The boy and I are hanging out tonight.
I hum the first bit of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”. He perks up, sings along: “I used to ruuuuuule the world.”
I give him the cocked eyebrow.
“My music teacher played it.”
Cool. I have no idea what he was trying to teach a bunch of kindergarten kids with a Coldplay song about a paranoid monarch, but it just seems cool.
That kind of shit didn’t fly when I was a kid.
When I was in junior high, a new teacher started at our school. He was from The City, and he didn’t fit in. The only acceptable clothes for a man to wear in my small town were Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots, maybe a pair of running shoes, but they better be manly running shoes. Teachers were given some grace – after all, teaching was kind of “fruity”, so no one expected much more, clothing wise. But this new guy, Mr. S, was a whole different case.
He wore sweaters, layers of sweaters. Loafers. Wool trench coats. And, for the love of mike, an honest to goodness beret.
In the early 90’s, the Alberta government got ambitious but lazy, and instituted a course called CALM (Career and Life Management). Unfortunately, they forgot to include a curriculum.
So Mr. S. was left with a course that no one knew how to administer, a room full of skeptical tenth graders, and his kicky beret.
He decides to start off with a personality test. In retrospect, it was a good soft opener. The problem was in the execution. He hands out the photocopied sheets. We scan the questions. And one particularly bright and observant student (ahem) spots the name of the publication the test came from.
“Mr. S! You got this from PENTHOUSE! Dude…”
Mr. S. sprints through the aisles, wildly grabbing at the sheets. But the damage was done, the powers-that-were heard about the incident, and Mr. S. was thereby reprimanded. (Did I mention that the PTA was comprised of right wing Evangelicals?)
But the last straw for poor Mr. S. was courtesy of Bon Jovi.
Mr. S. was trying to teach some “life” lesson (and it must be remembered, dude was working without a curriculum), and decided that in order to relate to the kids, he’d use rock music. The Evangelical bunch, predictably, got their collective panties in a wad. But in a show of uncharacteristic open-mindedness, the principal allowed it. Mr. S was on a roll, when we started to analyze the lyrics to “Bad Medicine”.
There’s a line that goes, “You’re an all-night generator wrapped in stockings and a dress.”
Fifty nine lines in that song, and that’s the one he picks.
And the question he asks, on the take-home sheet is, “What type of person might an ‘all-night generator’ be?”
The answers ranged from “a great big SLUT!” to “Are you for real?” to “Your wife, ass-face!”. The reaction from the Evangelical set? Not good.
Mr. S. didn’t last much longer. He left, maybe of his own volition, maybe not, a year later.