Thursday, October 22, 2009

First we made it all red and swollen, and then the Queen showed up.

Or, Teaching, the Vic way.

Or, Yesterday, Period One, Freshman English*.

*Curriculum addressed:  Government bureaucracy, multi-cultural awareness, physical education, natural science, law-enforcement procedures, chemistry, biology, sex education, foreign relations, mental illness, spirituality.

*Curriculum not addressed:  English

8 am:  Bell rings. Take roll.  Explain to roomful of fourteen year olds, again, that a research paper requires finding actual information.  Imaginary facts are frowned upon.  Yes, really. Student in back row raises hand- how are we going to use this in the real world?

8:05:  Morning headache begins.  Door opens.  Principal, dressed in suit (bad sign) saunters in, accompanied by district superintendent, also in suit.  Both smile, copy down everything written on board for future scrutiny.  Identical expectant faces.  Impress us, their eyebrows command.

8:10: Open mouth to impress visitors with superior wisdom and teaching technique. Door opens again.  Special education lackey enters.  Surprise!! IEP meeting!  Mandatory attendance, come right away! Forgot to tell you!

8:11:  Leave official guests and sea of vapid teens with lackey to fend for themselves.  Attend IEP meeting. Mother speaks no English.  Use wild hand gestures and loud, loud voice to compensate.  Probably this is effective.

8:22:  Return to classroom just as slightly sweaty officials are escaping.  Open mouth. Say Okay everyone, let’s get…Door opens again. 

Dean of students, police officer, and women with leash (attached to large dog) enter room.

Everybody clear the room! Take nothing with you!  No talking!

8:23 Class led silently from the room.  Students take turns alternately attempting to climb tree outside classroom and stomp to death world’s largest black widow spider.  Meanwhile, inside, dog sniffs all backpacks for Oxycontin. Jim Beam. Plastic explosives. Meatball sandwiches. 

Remember ibuprofen in purse. Hope police pat down is somewhere more private.

8:33  Dog fails to find contraband, leaves room with tail between legs.  Students file in, one with spider attached to shoe.

8:35  Students return to seats.  Door left ajar due to doggy smell in room. Say Let’s try this again.  Open your books to page…

Autistic boy in first row raises hand-  “Check this out!”

Opens book to inside back cover. Displays large, elaborate pen drawing of penis, with heavily-veined scrotum.  Further inspection reveals penis to be of John Holmesian dimensions. 

Students in room silent for first time.  Calm before the storm. All eyes on teacher.

8:37: Sigh. Say Here, take this permanent marker and scribble it out.  Do not look closely at marker grabbed hastily from desk drawer.

8:38:  Student scribbles penis dutifully with marker.  Displays effect proudly for the room.

Penis and scrotum now more distinctly defined than ever, and bright red.  Appears turgid and hot, and somehow springy.

8:39:   Get giggles.  Attempt to stifle giggles and confiscate book simultaneously.  Struggle to regain dignity.  Class erupts in excited babble.

8:42:   Suddenly, many well-dressed individuals walk slowly by open door.  Student next to door cries Hey, it’s Queen Elizabeth!!

Group of adults stops to look in room and then continue.  It is not Queen Elizabeth.  (One of them is, however, the Mayor of London.  England. Come to see the marching band, as you will later learn. Frightening coincidence.)

8:48: Give up.  Instruct students to gather things and pack up. Sit at desk with head cradled in palms of hands.

Hear student approach desk. Look up. Student shyly extends folded paper. Says, I wanted to show you this

Fear it is another penis drawing. Unfold paper.

Worse. 

These are demons that talk to me.  I drew their pictures.  Do you want to know their names?

8:54-  Bell rings. 

One period down, five more to go.

Note:  I attempted to take a picture of the turgid penis for your viewing pleasure, but when I looked later, the page had been ripped out of the book.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One Year Closer to Death, but at least I don’t smell like urine. Yet.

It’s my birthday today.

Let me try that again.

It’s my birthday today!!!  (Cue release of helium balloons and singing waiters)

Don’t even ask how old I am, because apparently I don’t know.

Turns out, according to my know-it-all husband, I am a year older than I thought I was.  He was  all smirky-faced when he told me, especially during the part right after I finished counting years on my fingers and looking up with a Whaaa?? expression, the part where he casually reminded me he is fourteen months younger than me. Which might make me some kind of cougar, I’m not sure.  An Alzheimer’s cougar.

I don’t know what I’m doing to celebrate.  Probably checking the batteries in my Life Alert.  Eating Almond Roca while wearing a fuchsia polyester pantsuit with suntan knee-high hose. Ordering a commemorative Bob Hope plate off the Home Shopping Network.

The usual birthday hoopla.

