We were sitting in the school lunchroom and a friend and I were having an argument. It wasn’t a serious argument because I don’t do serious arguments. It was more of a friendly debate about something arcane and he made a really superb point and I, stumped, just said, “Oh, fork you.” And we all laughed and went on with our conversation.
And then gradually I became aware of a voice behind me.
“Son, I don’t want to hear any more of that kind of language from you.”
It was Mr. Blankley, my algebra teacher, or, as I preferred to think of him, Human Valium. Mr. Blankley was in a perpetual state of slow motion: he moved slowly, he talked slowly. Algebra was my first class of the day and it was more than I could take as soon as he started talking.
“Studentsss, today we will have a quizzzzz on chapterssss ssssixxxxx and ssssseven.”
The one saving grace is he would use up twenty minutes of class time saying that that but I still couldn’t keep my eyes open, much less focus on getting any work done.
Mr. Blankley was also so clueless he had no idea I was one of his students, although I’d be transferred out shortly afterward because half the kids in his class were below average, half the kids were failing, and half couldn’t even grasp simple fractions, but that’s another story.
“I said ‘fork’” I said, holding one up for him.
He sighed for five minutes then said, “Ssson, I said I don’t want to hear any more of that language.”
Fortunately at that moment the end of lunch bell rang and my friends and I quietly gathered up our things and left, a series of actions which, from Mr. Blankley’s perspective, must have looked like hummingbirds around a feeder.
I’m sharing this story now because tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States—the Canadians do it six weeks earlier—and for many it’s a stressful time. For many it means getting together with family and that can lead to arguments ranging from the pointlessly political to the annoyingly personal. If things get too stressful for you just remember that Thanksgiving is a feast and if you feel like things are getting overheated in the kitchen or out, if somebody says something or insists on doing that one thing that gets under your skin…fork ‘em.
Words to live by!
Thank you–I hope they’ll help you make it through the holiday.
Am in awe of the US thanksgiving holiday and the way people approach it with a mix of hope and dread. Christmas is the closest we get to killing our relatives in the UK.
This is one of my favourite MP sketches.
I understand Boxing Day is also known as “Everybody Go Home Now Day” in the UK. So really we in the US subject ourselves to it twice a year, a month or so apart. Every year it makes more and more sense to me why the Canadians have their Thanksgiving in October, and in the UK you don’t do it at all.
Although interestingly I have read that some American expats describe it to people in their guest country as a “harvest festival”, and those seem to be pretty universal.
Chrissssss, I want to hear more of this kind of language from you. Happy Thanksgiving!
Annnn, I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving and I can promisssse you’ll hear more of that language.
While we don’t have Thanksgiving here in Oz it can easily apply to Christmas… or every single bloody day lately when the kids pick fights with me – it’s the end of the school year and they are very tired, grumpy and altogether feral. Thank goodness for school holidays! Though by the end of January of course I’ll be praying for school to start again… 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
Down there in Oz you also have your seasons reversed so Christmas comes in the middle of summer, which I always thought would be better. And it tickles me that too much school turns your children feral, but I guess it’s from being in packs of their own kind for so long that turns them that way. They need a break to be under your civilizing influence.