There are days when I open my newspaper and wonder why any journalist would ever want to work anywhere other than Detroit. The humor in this sentence is so dry it only needs to be watered every 4,000 years:
But, as is often the case with Detroit school board meetings, the evening did not go smoothly.
I’ll say. The meeting wouldn’t have been a pleasant one anywhere; declining enrollment and the continuing train wreck of student performance dictate that many, many schools must close for good over the summer — a jaw-dropping 34. As you might imagine, this plan is not popular. As you might not imagine, the meeting where the closings were finally approved produced mayhem:
Audience members disrupted the meeting by humming in unison and shouting. One person threw grapes at the board, striking Vice President Joyce Hayes-Giles.
Grapes. Humming. Shouting. They had a raucous school board meeting in Fort Wayne a couple weeks ago, and the superintendent threatened to call security because some people spoke out of turn. I wonder what she’d do if she were hit in the forehead with a grape.
Of course, this is not a funny story at all. The sad encapsulation of woe:
Unless schools are leased or sold, by fall the city will have about 64 empty public schools and 11 empty Catholic schools. The closures are a result of declining birth rates, the city’s population decline and the loss of students to charter and nearby suburban schools, which receive the state funds for each student they lure away.
As I read somewhere (I think it was a Jim Harrison novel), if you think a factory smokestack belching fire is ugly, just wait until it isn’t.
Again with the dolorous opening salvo. Not my usual style. But then, if you’d awakened this morning to blowing snow, droopy daffodils and temperatures in the low 30s, you’d be feeling pretty damn bitchy this morning, too. Today’s projected high: 38 degrees. A 38-degree day in January is a gift. A 38-degree day in April is a smack in the face. Today I have to plan my Easter dinner. Checking forecast…oh hooray, it’s predicted to be 39 degrees on Easter Sunday. A beef stew sort of forecast, but no, we’ll have ham and potatoes and deviled eggs and all the rest of it. But I don’t care what anybody says, no pastel linens for me. I’m wearing a black wool sweater, and screw you if you don’t like it.
Busy day for me, a truly multimedia one. I need to make significant progress in projects for the web, print and — yes, really — a book. The latter is only a possibility — a bid, to be precise. But every time I think I’m wasting my time at this freelancing stuff, I look back over the last year and note two things:
1) I made more money last year than I did my last full year in the newspaper business; and
2) Versatile is now my middle name. In fact, I think I’ll change it right now.
Go be my little Easter bunny in the comments. I’m going to put flannel sheets on the bed one last time.