04 May 2012
For the Price of a Dollar
I told Liam and some buddies that I would pay them each a dollar if they walked around the block wearing Mexican wrestler masks. They had to promise that they wouldn't act like Mexican wrestlers but instead walk calmly, looking straight ahead, as if they didn't know they were wearing Mexican wrestler masks.
It took some real convincing that this would be funnier than pummeling each other and attempting flying zip kicks but they eventually agreed. I had to explain IRONY; and then the lightbulb went on and they were all in. It was unbelievably hard for them to maintain their composure, their silent "what are you looking at?" demeanor, as they circled the neighborhood. And I watched from an upstairs window, thinking it was worth way more than a dollar. Every annoyed old lady, every confused grown up, every person who pretended they didn't see multiple Mexican wrestlers calmly walking abreast in New Hampshire was worth a dollar.
Why do I make kids do stuff like this? 1) because Dr. Oz says it's important to laugh at least once a day. 2) because children owe us big time and they can't afford rent. 3) because I am a teacher and I feel a responsibility to the children of the world who rely on iCarly for their humor education. And 4) because I am allergic to decorum. New England may not be the best place for someone who is allergic to decorum. It brings out the bad behavior in me.
Because repression is bad for you, people. No matter how many points you earn, you will not be happy. You will be smug - but not happy. But when you find your groove, that perfect level of free to be you and me, it can pave the road to health and happiness. Exhibit A: On the first day of college, my new roommate removed the adhesive strip and stuck a maxi pad on her forehead. Then she turned to me, her new roommate, and said "Is there something on my face?"
1986 version of WTF?........she was so still, and so grim, and then turned to write something at her desk, with the maxi pad still attached to her forehead. She was going to play this gag out until she broke down the wall that exists between two people who have just met.
And when I started to laugh she looked up from her desk and said "What?"
We consummated our new friendship by taking photos of her working at her desk with a maxi pad stuck to her forehead.
Later that day, she tested me by taking a big bite of a blondie brownie and mumbling "Do I have something in my teeth?" while blondie brownie fell out of her mouth and onto the cafeteria table. Never once did she crack a smile, so committed was she to her craft. Right there in the cafeteria, in front of girls in Laura Ashley dresses and boys in Girbaud jeans, and my heart swelled with respect. You go girl. You are woman and I hear you roar. And when will I stop laughing? Never? That sounds great.
So even if three 4 foot Mexican wrestlers wandering the neighborhood is not well-received by my neighbors, I can take pride in knowing that I've given these boys their first taste of the dark side. Hee hee!
And the woman with the maxi pad on her forehead? She is Liam's school emergency contact. The highest form of devotion two heterosexual women can have.