“You are a heartless creature, Scarlett. But perhaps that’s part of your charm.”
—Gone With The Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
To begin the school year I wanted to have them make a list of the reasons why we study history. I just really didn’t get satisfied with the answers I got last week so here we go again. One of the obvious reasons is that history is interesting. The history of people, places, things, and events. Nobody ever guesses that the study of history is interesting.
Anyhow, so I tell them you don’t have to agree with him but is Lester Maddox interesting. He’s interesting. I swear he was. Lester was a real mischievous and skinny old Georgia governor who certainly could ride a bicycle backwards and wave a pistol around at a poor old dude who just wanted some soul food in his restaurant and he was good at whipping around that ol’ axe handle thing while his sister banged on the piano while his customers slurped down green beans, but people all over the world continue to be interested in him. One of the other reasons about how it gets interesting—studying history—is to compare how we do things now to how we did things a long time ago. For some freaky reason I said do women have babies now the way they did a couple of hundred years ago?
They screamed … No way!
Nowadays, I said, if a mom’s in trouble, and even the baby, the doctor would probably perform a cesarean section.
Petal screamed that she was born by cesarean section! Oh, my God!
Then Hap said he was, too!
And then that Tempest said she was, too, by cesarean section, and that they ought to form a club!
Then Petal said if she hadn’t been born by cesarean section then both her and her mother would be dead and she wouldn’t be sitting right here in Georgia History class!
I took a deep breath and changed the hell out of the subject. I can just imagine them running and screaming down the hall to Lurlene’s office and pleading and screaming with her to let them form a junior high school cesarean section club.
I really love one of the answers to why we study history … the answer about how much fun it is to compare how we do things today to how we did things a long time ago. So we talked about this one for a while today and then I said what do you think people in general were like two hundred years ago?
Homer shouted … They were Cro-Magnons!
My Georgia History class participation checklist has now been duly pontificated in a loud and authoritative voice and even written up on a white board on the back wall of the classroom where the list will stay, unchanged, and dependably available for the next 10 months. You know, when in doubt about how and when to speak the hell up eyeball the board in the back …
- Are you asking questions?
- Are you answering questions?
- Are you paying attention?
- Are you offering up discussion items?
- You’re not asleep are you?
Enthused about the day’s multitude of educational successes, I, for some masochistic unknown reason, walked down to Lurlene’s office and said in a happy voice that this was such noble work, teaching. It really was such noble work.
Yes, it certainly is, she said without turning around to see how happy I was and how noble I looked and felt. She’s always doing something on her computer or talking on the phone or watching kids and other teachers out of the window by her desk.
I asked her why did you become a principal when teaching is so much more fun?
Lurlene finally turned around and said with an iniquitous grin … So I can torture teachers.
Next Entry ... August 18: Herman's Number 1