Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On Mr Middleton and Irony

At Central (Omaha High School), there was this study hall teacher. Actually, I don't know what he taught. He was just the person monitoring the study hall period that I was in. His name was Mr. Middleton. The thing about the study hall was that since there was really no studying to be done the first week of school or so, Mr. Middleton had just enough time to explain to us what his name was - and what it was not. Mr Middleton always wore some sort of military uniform. Other than my dad, Mr. Middleton was the only adult who I feared when I was in High School.

Mr Middleton's introduction of himself to the study hall went something like:

Hello. I'm Mr Middleton. My name is "Mr." - "Middleton". It is not "Hey Middleton". It is not "Middleton". It is "Mr Middleton, period".
< a faint chuckling can be heard from somewhere behind me >
Middleton looks in my direction. Sighs. Slowly descends the stairs of the stage he's standing on. Walks down the aisle to my left. Looking sternly at each student in the eye. Getting closer to me. I'm looking down at my desk. Mop of hair partially covering my eyes, cursing myself for not just saying "High and Tight" last time I was at the "Beauty shop" as my mom called the place we got haircuts. Here he comes. He thinks I'm the one who laughed at him. I mean, I was, but not out loud. Now he's stopped. Beside my desk. I feel him standing there. I look up slowly. He's staring at me. Looking for something. Thanks be to God he doesn't see what he's looking for. He continues to the back of the row and turns.

"If any one of you calls me anything other than Mr. Middleton, I will kill you while you sleep.

"One. Last. Time. It is Mr. Middleton Period.

"Any questions?"

It's at this point that my bff raises his hand. What he says makes me realize that no matter how much we seem like peers, he is my master ...

Brian (not Bryan) says. "I have a question, is it 'Mr. Middleton' or 'Mr. Middleton Period.'"

Oh my god. I couldn't believe Mr. Middleton didn't "skin that smoke wagon" as Wyatt Earp might say.

Note: The title suggests Irony. The Irony in this tale: The longer Mr. Middleton tries to ensure he is called "Mr. Middleton", the better the chance that he will be blogged about 27 years later.

He ain't heavy, Shim's my brother.

On Brady's comment ...

Thanks for that brady. It reminds me of something I was thinking about 2 days ago. I was feeling great dread remembering what a dumb little shit I used to be in about 5th grade or so, all the way through college (still going on).

I did not know what racism was. I did not know that some terms were offensive, other than "nigger", which only dad was allowed to say in our family. Apparently he knew the proper usage or something. I never quite understood it. Something like "Dad, you said nigger!" would earn a prompt and violent biff to the forehead.

At this point, I'd like to mention that I realize saying "The N word" would convey my point, so um, what's the difference really?

Back to the cringing dreadful memory. When we were kids, we loved loved loved "Welcome Back Kotter". We thought it was the best show ever. If you ever get a chance to see an old rerun, pick up a book, turn the tv off, and read. You'll be much more entertained. "Welcome back kotter" is in no way even remotely amusing. Maybe it's dated, I don't know.

So the main characters were basically 70's stereotypes. Let see, there was
Vinnie Barbarino (The Italian Lover).
There was Freddy "Boom boom" Washington, The musically inclined, hip black fellow. Again, I know "African American" is correct, but back then it was called Black.
Um, Arnold Horshack, the mildly retarded (mentally disabled), but lovable goof.
And the Sweathog in question: Juan Epstien, The lazy Peurto Rican fraud.
Jaun called himself a "Peurto Rican Jew".
My brother and I sang the song, watched the show every thursday, and had a great time. We thought every bit of it was hilarious. We also thought love of the show was universal.

Which is why I can honestly say, that it was with completely humorous and good-will intentions that from the back seat of a 1975 Ford Custom 500, being driven by my mother, I rolled down the window and shouted to a man that resembled Juan Epstien, "Hey, are you a Peurto Rican Jew!?!"

God. That is really really difficult to relive. My heart is beating faster as I type this.

Hey - guy from my youth that I yelled at. I'm sorry.

Ladies and gentlemen, "Step 9" by request. Thanks oh so much.

Oh yeah - and Shim, I got a Charlie Burton cd if you're interested.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Non Sequitur

One time I was reading this story about the wit of Abraham Lincoln. It seems Honest Abe (The Socialist) had been quite pleased with himself for a joke he made in front of all the members of his cabinet I believe it was. A common farmer had asked for and been granted an audience with the president. When asked the matter, The farmer said that he wanted to know how long a man's legs should be. "Long enough to reach the ground." was President Lincoln's answer.

Well what pleased Lincoln so much was the uproar of laughter that followed. He hurried home to tell Mary Todd about it. She was not as happy about it as Abe. She argued with him about the proper punch line (She said it should be "Long enough to reach his torso", which is much funnier to her) and the reason a man would travel such a great distance to ask such a ridiculous question.

In the end, this got Abe thinking. "What did the farmer really want?"

Anyway, the term "Non Sequitur" was used in the story and that's the first time I saw it.

It was written by Woody Allen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I must apologize

I have been in the process of not blogging for some time. That last thing I was going on about. It has an ending that I'll discuss at some point. Not now, though. I just wanted to get on and mention that I finally figured out what "spinning" is good for as far as cyclists go. It's a good way to spend an hour reflecting on what a big huge lazy pussy you are.

So yeah, I just got winterized. The thing is, the winter commute to work may be better than summer since I don't have a shower there at where I work and stuff. Besides, it's too cold to golf.