Around The Water Cooler

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It’s been quite some time since I last posted on The Frontal Lobe, which isn’t surprising.  Given my initial desire to write a blog and my usual excellent follow-through, I’m surprised I even know the log-in information for my WordPress account.  Thank goodness for, “do you want Google to remember your password.”

This is certainly not to say that I haven’t actually written anything, I’ve written quite a few things, all of them lousy and uninspired.  I wrote a mock interview with a narcissistic blog writer who was full of himself, I’m not sure what part of my ego that catered to, but in the end it was trash, and definitely deserved a sarcastic mocking hashtag most likely created by sister—who upon reading that sentence will now look to create a sarcastic mocking hashtag for this post.  Maybe I just hate the word blog so much that I am repelled from creating content.

Psst.  I have a secret!  I know exactly what keeps me from writing exactly what I want to write.  It’s my profession.  You see, I am a teacher. Image

When you work in a cubicle for a monolithic, massive, chain, grocery, coffee, fast-food, company, you have every right and are even expected to bitch.  If you don’t bitch, you’re considered a do-gooder that is probably trying to brown-nose your way to some position where you can crap on other people.  However, in education you are not allowed to utter the negative feelings you have about your job.  If you do, people think you must be in the wrong line of work, and they’ll look to fire you.

Breaking news, teachers don’t always like their jobs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good at them.   Doctors don’t wake up everyday and say, holy crap I love seeing the same sick fucking people every week, guess what you sick fucks, try and take better care of yourself, maybe cut down on the cigarettes and cheese curds and take the fucking stairs for a change.  Nobody goes and tells the doctors that they’re in the wrong profession.  Unless they say that to your face.

Teachers are human beings.  Just because we take in your precious gems each and every day doesn’t mean that we are not inclined to the occasional I-hate-my-jobitis or your kid is a actually a C student rant.  Oh, I hear all of the teacher-haters out there saying, “but you get summers off.”  And, now I’ve said too much – the golden calf is out of the box – summers off!!! 

You see, even this minimal amount of dissatisfaction is frowned upon.  We have the same water coolers, we have the same slow talkers, skittish bathroom users, and the funny guy who wears suspenders.  We have bosses and systems that make less sense than you can imagine and the redundancy of our line of work is staggeringly epic.  Let’s be honest, we’re an institution that is modeled on Government with a capital G.  We are the kings of acronyms.  Our TPS report have TPS reports and at least 2 memos and 1 meeting in order to accurately disseminate the information.  The codes and rules of governance are ripe for blogging about, but…

We’re teachers.  We love our jobs.  Each and every day is sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops; we sing cumbaya during circle time, (actually we don’t do that song because it mentions “lord” and that’s a no-no in our business,) and we go home refreshed to live our extravagant lives.  Obviously, we make plans to visit Tahiti and save whales in Alaska, because as teachers we make so much money we can actually use it to start our wallets on fire.Image

“But you get summers off.”  If a teacher gets summers off then it’s because they have another bread winner in the house that brings home a real salary, or have been doing it so long, that when they started the copy room had a typesetter and printing press.  The other 90% of us do something else, we do summer school, we tutor, we work at retail jobs – which are amazing places to work at if you want to bitch – we wait tables and bartend; but trust me, it’s a glamorous life that none of us ever ever ever bitch about.

Note:  To any future employers considering me for a future position, please view this is an example of my ability to write, not my attitude towards my job.  (Shhhhh, they’re listening.)

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10 WAYS TO SPEND YOUR NEXT POLAR VORTEX

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Until this year nobody except Meteorological nerds knew what a polar vortex was or how they worked.  Now, everybody knows what a polar vortex is, and it will quickly make the top 10 most hated words/phrases of 2014 (quickly joining such favorite hated words/sayings like hashtaging your hashtag, fiscal cliff, Obamacare, and oldies but goodies like WMDs and Gen X.)  Frankly, I’ve gotten sort of use to it being below zero, and have resigned myself to a forever winter – we haven’t seen a temperature above 32 in the last two weeks, and have an average of about 7 degrees so far in February.  So, as we embark on the frigid waning weeks of February I have compiled a list of 10 fun activities for everyone to tackle during their next polar vortex, vortexes, vortacies? 

10.  Flip your mattress!  According to mattress.com, which is apparently a real thing for all things mattress related, “New mattresses should be rotated, on average, every 3 months. But use your best judgment and if you feel a bit of a sag or can see one with the naked eye, it might be best to rotate your mattress more often. And make sure you don’t forget your foundation! Your nightly slumber can weigh heavily on a box spring as well, so rotate your box spring every 6 months, but be sure to never, EVER flip it.”  There’s nothing like wrestling with a 50lb mattress so old that it bends in half like soft shell taco.  What’s even better is you can rope others into helping you with this fun an often over looked task.  

