Thursday, January 30, 2003

So I suffer from this meeserable hacking cough, and it’s all wet and phlegmy, but I’m not majorly sick cuz da crap that be running out me nose or spitting on the ground is never worse than a bright green or yellowish color. And color is everything with infection, baby. Brown bad. Clear and white good. But why do I have to get a cold when I’ve been so good? For six months now, since the Superior Trail, I’ve lived this stress free life of emotional and artistic enrichment, drinking, yes, but joyfully, in celebration of intoxication, instead of hiding life’s worries and cares behind numbness. I work out at the YMCA faithfully, and I better because we pay through the kiester for membership.
But all the nasty little buggies of the world don’t confab together and say, no, no, no, we can’t assail Gregory now. He’s in such good spirits and he takes good care of himself. No, no, no they are indiscriminate and unconscious of all else except a will to perpetuate. And how successful they are, each cough a release of spore-like germs, like upon lichen upon life. And there is no cure for mutating buggers. Just drink your vitamin C, take your eucalyptus, maybe some Echinacea, whatever, and work it through.

There’s this fourth grader Brienna, and she’s one of three girls in this class that stick together, but are kind of outcasts. Well, Brienna comes back from Christmas break with different glasses on. And I ask her, wow, cool glasses, did your prescription change? She said no, I lost my regular glasses when our house burned down. She was so matter of fact about it, like it was no big deal. Wednesday we’re playing kickball and Mandrell, one of the bigger boys in class, grabs and soft kick from Brienna and whips the ball at her feet to tag her out, and the ball hits her so hard she falls hard on her hands and knees. But along with the pain of falling was the humiliation of everyone laughing at her.

I lost it. I stopped the game and made everybody sit down in their assigned spots on the gym floor. I then lectured all the kids on how cruel it is to laugh at someone’s misfortune, and how what you do will eventually come back at you. I tried to impress upon them the golden rule, but they didn’t take me seriously. Their teacher is a whiny, lecturing angry middle-aged prune who can’t control the class, so the students are an unruly bunch oblivious to the wah-wah-wah-wah stridency of authority.

But when I have them for gym class again Tuesday I will made the students write one nice thing about each of their classmates and hand it in to me. I will compile the compliments for each student and give it to them. It’s not an original idea. I’m ashamed to say I got it from the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, which spawned that pithy cottage industry.

Poor Brienna. May she gain strength and not be overwhelmed by being an outsider. I hope she ends up having a unique and wonderful life. And I hope I can continue to look out for the underdog, in PE class and the world at large. Cuz goodness knows I been dere.

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