The Story of the Name

Jul 13 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

While we were setting up this blog, the guy at our hosting service wouldn’t even say its name. He kept referring to it as, “Uh, your new site.” I think the only fun thing about working at a hosting service would be the permission to say some of those crazy domain names out loud. But since it’s a name someone called my personal self once, I own it. It’s mine. I claim ownership of my retarded crackerhood because it’s true.

About five years ago I was on my second student teaching assignment. The first one had been 17 weeks in Hayward, west of 880. I thought it was a ghetto. I was wrong. Retarded crackers think they work in the ghetto, but if you really work in the ghetto you’re too busy dealing with the ghetto shit to actually stop and think, “Hey, look at me! I work in a ghetto!”

My second student teaching assignment was in Emeryville, which is a little city between Oakland and Berkeley. It’s not a ghetto either. It was originally a giant tax shelter for the railroad. Now it’s where Pixar’s quarter-billion dollar campus is. It’s also where LeapFrog and Peet’s Coffee is headquartered, and the pharmaceutical giant Chiron has a big campus there too.

Nobody who worked at Pixar or Chiron or Peet’s or LeapFrog sent their kids to public school in Emeryville.

I was in a portable classroom with my master teacher and thirty 5th graders. About a week into the school year, we suddenly became a 4/5 combination class, because the 4th grade was over-enrolled. My master teacher, who had seen just about everything and looped back and forth between 4th and 5th grade anyway, rolled with it. But it made me a little frantic.

There was this kid named Clarence, who never smiled. He had the Mr. T scowl down. He was also one of those kids who drew while he listened. (Much later I read some research about fidgeting and doodling. Some people, kids and adults, listen better if they are allowed to move some muscles while they listen. But I didn’t know that then, because I was new.) I decided, on that hot September day, to get on him about the doodling. So I got next to him and whispered in his ear, “Pay attention.”

Clarence rolled his eyes and set down his pencil. But since he was a doodler, he was back at it within a few seconds. So I whispered in his other ear. This time he kept the pencil in his hand and stage-whispered, “I AM.”

Brief staring contest.

I returned to the back of the classroom, but by now neither of us were paying attention to the lesson. I was waiting for him to start doodling again, and he was waiting for me to get up in his grill again. The third time I didn’t even say anything, he just shouted at me “I WAS LISTENING, YOU RETARDED CRACKER!”

They have a lot of student teachers come through that elementary school. It’s possible I was his ninth or tenth student teacher. He was done with them, and he spoke the truth.

Unfortunately the truth didn’t set anyone free that day. The master teacher suspended him immediately. He burst into tears and protested the injustice. It sucked. I fell for the drama and felt terrible. My master teacher lost ten minutes of instruction dealing with it and I made a kid permanently hate me, or so I thought. Retarded cracker indeed.

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