9.  Friend and stalk former girlfriend/boyfriend that really pissed you off in the past on Facebook.  Comment on everything they’ve ever posted, and use lol even (or especially) where inappropriate.   As an added bonus friend their current partner/spouse and hope they blindly accept the friend request – repeat annoying behavior.  Unfriend once polar vortex has concluded.

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8.  Download and play Flappy Bird.  The addiction that is Flappy Bird will have you tossing your smart phone across room rather quickly.  Flappy Bird is about the most basic game in the market place and requires you only be able to rhythmically tap the screen to make a little bird flap its wings and navigate obstacles.  Heather Kelly of CNN writes, “The game’s fluttering rise to the top has been a viral mystery. Its addictiveness and absurd level of difficulty have driven many to the brink of madness and spawned a number of online rants and hysterical reviews.”  Give it a go, and don’t forget to pen a suicide note before hand.  

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7.    Begin reading War and Peace, the proverbial greatest (and longest fucking) book ever written.  Many have tried, yours included, and failed – I’m certain I purposefully left it one apartment or another during some move while living in closets and coatrooms in Chicago.  I tried reading that book when I was in my 20’s living the Hemingwayian writer’s lifestyle, with very little writing and a whole bunch of drinking.  It was very seedy, often dirty, and totally unproductive – at least that’s what the 40 year old me tells myself.  Reading the 1400+ page book isn’t necessarily a literary accomplishment, but you certainly do earn some bragging rights in your book club. 

6.  Watch The Shining, because nothing says I love being trapped inside my house like Jack Nicholson.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…

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5.  Figure out what Twitter is for.  This is primarily for those over 35 who have Twitter accounts, but are uncertain of just why the hell they only have 140 characters to say something.  These people are also addicted to Facebook, and frequently debase themselves for the amount of time they spend clicking like and not actually reading the article. #wtfistwitter

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4.  Watch reruns of Bay Watch, because who doesn’t love David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson running around on the beach saving lives.  I’m pretty sure the show got a little out of hand when they got abducted by aliens – but that was just Tommy Lee, and that’s a different video anyway.  This epic show certainly didn’t inspire me to run off to California and become a life guard, but knowing that Hasselhof dies an epic death on stage in Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical makes a body happy.

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3.  MINECRAFT – while not personally addicted to this video game, if my daughter is any indication it must possess an addictive drug that makes it nearly impossible to stop playing, watching YouTube videos about, and talking incessantly.  I can tell you there about 1000 different mods, and a entire dictionary to understand exactly what the hell a mod is and the rest of the language you have to speak in order to play this game.

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2.  Read Apple’s Eula – or better yet, let Richard Dreyfus read it for you!  Yes, Academy Award winner Mr. Holland lent his baritones to this epic reading.  Pay close attention to the “Effective Until” recording – priceless.

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1.  Make list of things to do during a polar vortex that you will never actually do, but believe are just witty enough to share with the rest of the world or the 17 people that casually follow your blog.

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I’m a lazy ass

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A Recap of The Things I didn’t do this week…

First and foremost, let’s get this straight!  I did not cure cancer this week – not that I had any expectation of doing so nor do I possess the mental acuity to achieve such profundity.  Moving on, although perhaps in no better of a direction, I did not find Jimmy Hoffa or Ambrose Bierce – again, not specifically on my radar, but I keep an eye open (even if my wife frequently questions my peripheral vision as she tries to keep me from sticking my foot in my mouth.)  Other things that were seemingly out of my grasp this week include: saving the starving children (anywhere,) starting a homeless shelter (they’re often very smelly,) visiting the sick and infirmed in hospitals (again smelly, and the last thing I need is another cold,) starting a dot com (it’s not the 90’s anymore,) seeing 12 years a Slave (which is probably the most grievous thing on my list.)  I didn’t send a rover to Mars or Pluto.  I didn’t make Jedi – something I really believe I was meant to be.  I didn’t earn my black belt, but then again I don’t practice any martial arts.  I did not walk on water or turn water in to wine or serve myself as food, which totally puts to rest the idea of me being the reincarnation of Jesus to bed.  I did not, despite the constant rumors, stabilize a wormhole.  I suppose I could have set my sights on something more attainable and tried harder to keep up with the dishes or done the laundry.  I could have emptied the garbage before it was overflowing on to the floor.  My shoes are constantly gathering in mountains at the base of the couch, and there really is only so many times you can shake-clean and cologne-fresh your underwear.  Listen, I was busy. 

There are just so many things that pop up over the course of a day, like waking up, and going to a job.  Frankly, it’s astonishing I did anything this week!  I mean, when that alarm goes off in the morning and I have sit up to get out of bed, that is one hell of an accomplishment, and don’t get me started on taking a shower or brushing my teeth; I might as well go back to bed after all that activity; but I persevere.

