Of Slugs V

blog post
Note to readers: I’ve been experimenting with foot notes. To read them, simply click on the footnote number.
Hit, AKA slug, as evidenced in my last two junior high stories in my “Of Slugs” series within this series1classroom and school stuff.
As hinted to by the title, this and the next story involves a slug, but from girls. Oohhh yes, girls can pack a wallop too. And before you start thinking I taught in a violent school, three slugs of the hit kind in three different schools during a 35-year span in a multitude of school settings shouldn’t be too concerning. 2OK! There was the attempted knifing incident to be told later. And the girl incidents told of here and next were about 25 years apart.

Bruises I got from two girls.

Marlene and Charlene were ten-month apart half-sisters. Marlene started school early and Charlene started late so they were in the same grade. By appearance they were twins and their mother looked like she could have been their identical triplet sister. Well, she was only 15 when Charlene was born and 16 with Marlene.3There’s another school story with this family too.

I only had one of the girls in a high school class, but I knew their mother Darlene from a junior high English class. But this about the twin lookers in junior high where I had neither in any of my classes.

Signs of an active fight in junior high were generally the same – the most obvious was a split loyalty crowd shouting encouragement to a favorite. But the fight between the sisters was in the line for an after-school bus when I was on bus duty. They were already whacking at each other when I heard the cursing and moved in.

I grasped each by an arm and tried to hold them apart while telling them to stop. Neither could be convinced, and they continued to hit at each other with me between them. Before help arrived, I’d been slugged more times than either of them hit the other.

After their suspensions, I saw them on campus and in the lunchroom being buddy-sisters. One of them apologized when I had her in a high school class a few years later.

There is one more slug story to tell.

From my book Iniquities of the Fathers: A story of Illusions and Deceptions:

Lee would start the eighth grade with more than one covert identity. He wouldn’t only continue to hide Levi, he was certain from reading and reasoning that he was a political pawn, he was a shaving teenager, and he would follow Faye’s ways and invent some of his own to hide his being a closet drinker.

Of Slugs IV

blog post
Again already – the slug series within the school series! Definition for slug used in the junior high school story here a heavy blow especially with the fist.
Like I said, the junior high school where these things happened won’t be mentioned1Those who know me probably know anyway. … and remember I said characters are composites, but incidents are true.

First period was about to start, students were milling around waiting for the bell, and I was readying my paperwork to take role. The bell rings for about 10 seconds – enough time for them to get into their places. One student, not usually late, burst through the open door. A boy I recognize from having been in my class the year before and should be at the high school grabs him from behind and shoves him to the floor.

I’m at the far side of the room so it takes me a bit of time to get to where the one shoved has stood up and starting to punch at the older boy. No punch lands before I get there and do an around the upper arms restraint from the back of the high school student. He wrestles free and grabs the boy from my class, but I got the grip again.

As I’m being bounced around by the larger than me boy, Paul from “Of Slugs III” calls the school office from the wall phone. Another student moves in to help me restrain the high school kid. He gets kicked.

Had this been a student to student fight, there would be yelling and cheering. I was too busy to realize that the boys in the room, except for the participants and the one trying to help me, were silent in wonderment or confusion about what was going on.

Even being restrained, the high schooler kept after his target, dragging me with him. He was a little over 6 ft. and probably 220 lbs. to my 5’8”, 170 lbs. I managed to get him into a corner, or he managed go get me there with my back to the wall.

The student from my class, nearly the size of the older boy, who was trying to help took a swing at the intruder, but the older boy ducked, and I got slugged.

Within seconds of the principal, assistant principal, and another teacher getting there, it was over. I never expected to get hit by a student and the student could say he slugged a teacher and didn’t get into trouble.

Later, I learned that the attacked student in my class had made the mistake of looking like his older brother who had asked the high school student’s girlfriend for a date.

The attacking boy was suspended for a week, about the same amount of time the burse on my jaw lasted.

There are two more school related slug stories. They will probably be posted next, but I advise you to not risk the farm on that.

From Iniquities of the Fathers: A story of Illusions and Deceptions: “Levi had never planned to join his father in the cemetery. He only intended to leave his rucksack and atlas, his past, his illusions, his shame, his guilt, and his nightmares on his father’s footstone.”