Also a satyr wearing eye-liner and horns glued to his head at the Halloween Store tried to pick me up on Wednesday, so I’ve definitely still got it, right?

Birthdays are good because people give you stuff.  Like, my dentist sent a postcard saying “Happy Birthday!  It’s time to schedule a cleaning!” because he knows I am extra good at plaque, and not so good at flossing.  Also I am probably getting the flu from my daughter soon, since she’s been sick with it all week, and there goes my swinging party lifestyle (Almond Roca, anyone?).

I got a title, too.  I am now officially “Co-Dance-Captain”.  Of the Christmas Carol Fezziwig dancers.  Even better is that I can’t dance, despite my couch-bound passion for So You Think You Can Dance, but it’s okay, because it’s just a bunch of couples doing a lurching, thundering polka-thing around the stage in hoop skirts and Victorian suits.  It’s not interpretive dance.  I got the job because my partner can dance and he also shouts things like “Allemande left!” and “Do-se-do!” while throwing me around the floor, and I haven’t fallen down yet. I’m practically a professional dancer, I think you could say.

I’m not sure about my duties, but I’m definitely making myself a “Co-Captain” name tag, or a trucker hat so people will recognize my importance.

The coolest thing I’ve gotten so far came from Lana, who sent me a T-shirt in the mail after I won her contest. It’s got a picture of a pickle’s ass:
pickleface picklebehind
I’m wearing it to work today. With my pantsuit.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It’s like that song about God riding the bus, only instead I picture a leprechaun.

But not a leprechaun on a bus, because that would be silly.

Also it would be lacking in magic and pomp, because these days we are entirely too politically correct, and even if He got on a bus in his leprechaun body, holding a pot of gold under one arm and tapping his shillelagh on the fare box, everyone on the bus would just look straight ahead. In case someone caught them staring and then lectured them about cultural sensitivity and treating little people with dignity.  Only inside, they’d all be thinking look at the crazy midget in the yellow tights and curly shoes! I’ve got to stop riding the city bus, and God would know they thought that.

I’m not sure where I was going with this.

Probably what I’m trying to say is sometimes I think the Big Leprechaun in the Sky enjoys messing with us.
For instance, remember my nemesis?  The one that chased me down to tell me she can only get the “pretty parts” in theater productions because she’s so thin, thereby clearly implying that I am hideously fat and unattractive and specially suited for the “jolly” parts? The one that is BFF’s with the director? The one I may or may not have wished would wake up bald?

Well.

Cast lists were posted a couple of days ago.  If this were my own John Hughes-style movie (or “Camp Rock” for you younger readers)featuring myself as the spunky underdog (note to self:  stop using the word ‘spunky’ ) I would nervously approach the paper pinned all crookedy to the bulletin board, and there would be my name next to the lead part! What an unforeseen turn of events causing unbearable envy in my nemesis!

So I’d be Scrooge.  Maybe not.

Or I’d nervously approach the crookedy list, and there I’d be, next to the pretty part!* -  The Ghost of Christmas Past!  Oh yeah!Take that Fernadette!

Nope.

I did get a part.  Parts. I’m Mrs. Fezziwig.  And a blind beggar.  And also someone called “Raucous Lady” which calls to mind tropical birds.  Mrs. Fezziwig sounds important, but in this version she has only one line about boiled dinner and then she cleans up a lot.  I do get to fall down as the beggar, so it’s clear they went with my strengths this time around. AND I beat out thirty other women for these coveted spots. Apparently.

But what about Fernadette? I hear you all asking.  Surely she wasn’t cast as the GOCP?  Say it isn’t so! 

Maybe that would have happened if God were my own personal leprechaun sadist, but it turns out he’s an equal-opportunity prankster.

Fernadette didn’t get a part. No part. Zippo. Too pretty, I guess.

Instead the director told her she could be a caroler if she wanted.  The carolers have to trudge up and down the local outdoor mall dressed in bonnets and woolen capes in 80 degree heat singing Christmas carols, thereby inducing sudden Christmas spirit in shoppers at the Anchor Blue store, and propelling them into the theater.  No word on whether she accepted so far.

My favorite thing of all, though, (after picturing Fernadette’s springy afro jammed into a bonnet), is the casting of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

The director gave the “pretty part” to a woman who is 6’2”, nearly 300 pounds, and has a voice like a drill sergeant.

I kind of love that little director man.

* I have a picture of the last Ghost of Christmas Past having excessive smoke blown up her…angel robes.  Fog machine went a little berserk.  It happens.  Good one, Holy Leprechaun Father.  

I think I might be going to Hell now.  

*nobo-dy calling on the pho-o-ne….’cept for the Pope maybe in Rome…*

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

In Which Our Heroine is Confronted With Pure Evil. And a Dangerously High Stack of Junk Mail.

