Friday, February 10, 2006

Okay, so, like, I'm a high school teach-er and, like, there's so much dra-MA!

I do teach high school and I choose to, so my being constatnly hip-deep in drama is not really remarkable nor, really all that undeserved. It doesn't fail to astonish me, however, the brand and amount of said personal thespianism some of these kids routinely buy themselves into. Today you could color me three shades and four values of astoished.

Our kids in most cases, have literally nothing to want in life, except maybe, more. More of whatever they think they want. With cell phones and iPods and all manner of Labels and Names running around you'd honestly believe we were filled with some of the luckiest kids on earth.

There is something on the air, though. There is a ripple in the current. The surface is churning. There is blood in the water.

There are several issues that have led us to these dark and dangerous passages and all the captains of the troubelsome ships have nothing but rough seas ahead. I say this not as just a high school teacher, but as a former high school student, a parent, a community member, a person who relishes his right to dissent in the proper manner, a political person, a person who values independence and who values independent thought, but most importantly a thinking person.

So, drama. The whole blood in the water thing? Dress Code. At the heart: perceived unfair enforcement of the dress code. But when it gets filtered through several hundred nearly post-pubescent brains and routed through the same number of mouthes it comes down to low-cut tops, high cut skirts and holes in jeans. Whether anyone is actually worried about fairness its hard to know.

So leaving a lot of the actual drama out, here's my point:
Get over it! It's dress code. What's the flipside, the alternative? Uniforms.

When I was a freshman I fought what I fought was a heroic battle against the inequites of dress code facism by constantly pushing buttons and boundaries, with rips and tears and images and words. I got some detnetions, some warnings, nothing big, because I didn't, not because I didn't deserve it but because I didn't push past the big lines. But I leanred a couple big lessons.

One: Everybody has a dress code somewhere in life and the wrong way to affect a change is to fit into a stereotype. Be yourself but don't sell yourself into a mold. Be what you think is cool, not who you think is cool. Being different doesn't mean not being smart or not being involved. The thing high school kids hate to hear ( I know I did as a kid) is that the most effective change is always affected from the inside. You can't help your situation expelled or suspended or by spending time in ISS.

Two: Spectacle always overshadows message. If you truly have an important message, follow the channels, follow the right paths, don't let your actions overshadow your words. I know you hear about a words and actions and what equals what, but let's be clear: to make a point you need your point to be heard. You don't want it to be lost among all the rules you've broken or people you've gotten to break rules. Drama is just that. Truly, it's BS, and when you get caught up in it, whether you mean good or ill, you still end up with crap on your shoe and the stink of it follows you around. Think about what it is you truly have to worry about and does it stack up to the big things? Do you have to worry about gangs, drugs, fights in the hall, being fondled in an overcrowded hallway? If any answer is no then what is the point in showing your belly or sagging your pants to your knees?

Three: It's four years! I've been out of school for 12 (that's three times longer than I was there and life hasn't stopped) now, which, I guess if you listen to popular thought, puts me into the untrustable catagory. But it also puts me into the cateogry of the hard-won perspective. I haven't always had the points of view I do now: I no longer believe in absolutes, I believe in being on the inside to make changes, I no longer think it's my goal to shock people to get them to notice me, love motivates all I do, clothing is still a part of me, but not my identity, blah, blah, blah till your bored and teary. But the point, I trusted people that were older and who I deemed wiser. Not everyone, but find someone you admire, and LISTEN to them. Let them lead you sometimes. Learn to trust. REMEMBER: it's four years and then life starts. Hopefully, a long and happy and satisfying one in which you outlive all your teachers, find joy and simple pleasures and revel in the warmth of friends and family and loved ones.

Leave the drama for the O.C.

matisyahu - live at stubbs
wilco - summerteeth
velvet underground and nico - gold
belle and sebastion - dear catastrophe waitress
postal service - give up
(on random)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

hurts like a dirty word

White hot head pain today as the smart tooth removal recovery goes into new places of owie. First, it was tight jaw muscle owie. Then, it went into radiating nerve heat owie. Finally, and still recovering from it, was the white hot sinus needle knife, twisting owie. Which, I admit, brought a few tears at it's worst. Hurts, man. Hurts.

Vicadin, sleep, rest, ibuprofen and green tea and water later, not so bad. Still eating foods I can swallow with little chewing.

Bright spot:
Laura Viers - "Galaxies" When I listen to this song it is afternoon, summer, hot and I'm on my bike and ten. I'm home and barefoot and tying towels for capes. I'm hiding from the heat at the babysitters and 80's radio is playing sunshine pop. I'm 31 and a dad and thinking about how transcendent moments can be and press repeat.

tilt - one day
doves - snowden

Friday, February 03, 2006

the beard hides the majority of the swelling and so the piratey look is slightly demystified. typing one-handed, holding cranky six week old, tlls me i should be focusing on him.

"or else" kevin huizgena

belle & sebastion - dear catastrophe waitress

Thursday, February 02, 2006

little bits of genius

I look a little like Popeye. Recovering from smart tooth removal. Being, as I have been reminded by nurses "at an advanced age for this procedure", 31, I am waiting for the peek of swelling to take effect. Can't bite down on much, still alittle groggy, so I recuperate with the DVD DIG!, some Neil Gaiman reading and teh tender care of my wife, who despite our 6 week old's needs and cranky, trying 2 1/2 year old and plumbing drama, dotes upon me and keeps resting.

Watching DIG!, my wife and I wonder about the nature of art and creation and genius. Is it better to create and destroy? To belive in the notion that with every creation comes destruction? To put the art above humantiy and love and bonds of friendship, setting yourself up as the mad genius or is it acceptable to create without the hurt? Can we toil at two lives? The one where we have families and fulfilling lives outside of art? I think the mad genius can find a way to do both, creating work that is respectable and still be respected.

We all find ways of getting through, me, I need a llittle of it all: my art, my wife, my kids, my family, my house, my work, my cooking, my reading, all the little bits that keep me me.

Now for some fine pea soup, as I can inly open my jaws so much...

DIG! dvd
squaks and coos from The Nige