Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cactus Selfies

I have always admired cacti.  They are fierce about their survival, facing the world with a prickly exterior that belies the soft, succulent inside.  Some cacti have names that tell you they mean business, like the needle cactus, or prickly pear cactus, or the dreaded and unfortunately not very rare "You Will Never, Ever Get All Of These Spines Out Of Your Skin For As Long As You Live" cactus.

I love cacti for their very prickliness, their refusal to yield, even an inch, without defending their turf. (My husband says that I am stubborn like that, too.) They may also seem lazy, at first glance.  In some ways cacti aren't very interesting, just standing there. Plain old green plant life, they say, nothing to see here, move along now.   They blend right in with the grass and huisache trees along the side of a road. A person might pass a cactus by every single day for weeks, and never notice.

Until it rains.

Then every cacti dons their finest  colors, fancy blooms bursting out of nowhere into the sky. All of a cacti's energy suddenly flows into creating the most stunning and eye catching blossoms.  It's as if the 'ugly' plant suddenly wins a makeover.

Here we are! Come and see!  Everyone notices the cacti then.  How could you not?  But if you blink, the blooms that were so brilliant in the sun are gone by sunset.  Then it is back into survival mode, hiding their colors away until the next thunderstorm. 

I love that. It's like finding hidden treasure while driving to work.  It puts me in a good mood, every time.  If I can, I stop for a quick photo opp, and save those ethereal blooms for times when I need a little sunshine in my life. 

And I'm sharing them with my readers, just in case one of you needs a little pick me up. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Little Toilet Humor

A comedian named Bill Engvall once told us that stupid people should wear a sign explaining that they suffered from such a malady, just for our convenience. His reasoning was that if they were wearing some indication of their affliction we would not rely on them to help us.  I completely agreed with Mr. Engvall.  It is very difficult to get productive answers from some people, who are not endowed with common sense. We all know this.   

I found this sign in a bathroom, and I had questions.  Questions about why someone might feel a need to flush a toilet in a public place for an extended period of time, for instance. Did they think that holding down the handle for so long would mean that their deposit would move more quickly out of sight?  I wonder what that said someone might do in said public facility when their attempts to dispose of the "evidence" come back to haunt them. Certainly it was not anyone's intent to deliberately flood the restroom, but accidents happen.  Did they immediately run, to avoid getting their shoes wet?  Or did they stand there, shocked beyond thought, while the water quickly swirled out of the bowl and around their feet?   I think that such an event would warrant a trip back home to change shoes, at least.   

I also wonder how the sign makers arrived at the exact conclusion of three seconds.  Did they break out the stop watch?  I would have. Did they stand by with a mop, clipboard, and pencil, encouraging another person to "just hold down that handle for FIVE seconds now, okay? GO!!!" Did they draw straws, or do paper, rock, scissors, to determine who got to clean up after the experiment?  Was a lawyer consulted on the wording of the sign, so as to avoid lawsuits?  How would a lawyer bill for such advice?  I think that he or she should have only billed for three seconds, but I'm sure the American Bar Association would disagree.

The mind boggles, or at least mine does such boggling.  Because you know that somewhere, someone, did cause this particular toilet to overflow by holding down the handle longer than necessary.  Something happened, some squishy event occurred, necessitating the need for this sign. 

Whatever it was, I hope that it was as hilarious as I imagined it was.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Plain Truth About Educators

The rumor has been spread around for hundreds of years, so long now that it has become fact in the minds of current and former students: Teachers do not have a sense of humor. Even Snopes has yet to debunk this particular urban legend. Some stories claim that teachers have their humor beaten out of them by nuns in teacher school, even if said teacher is not Catholic.  Some stories heard around summer campfires tell of surgical removal of the bone of funny, the poor teacher waking up in a bathtub full of ice.

A teachers' sense of humor shines, even at lunch.
The truth is that if teachers didn't have a sense of humor, they would be unable to do their jobs as well as they do. Kids have short attention spans, and the curriculum is at least a year long. Not every child is interested in learning what they need to know, which is ultimately how to problem solve independently when there's no one around to tell you what to do.  Teachers have to be entertaining in some way to garner the attention of up to thirty kids at once. A sense of humor helps with the creativity it takes to reel in even the most attention deficit child for their ten minute limit.

And teachers have to have a sense of humor to put up with parents.  Not the wonderful, supportive parents, who actually appreciate the school's efforts to create successful adults.  Teachers love those kinds of parents.  It's the parents who are not supportive, who send condescending and patronizing emails, or call the school superintendent 435 times a day to complain about anything and everything.  It's that nonexistent sense of humor that gets teachers through those frustrating meetings and phone calls.

Teachers also have to have a sense of humor to deal with the general perception that they do nothing of value, that their jobs are not worthwhile.  Nothing could be further from the truth. NOBODY got to where they are right now without a teacher, not even the Orange Rind in Chief, and everyone needs to remember that every single day.  For every person who thinks that teaching is so simple that an idiot like Dan Patrick could do it, there's a teacher who knows better.  For every Betsy DeWhatever who thinks that teaching is a business that should be privatized or chartered out to fly-by-night organizations to deliver mail-order diplomas, there's a teacher who has to laugh themselves silly, so they won't devolve into tears at the lack of respect and support.  Don't tell me teachers don't have a sense of humor. 

The evidence is clear: Teachers do have a sense of humor. We can put that legend to rest. Not everyone will get their jokes, it is true. The humor is there nonetheless.  Some days it may be a gallows humor.  I'm sure that all the teachers in Texas who are preparing to educate children who may have been uprooted by Harvey are very stressed and sarcastic right now.  And that is okay with me, because even though I have heard the jokes, I know that underneath the sarcasm and flip responses is the determination and the dedication to do whatever it takes to welcome every child, and to educate them, no matter what.

And that is the truth.