Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Teacher Begins His Journey

The Medford school district was so hard up for teachers that Howard Desseray's convicted-felon status in no way hurt his ranking among the 14 applicants, most of whom had no college degree, let alone a teaching certificate, and wouldn't know a pedagogue from a pedant.

In fact, during his interview he openly recounted some of the highlights of his various incarcerations in the state pen, those accounts only serving to impress the school's principal, Zephaniah Nahum. 

(The Medford district was so antiquated and micromanaged that teachers themselves were not allowed to interview their future colleagues, even if they -- the future colleagues -- had done time.)

"We respect the dignity of all our candidates regardless of their little lapses in judgment," Nahum told him. "Also, your time in prison will make it easier for you to acclimate to our architecture, our students, our food and our soul-crushingly rigid schedule. Now tell me, Mr. Desseray, how are you with kids? I mean, like 4- and 5-year olds?"
Howard, courtesy Jade Deatherage

"As an abductor, I've had plenty of experience with them. They seem inclined to trust me, and I try not to betray that trust. I always abduct them in a way they'll recall fondly, if their parents promptly deliver the required ransom, of course.

"And speaking of parents," added Howard as he pulled a manila folder from his book bag with '17486490021' printed neatly on the top, "here are a dozen letters of recommendation from parents, enumerating the many times I've 'gone the extra mile' while acting in loco parentis cum abductus."

The principal and former football coach removed an imaginary pipe from his mouth and said, "That's good enough for me, Mr. Desseray! Monday morning, 6:30 sharp! Welcome to the team -- more than a team, really. We think of ourselves as family here, at least the administrators do, but whatever, see ya Monday. Oh, and they call me Mr. Z." 

And so the morning of Howard's first day as a teacher came to pass. Will he finally leave his criminal life behind and help America's youth mature into thinking human beings?

* * * *

It was Medford's First Day Welcome Back Breakfast and Professional Development In-Service, and the 2017 Golden State Warriors seemed to be running their patented fast break through Howard's digestive system.

He was standing in line with people he had never met, all of them wearing the obligatory orange shirts, all trying to squeeze out some small talk as they inched tortoise-like toward the Chipotle breakfast buffet funded by a group of local realtors (or "realators," as they called themselves), all of whom had once been teachers, but whose dream of kindling the intellectual flame of this Great Nation's young had dissipated as soon as they realized the pay would doom them to a life of poverty.

Breakfast is on the"realators"!

(The "Head Mama" of the realators evoked a nervous chuckle from the teachers when, in the spirit of jocularity, she assured them that "there's no reason to worry about norovirus so soon after the recent Chipotle outbreak. You know what they say: The safest time to fly is the day after an airliner plunges nose-first into the icy waters of Kaffekluben Lake! Heh, heh.")

Anxiety -- unrelated to norovirus -- tightened Howard's esophagus as he pecked away at the guacamole atop his mountainous burrito bowl. 

Luckily, speaking was unnecessary as he sat at a table populated by younger teachers, all of whom, making no more noise than a mouse pissing on a cotton ball, texted feverishly, their smartphones stationed neatly next to their bowls. 

While his youthful colleagues munched and tapped, Howard reflected on the encouraging words of his likely fiance, past abductee, and future ex-wife Tally Dolcet, a devotee of art and welding: "If you're going to give up your calling as an abductor, you must do all in your power to become the best teacher you can be, given your felonious gene pool. Hang on to every word at the Opening Day meeting. Surely, those eloquent pellets of language will be golden gems of wisdom, keys to the bolted doors of young minds, an alchemical lubricant facilitating the passage and transmutation of knowledge from teaching to learning."

God bless Tally. He could picture her now, taking a break from welding the door back on their shed after an ill-tempered abductee had kicked it off, sitting on their new liver-colored sofa, watching her beloved Steve Harvey. Oh, how that woman loved Harvey's teeth!

After the teachers posed for their yearbook and ID photos (Howard embarrassed himself by instinctively turning sideways for a profile shot), the Opening Day meeting, at long last, got underway in earnest with "a few words" from Mr. Z.

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