The list of all of the things that I didn’t do is quite long, and I’m feeling rather down on myself.  There are people out there winning Nobel prizes, going for Olympic gold, and teaching bears to ride bikes.  There are kids out there apparently digging wells and bringing clean water to 3rd world cultures, overachievers.  Meanwhile, I’m here typing on this keyboard, ignoring the pile of dog crap petrifying in the corner of the room just trying to avoid and dodge the soccer ball, dinosaurs, Hot Wheels cars strewn about the unvacuumed carpet – another thing I didn’t do this week.

Happy Tuesday and The End of The Two Zero One Three

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Happy Helluva Tuesday to ya’all – my minions, my peeps, my friends, my loved ones… They coffee is hot, the day is young, and my daughter is asleep on the chair next me, and no this is not unusual.  She loves to come down early and fall back asleep, especially if I am down here, and she can’t break out a few early morning Oreos (which is frowned upon.)  Anywho, it’s the last day of 2013, and I’m fairly certain that I have zero idea of where the hell this year went.  For all of my trying to proclaim the beauty of being in the moment, I have no doubt that this past year was on fast forward (which really isn’t a thing anymore seeing as we skip or go to a chapter;) but I digress.  I don’t know what 2013 was like for you, but for me it was a gem, a diamond?  It wasn’t a catharsis or anything, however, I did find new and old passion in many different areas of my life.  I’ve gone from Spin attendee to Spin instructor (who is taking his classes back in the new year!)  I’ve written more in 2013 than I have in the past 10 years combined.  I’ve realized that while I won’t be an astronaut, I can still accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  I might be 40, but I have no idea what that means, and I’m not sure it matters, and it definitely won’t dictate what I will or won’t do.  So what does 2014 hold?  I don’t know.  However, this year is the year of the book; I’ve always been encouraged to write one, but I feel the story is ready to bud.  I want to thank each of you who read me everyday for reminding me of just how important writing is to my life.  2014 will have highs, it will have lows, and it will be beautiful as long as I remember the most important lessons: all I have to work with is in today, happiness is my choice, resentments are poison, money will come and go, and to live kindly and compassionately regardless of external conditions, oh yea, and donuts are wicked food items sent by Satan to make me fat.  We kick this last day of 2013 off with a winter snow storm, which may or may not amount to much, but be careful out there tonight – seriously, don’t drink and drive, it’s stupid, costly, and deadly.  Well, that’s all from this side of the frontal lobe, don’t forget to read my other posts; and as always, be kind to each other, we’re all we’ve got.

Slippers???

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I have this list of topics I somehow think I should write about; the list has your standard fare: politics, education, world events, Hugh Jackman…blah, blah, blah, and of course slippers.  Hun?  What the hell was I thinking when I wrote slippers on this list?  Don’t get .  me wrong, I’ve got some serious opinions about slippers, and just seeing it on the list makes me need to write about it.  The history of slippers is not interesting or widely written about from what I can ascertain in my 5 minutes of Googling while taking a deuce; it seems, as usual, the Egyptians are the creators of this “footwear.”  However, I digress.

I’ve received numerous pairs of slippers as Christmas gifts; it seems somehow that despite never asking for a pair of these foot covers they are an item my family believes I should wear.  They typically are the last gift opened, and let me practice my “thanks, you shouldn’t have smile.”  My family will inquire several times throughout the year about a rumored pair of slippers someone may or may not have gotten me, but invariably the inquiry was surface level, and not meant to do anything except make me feel a pang of guilt for knowing exactly where said slippers resided and doing nothing about it – sort of like knowing where the dog pooped and not cleaning it up.  After several weeks, a month tops, of occasional use they disappear under the edge of the bed or dresser to eat dust-bunnies and lost socks.

What is most objectionable about the slipper is its lack of integrity, of moral character or its willingness to take a stand on size or discernible shape – I mean really, I can wear either one on my left or right foot – gimme a break, commit already!  Also, they’re lined with an insulation that the attic is jealous of, easily causing nightmarish foot sweats and the need to take them off every 20 minutes.  Typically they look like something made circa Native Americans being the majority; and let’s face it – they’re Sarah Jessica Parker horse face ugly – you look at them a certain way and can justify calling them unique, but they’re not, they’re ugly – let’s call a spade a spade here.  (Read this before you call me racist for using that turn of phrase: http://n.pr/KgjQE3)

I don’t know if this most recent gift will find its way to the green of Spring and tramp across the drive way to get the paper (which I don’t get, but just sounded extremely suburban American to say,) but I’ll be grateful that I have a pair of slippers and make a point of not kicking them under something right away.  The ironic thing about my relationship with slippers is that I almost never take off my shoes when I’m inside; I can’t stand walking around the house in my socks, especially in the winter.  Go figure.