Back when I was in school, we had an expression that sort of rolled all together into one word, the expressions “I told you so,” “Ha ha,” (as in Nelson Muntz), “what goes around comes around,” and teaching someone a lesson (in the street sense, not the school sense). We called it, Teach!
“Man, that was a teach when Mr. Jones asked for my hall pass…and I had it. He sooo wanted to bust me, but I was ready.”
Or more currently, “It’s quite a teach when those house flippers who thought they could make an easy buck in the crazy real estate market with someone else’s money get burned.”
Or, “I did some teaching on the golf course yesterday.” (Actually I don’t golf.)
Or when you’re having an argument and you’re proven correct by outside evidence or a third party. Teach! We also used to add a little flourish by curving the index finger into a hook, and twisting the wrist as we said it. Tayeeech!
Today they used the word schooled, but it just isn’t quite so versatile and all-in-one, in my humble opinion.
Anyway, yesterday I did some teaching to a police officer. (Yes, it’s been quite a year for law enforcement and me.)
I was at the train station, which is one of the stops on my daily skate around town. The train station has a refrigerated drinking fountain. Mmmm. Cold water. I had just had my refreshing cold beverage, and I was idly standing around checking out the Amtrak train that was about leave, when I noticed how dusty the windows on the dining cars were. Someone had already scrawled a smiley face.
For me, a dusty window on a car, truck, van or train is a siren song, calling me to doodle on it. To get the tips of my first two fingers black with grime. To doodle one of the doodles I have been doodling since I could doodle. There is no way for me to resist doodling on a dusty window. So…
I would have a pic for you of the magnificent art I created from the dust. But before I could get out my Palm and switch it from MP3 player to camera, the cop pulled up. I had seen him slowly cruising by as I drew, but didn’t think anything of it. But all of a sudden, he’s done a quick loop around the parking lot, pulling up to the sidewalk, rolling down the passenger side window, and looking crabby. So I didn’t get the pic. Here is a recreation, using Microsoft Paint and my mouse.
“Is that your train?” Classic opener.
“Is there a problem?” Classic response.
Then we get to the old, “What if I came up to your house and started writing on your windows like that?”
“That would be trespassing. I wouldn’t do that. But if you wrote in the dust on the back window of my car on the street, I wouldn’t have a problem at all. As long as you didn’t write any profanity. (I think I gave examples.)
“Well technically it’s a house, because you can sleep in it.”
OMG. I almost busted a gut holding in the guffaw for that line.
The next part of the exchange is a bit blurry (I was sorta in shock), but then he gets to this line,
“What kind of person are you? Did you even finish high school? How far did you get?”
“I finished high school. And college too.”
“You’re kiddin’ me. You got a job?”
By now, we’ve been at this at least five minutes, and there’s a bus waiting to get around him in the narrow part of the lot where he’s decided to try to school me.
“Yes. I’ve had the same job at the same place for 16 years.”
“I can’t believe that. What do you do?”
“I teach school.”
“You’re kiddin’ me. Where?”
I tell him, and he can’t believe it. I wish I’d remembered to tell him that one of his fellow officers on the force was in my class 16 years ago. “What do you teach?”
“English. Sixteen years at my current school, 20 over all.”
He just can’t wrap his mind around it. He gives me the old, “what if your kids saw you, and wanted to do the same thing?”
“As long as they’re not writing profanity or suchlike, I’ve already told you, I wouldn’t have a problem.”
Here’s where we get to the teach.
“Well, I can’t believe that you would perceive yourself in such way…set such an example, perceive such an image for yourself…”
“Perceiving is what you do as the observer. I might be projecting an image, but you would be the one perceiving it.”
“No, it works both ways.”
“No, actually it doesn’t. No disrespect, but perceiving is what you’re doing as the observer. Just making sure we’re all clear on the language. It’s my job.”
After a short harrumph-like noise that I couldn’t make out, his tone suddenly changed. He became, well the only word I can come up with right now is, fatherly. He wanted to give me advice on my image that I project. I guess with that teach, I had proven to him that I was who I said I was.
He finally admitted he couldn’t really cite me for the doodle.
But he was full of other classic lines. More on this soon, but this post has run too long, and I have to get up early tomorrow.