The emotion that most binds us, one to the other, is empathy. I’m never more empathetic than when buying school supplies and recalling the mix of excitement and dread that accompanies every new school year. I remember my own little flip-outs in particular, how the supply sheet would say “scissors” and I would insist on new scissors.
“Last year’s scissors are fine,” my dad would say.
“No they’re not! The new scissors are supposed to have a sharp point, and those are rounded! Ahhhh!”
My dad wasn’t the empathetic sort and insisted on the old scissors, and he was right, no one cared. The progression from round- to sharp-pointed scissors seemed like a huge step to me; I still remember when we gave up wide-ruled notebook paper for the narrow variety — fourth grade — and when fat pencils were exchanged for standard ones. Wouldn’t you flip out if your dad was trying to make you carry last year’s scissors to school?
Middle school is, um, in the middle, and so are the school supplies — the fancy calculator and the colored markers. Kate’s nervous and so are her non-lying friends. I told her that if anyone hip-checks her into a locker she has my permission to hip-check back, but I’m told the school keeps sixth-graders more or less segregated from the rest of the student body, which combined with the so-called freshman academy movement, sort of raises the question: Why have these arbitrary divisions in the first place? Let’s go back to the parochial model — K-8, 9-12. And uniforms!
Anyway, school supplies. Three-ring binders, highlighters, marking pens, notebooks. Plus a new backpack with pink hearts and skulls-and-crossbones. ‘Cause that’s how my little girl rolls. My mom used to get excited in hardware stores, but for me, it’s Staples. Every ream of paper is an unwritten book.
Quick bloggage today, because apparently I have to spend the rest of the weekend shopping, too:
In the local papers, the story of what happens when prosecutors run amok. A supremely odd-looking former kindergarten teacher is finally free of charges he sexually assaulted two children at the school where he worked. The case stunk from the start, beginning with the alleged facts — that this teacher dragged two boys, ages 4 and 5, from a supervised lunch line at the school and into a classroom, where he forced them to perform oral sex, one after another, before returning them to the lunchroom.
Never mind that a newspaper’s investigation showed the classroom where all this supposedly happened was occupied at the time, and that this was something the official investigation somehow overlooked. Never mind that a doctor found no signs of abuse on either boy. Never mind that the prosecutor, a showboater of the first order, was giving interviews calling the teacher “a freak” and “a pedophile,” and revealing such details as this: That certain materials gathered at the teacher’s house, including the Harry Potter books and a video of “The Lion King,” constituted “non-erotic pornography,” and should be admitted as evidence of his guilt. (I don’t know what non-erotic pornography is, but I suspect it’s sort of like that non-wet water you can buy now.)
The tables are turned now: The prosecutor is up on ethics charges and the teacher is free, although at least one of the supposed victims’ mothers is hanging tough. You have to wonder what sort of prize she is, too.
I’ve known a few sexual-abuse victims in my life. They tell a variety of stories with common elements, mostly alcohol or drugs but always this: Someone they know. A parent or step-parent or mom’s boyfriend or Dad’s army buddy who’s sleeping on the couch for a few weeks until he gets his life back together. That’s not to say the smash-and-grab pedophile doesn’t exist; of course they do. But not many do it in their own workplace, in front of witnesses, two kids at a time and then go on about their business as if nothing ever happened. Just sayin’.
From the DetNews, a fire story with one of the best pieces of fire art, evahr:
Halp halp I iz being taken hoztej. And mah hare is a mesz.