Instead of waiting until June to recap another year’s worth of classic school moments, I thought I’d go ahead and share the year’s first half highlights now. And no, these anecdotes are not embellished, because I keep detailed notes on slips of paper I hide under my desk calendar. Yes, this is where my energies go at work.
Still Maintaining that Inner Perv
The prettiest senior girl I have this year came in my room during lunch while I was eating with another middle-aged male teacher. She cooed in her softest, sweetest, most sincere voice, “Mister Bitters, can I warm up my chocolate muffin in here?” (Yes, she’s black.) I just stared at her, unable to nod my assent and pointed to the microwave oven. She then smiled and followed that up with, “I know that sound nasty, but …”
That same week I was reading a student’s journal in which she wrote about something that worries her on a continual basis. She wrote, “I have a medical problem. My jaw locks and I can barely open it. I need to get this fixed, or otherwise I won’t be able to do the things I love to do with my mouth, such as …” And this was the last line on the page. Before I turned the page to read on, I poured a drink, dimmed the light and put on some mood music. (No knucklehead, I was not at school.) I turned the page, prepared for some juicy journal content that would make Larry Flynt blush. The first word on the next page? “… singing.” Shit. Teenage girls all across America pulling trains and going to blowjob parties, and I get the Last American Virgin in my third period. How do I know that? In a later journal entry, she proudly professed her virginity and her steely resolve to stay that way until she gets married. Here’s hoping she gets that lock-jaw problem resolved before the honeymoon.
Finally, I was passing out some stapled materials one day, and when I handed them to this very large, well sculpted, deep-voiced African-American male in the front row, he felt the heft of the packets and said, “Damn, Bitters! Why so thick?” Having forgotten to take my maturity pills that morning, I said, “Nature, my friend. I guess the gods just smiled upon me.” Damn kid was laughing so much he couldn’t even go into the usual homophobic teen overreaction to such a comment.
Honesty Is the Best Policy … I Think
Just before my fourth period class I saw one of my students from that class talking to one of my first-period students in the hall. Then they disappeared. He showed up to class 30 minutes late. That technically amounts to a cut, but he’s a great kid and the class was working quietly (the only sound was the sound of me banging on my keyboard as I fucked around online, of course), and came to my desk to explain why he missed 3/4 of the class.
Me: “Where were you?”
Him: “I went home.”
Him: “I had to use the bathroom.”
Me: “Huh? Wha … ?”
Him, in a calm, not-trying-at-all-to-be-sensationalistic voice: “Bitters, I had to take a dump, and there was no way I was shitting in school, so Devon drove me home. But then we came back to school!”
I issued him no official warning for his cut, did not notify an administrator about this serious breach of school policy and didn’t even give him a tardy. I mean, don’t you remember how impossible it was to shit in public high school?
Shalom, Bee-otch! (If I may quote Shulie from the Howard Stern Show.)
Girl handed in a stunningly well-written essay for her senior portfolio. It was a copy of an essay she turned in on a college application. I was so thrilled to be reading such eloquence that I was on the verge of going all A Christmas Story and writing “A+ + + +” across my board in an orgasmic display of gratitude. Then, near the end of the essay I found this red flag of a line: “I look forward to participating in the many extra-curricular activities offered there, especially those that fall under the realm of Jewish life.” How did I know right then that this paper was plagiarized? Well, the word “realm” was the first tipoff, as no student in the history of my time at that school has ever used that word. But it was more the fact that writer is very black and very not Jewish.
I did a quick Google search and found the original essay. I confronted her. She feigned innocence (you know those Jews!) but then ‘fessed up when I showed the original. Her first comment was not “I’m so sorry and I know this is wrong!” It was, “My dad did that! He found it for me!” So not only does she plagiarize, she also has her father do her work. Guess that explains her earlier autobiographical paper on the discomfort and embarrassment of prostate exams.
Honor Thy Father … Sort Of
I have one girl who has a one-year old baby. She also had a baby die a few days after it was born. She has also had one miscarriage. She is 18. She fought in school in September. She almost got into another fight in front of my room a month later. In the midst of her rage, she was screaming, “I will F you up, B!” She was actually saying the letters and not the words. I asked a day later why she was able to control herself that way. This thrice pregnant girl’s explanation? “Oh, my dad’s a minister. He’d kill me if he found out I was cursing.”
So, apparently the rules for a minister’s daughter are: Fighting in school? Acceptable. Fucking nonstop without protection? Acceptable and fun. But using the “F” word? Hell and damnation!
Say What? Some random, overheard student comments that don’t really need much commentary.
“Man, I wish I had a third tittie!”
“Mr. Bitters, what’s my zip code?”
“I don’t know, where do you live?”
[Pause] “I don’t know.”
“I got a new tattoo near my box.”
“What does it say?”
“I seen his wife and I thought she’d be a lot cuter than she is.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, you know … cause he drive a Cadillac and all that.”
“Well what was it about her that made her not cute?”
“She was wearin’ this purple North Face jacket for one thing.”
“My boss is Chinese, and those people really do drag out the last word in every sentence. He’s like, ‘I need you make pizaaaaaaa’ and ‘You can work Fridaaaaaaaay?’ But it’s extra weird because his name is fucking ‘Simon.’”
Ned Bitters teaches high school and dreams of one day seeing one of his former students on stage at a strip club. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.