Hello.

Perhaps I seem familiar to you. I used to do a little blogging around here, back in olden times.

A week ago, anyway.

I know I’ve neglected you all shamefully, but couldn’t help it, I had some pressing matters to attend to.

For instance, after I crashed from my candy corn high, I realized my house was on the fast-track to a featured spot on a Very Special Episode of “Hoarders” unless I broke out the cleaning supplies.  So there was that.

Also there was/is the on-going cat situation.  Every night they do an encore performance of the feline Cirque du Soleil in the hallway outside the bedroom where we are attempting to sleep.  The husband, rather than speak sternly to the kittens, is encouraging them by building the world’s most complicated cat condo/scratching post/cabana/trapeze/summer home/carpeted Tower of  Babel.  Pretty soon it will be tall enough for them to see the face of God.   (Their sense of entitlement is epic now that both kittens have Facebook pages.  The Apocalypse is on its way.)

Mostly, though, I have been very busy composing scathing letters in my head to my new nemesis. Sometimes the letters are extra hurtful, because, people, that is just how I roll now.  The beast has been unleashed.

I know.  At first, I, too, was taken off-guard when my arch enemy appeared, because I thought only other people have nemesii.  Nemesises.  Enemies. Not Vic, the Aunt Bea of Blogland, driver of the Partridge Family bus, and yes I know I’m mixing my TV Land references, but it can’t be helped.

And yet, there she was.

Maybe by now it has crossed your mind to wonder what a Nemesis of Vic would look like.

Well, as it happens, my nemesis looks exactly like if they made a Bernadette Peters action figure, only she would be made with an inferior mold so the eyes are extra little and beady, and poorly painted, giving her a slightly cross-eyed stare like Jessica Simpson, and also she would have  black hair.  The lips would look like she had just sucked the head off a sparrow.  That part’s pretty true to life.

My nemesis’s name, of course, is not Bernadette, and I’d use Betty’s name but that would be indiscreet, so we’ll just call her, oh, Fernadette.

Let me explain.

Last weekend I auditioned for  "A Christmas Carol".    I just do it for fun, and to escape my “Hoarders” house, and yet every time I audition for a production, I’m surrounded by divas, of both genders, all of them overly animated and self-conscious, and all “best friends” with the director. This is annoying to normal people.


Also, everyone has been the lead in Wicked or West Side Story, and has stapled expensive head shots to their lengthy resume. Once the resumes have been relinquished, large groups of auditioning actors are herded into the room, where two or three people at a time perform randomly- assigned dramatic readings for the director and everyone else.

My audition went well enough, I thought.  I was especially proud of my reinterpretation of the Ghost of Christmas Past as a disaffected goth teenager, resentful of the time that Scrooge is taking away from her Marilyn Manson sing-a-long time.

So, anyway, after the audition this woman lterally chased me out of the building, tailing me to the car park, huffing and puffing on her four -inch heels.

It was Fernadette.

And then a conversation occurred: 
Fernadette:  "Hey!  Hey you! “ Stops to brush curls from forehead with wrist.  She is winded.   “I heard your reading today."
Me:  "Umm  hmm.  I heard your audition too."  Quizzical Vic eyebrow.
Fernadette:  "Sooo…… What part are you hoping for? Are you auditioning for the Ghost of Christmas Past?
Me:  “Uh…maybe?  Whatever they decide, I guess.  I liked doing the physical comedy last time, so a character part would be fun too.” I turn to unlock my car door. When I turn back, Fernadette is still standing there, expectantly.
Me: “ Oh. Um….so….what about you?  Ghost of Christmas Past?”
Fernadette:  Smirks.  “Oh, yes, of course I am!” (a trill of laughter escapes her pursed action figure lips)
“You know..(thoughtful tooth tap with the end of an acrylic nail)…..I know what you mean about the parts you like.”
Me:  “You do?”  (longing look at inviting car interior)
Fernadette:  “ I always used to enjoy doing character parts too." (Significant Pause)  "I used to be overweight then.  (Long hand flourish up her body)  Now that I'm so thin, I just can't do those parts anymore.” (Sad pout)    “The directors only want to give me the pretty girl parts now.  You're so lucky.”
Oh no, she didn’t.
Fernadette:  “Oh, I have to run!!  Good luck!”
And then she was gone, a blur of hair and claws, up the stairs to the next level, leaving me winded from the sucker punch.

So now it’s on.  I pretty desperately want the director (who’s in my mafia on Facebook, btw.  We’re pretty close) to add a sexy new neighbor for Scrooge.  And then he would give me the part, and I would be so gracious to little poisonous Fernadette and not even laugh when she does her bit as a street beggar.  Who is covered in boils.

Stage make-up, of course.  It would be too much to ask for real boils.