up a silvery brown eight-incher. Nothing vermillion about him. If these fish didn't have such a supreme taste, I would have thrown that scaly hunk of a tease right back into the Gulf. However, upon further research, I found that redfish are rather supreme in other ways. Redfish in the Atlantic can live to be up to 50 years old and their anal fins have three spines. And what human doesn't like something that, in real life, looks like a cartoon? (See fish? More like hilarifish.)

And last, but not least, my mom and I saw Carmelo Anthony in the mall yesterday. Even men with a staunch record of heterosexuality would undoubtedly attest to the fact that Carmelo is quintessentially "cute." Mom knew exactly who he was, and I beamed with crippled pride.