Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You mean they got laws here?

I know, I know. I'm shocked too. I mean this is the state where Edwin Edwards was once elected on the slogan "Vote for the crook. It's important." But appearances aside, they do have laws, including the Louisiana Public Records Act. Which I will be putting to good use shortly.

That means you, Jack Da.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Uh, no

In the course of the spring, I got to chatting with a woman in northern Louisiana. She didn't do much in terms of practical help but did hook me up with the school's first [and likely last] Black football coach, who, in turn, is now [probably] trying to hook me up with his attorney. And, in the meantime, I am preparing for my northern migration. The lady, whose interest in me is sustained I think by the hope that I will soon join her church, has advised me to remain in my favorite southern town and wait to see what the litigation will bring. And what, pray, tell, will this 30 year old with a Masters in Education do in the meantime?
"Well you could be a waiter downtown."
Uh, no.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I always enjoy that look

Sometime before Independence Day, a lad and I got to chatting. He tells me that due to my "ethnicity", it was pre determined by my professor [who shall go nameless] that I will fail his course. It seems that Jack [I did not say how long he shall go nameless- consider this a warning] decides, in consult with the dean of the graduate school, who passes and who doesn't, well before the student shows up for class. The deciding factor, according to Jack's colleague, is whether the student has the right ethnic makeup to earn a doctorate. An interesting methodology and one I did not learn about when doing my Masters in Education.

Not being totally bereft of brains, I put the "ethnicity" thing and the failing mark together and came to the conclusion that Jack D. [seriously, pay attention] doesn't like my schnoz. And so, for the second time in my life, I'm going to harp on the yid thing.

The first time was in the tenth grade, when I took a class- temporarily- from a lad named Chuck Yeager. Chuck bore a smile that seemed fixed to his face with nails and an attitude that conveyed the sort of insincere hospitality many down here are famous for. When not mocking my accent, he would call on me every chance he could. Surprisingly, my grades went from D's and F's to B's when I finally put my foot down and changed classes.

Putting my foot down with Jack D. was not an option, hailing as he does, from an old line Sicilian family around New Orleans and thinking that he owns the department by birthright. Also, he had the neat setup where only he taught the course required to graduate. I went in, knowing before I ever did, that I would fail. I knew this because his very first [electronic] words to me inquired about where I am from and he called me "son". I was sorely tempted to let him know that unless he hung out at the socialist housing blocks of Budapest in the late 1970s', it was highly unlikely that we were filial relations. I had also considered telling him that I was not his boy, kid, little fella, fella, or any such endearments but I held my tongue. [Yes, even I can hold my tongue.]

I also knew this because I decided to take his temperature in advance and send him a bit of research which got me an A in my masters program. Not surprisingly, he called it unpublishable drivel. So I bucked up for an F.

Ten weeks go by. No grades. At all. Then, one day before the end of the semester, I get a D. Not cool in grad school. I get a dismissal letter 3 days later. Then I find out that the department chair is no longer the chair. Then the phone call. With names.

So now, I use brutally honest shorthand:

"Are you in school?"
"How come?"
"I got kicked out because a prof failed me since I'm Jewish."

And that, is when I get the look.
There are actually two looks. The first look is sympathetic. The second is astounded. It's the second one that I enjoy. Where their heads whip around, their eyes widen and they just...look.

"No way."





Some kids are more worldly than others. Not surprisingly in the deep south, the worldly kids tend to be black.


"I can believe it."

"Yeah I totally see that happening."

I enjoy the look. Maybe because I'm a cruel bastard who enjoys disillusioning the youth of today. Or maybe because being disillusioned is a necessity at times.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

An awesome night

I got invited to see belly dancers downtown. And they were mostly really good- one was a friend of mine from school, so she, her friend and her mom joined me for a movie- Get Smart [side note: Anne Hathaway is drool worthy] and then we got home. The dancers were good, the girl was super cool and being with her mom wasn't as creepy as it sounds. Awesome.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Best Jesse Helms obituary ever

this says it better than I ever could.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Points for honesty

I had a lovely chat with a lad who informed me that my "ethnicity" (Jooooo) informs my course grade and, shockingly, not for the better.

Happy 4th of July Y'all.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This story might offer some clues

Before coming to the southland, I was completing an M.Ed. in Eastern Europe and earning my keep as an EFL teacher at a University- and I use that word loosely- in Gliwice, Poland. It was there, in Gliwice, that one of my students wrote the following charming short story:

The story of the goblin, the goat and the hermaphrodite princess
(As told by the goblin)

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful Pricess in a lovely castle surrounded by a garden of pretty flowers. It was a beautiful time. However, the Princess, who was a hermaphrodite, suffered from constant diarreha. Such an affliction was brought about by having eaten a poisoned banana given to her by the goblin who guarded the garden, the castle and the princess.

Why would she eat the poisoned banana, especially since the castle had no bathroom, only a window for her to do her business? Well you see, this princess was not very smart and she would eat most anything a man or creature offered. Soon, she was afflicted with diarrehea day and night as she waited to be rescued from the goblin and the castle.

Her rescuer was neither a prince, princess or combination thereof. Rather, it was the zebra who had escaped from the zoo to munch on grass throughout the countryside when he happened upon the garden and goblin. He and the goblin fought ferociously over a patch of dead grass when the zebra knocked him over with his own horns (it was a special kind of zebra straight from Chernobyl.) The creature charged the castle and was soon inside the castle and the princess with whom he or she lived happily ever. Or at least this was the story my class told me when I was a fledgling student teacher in Silesia.

The more I think about it, the more likely it is that this story holds some clues to my present predicament.