daily preciousness

Monday, June 07, 2004

"Thank you, Mr. B!"

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm easy.

By that, I simply mean that once I'm upset about something, I'm easy to calm down. It usually takes a few well timed words to sort it all out. I rarely stew over things. (Brooding isn't for me -- it's for poets and cicadas.)

I spent a few extra hours at home last week writing little inscriptions in books for the children. Each of my 5th graders gets five books to take home for the summer and keep for themselves. I spent about three or four hours writing little notes in their books. It brought me back, doing it. Back in "the day," I remember penning similar inscriptions in yearbooks.

Dear Jamie,
I hope that you have as much fun reading this book as I did. Remember: if your belly aches from laughing too much, you can always bookmark it and come back later.
Have a great summer and good luck at McKinley Middle next year!

Mr. B

It's really not a Petrarchan sonnet or anything difficult, but it did take considerable time and effort to jot down a personalized note for 50+ young ones. Then, as an added extry special bonus, I thought we'd have an ice cream party to celebrate the end of the year. So I ran to the store and picked up plenty of ice cream -- but not those old and busted flavors that we got in school. No.

I refuse to serve second-rate flavors in my library. Only flava-luscious flavors: Butterfinger swirl, cherry almond fudge, chocolate chunk and Hershey's Crunch. Let's face it... my flava choices rocked hard. While other teachers were dishing out stale old has-been flavors like vanilla and chocolate, I was offering the premium stuff.

And it took some running around to get them and set everything up for the classes. But I didn't mind, because I thought, "They'll really appreciate this. I'm going the extra mile for them -- they're sure to realize that."

To top it all off, I wore my especially new badness Harry Potter baseball cap, cocked to the side, East Coast gangsta style. Just 'cause I'm like that. And also, I wore it to celebrate the opening of the new film. I had seen the film the night before at a special sneak preview. Some of the kids were impressed by this (which was the whole point). Other kids were completely confused as to what a "sneak preview" was, asking, "So... it doesn't open until tonight. So how did you see it last night? How is that possible?"

So it was an all-around fun day at the library. And the thanks would just be effusive, right? It would be pouring down on me like rain from "Hurricane Marianne the Librarian". Alas, the only pouring was when somebody overturned their melted ice cream and it poured all over the rug. And they didn't bother to tell me. And it soaked in and formed a sugary, creamy stain -- the embodiment of my dashed hopes at any sign of appreciation.

The kids grabbed their five free books, ate the ice cream, ignored their personalized inscriptions and left. Not a single one showed any signs -- however faint -- of gratitude.

My hopes were dashed completely. And I muttered to myself, "Well, we'll see if I ever do something as misguidedly generous as this again!"

And so it remained. For the weekend. I was an embittered old soul the whole time.

Until today. Until this morning at 8:50 AM, when I walked up the steps to school and a bright-eyed fifth grader who is a very good reader said, "Mr. B! Thank you! I started reading the book that you gave me last week. And you were right! I love it. It's so funny that my belly ached from laughing. Thank you, Mr. B!"

And that's all it took. I forgive them. And all wrongs are forgotten.


  • You're not _that_ easy, usually. :)

    You are also right to leave the brooding to experts. You really don't do it well.

    (guess who)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 07, 2004 1:01 PM  

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