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

blog post
This post was supposed to be “Of Slugs IV” in my little series within my series on classroom and education events. However, …

We are sort of celebrating this morning because the AQI1Air Quality Index is down to unhealthy. It rained during the night, but the smell of smoke is still in the air.

Remember the song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” a show tune written by American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for the 1933 musical Roberta. The song was sung in the Broadway show by Tamara Drasin. But most of my generation remember the Platters release in November 1958.

What do you know about William Robinson Jr.? Er… Smokey Robinson!

Remember Lit’l Smokies? The adds said, “No Artificial Ingredients.” Good sales pitch, I think, but what is an artificial ingredient2Yes I know the definition? An ad for another product touts, “Made from real ingredients!”

Consider the reality of artificial flavors. Artificial reality? Artificial Reality is the first of book series by Myron W. Krueger about interactive immersive environments. The phrase ‘artificial reality’ brings to mind virtual and augmented reality. (Reality: the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

I had the idea that one would find more time than ever to finish multiple writing projects. There was a time when I did or had to work under the ‘time is money’ concept. Being an octogenarian with a fixed income3Fixed does not always mean not enough for the petition ‘give us our daily bread’ in the Lord’s Prayer! means that concept is long in the past.

Someone said, “the past is over – get over it.” I’ve said that phrase a few times while reminiscing events over which I had some control. Thankfully, I’ve taken that advice.

My contribution to

Chicken Soup cover
tells about results of following advice.

How far off an original thought can one get in less than 1000 words when there is more than enough time to stay on track? Like someone said, and I paraphrase, “Give me a week and I’ll give you ten-thousand words; give me two weeks and I can make it five-thousand.”

Next post4I think
Of Slugs IV”

Last line in Iniquities of the Fathers: A Story of Illusions and Deceptions – That evening he wrote and mailed long letters to Lillie Grand, Deb Johnson, and Sam Murphy.

Of Slugs III

blog post
Definitions for slug used in the junior high school stories here.
any of numerous chiefly terrestrial pulmonate gastropods (order Stylommatophora) that are found in most parts of the world where there is a reasonable supply of moisture and are closely related to the land snails but are long and wormlike and have only a rudimentary shell often buried in the mantle or entirely absent.
The junior high school where these things happened won’t be mentioned, but as I implied before, but for different reasons, many teaching days at the junior high were as gut wrenching as teaching Top Secret procedures in the Army Security Agency.

It was near the end of first lunch and those students were transitioning to class while second lunch students were leaving class. The shop classroom was separated from the main building by a driveway and parking lot, so from my office window, I had a good view of the transition routes.

One of the students in my class was called Pudge by nearly everyone, including his father and most teachers at school. He seemed to accept the nickname, but I couldn’t get into that. I used his given name Paul.1Both the nickname and given name used here are to make real ID difficult.

I saw a crowd gathering and heard shouting near the main building entry. My experience told me, “fight!”

I don’t remember the taunting phrases I heard as I got to the randomly spaced circle of students, but ‘Pudge’ was included in some of the shouts. I orally separated the surrounding students and Paul was alone on the sidewalk. I asked, “what’s going on?”

Before he could answer, a girl said, “Pudge just grossed everyone out by eating a slug.”

I turned to Paul. He pointed to several snickering boys and said, “they gave me $5.00 to do it!”

I took him to the school nurse, and he spent the rest of the day in her office under her supervision. He didn’t get sick. Every now and then, I heard, “hey Pudge, you want to make some extra money?” And several times someone wrote Escargot on the menu posted in the lunchroom.

I don’t think he did it again.

I am saving ‘taking a hit2slug in the classroom’ for Of Slugs IV.

Several years ago I read an interesting book about life in the classroom – Learn Me Good by John Pearson. Then I read the sequel Learn Me Gooder. Like he did with those two, I’ve embellished a little and used composite characters. My however is, each event actually happened.

From Nescient Decoy: “The decoys appear to be calm and moving only with the wind-ripples,” he said, “so the flying birds watch them instead of what’s in the shooting blind before landing where they perceive it to be safe. Did you notice how the birds circled the pond before landing?” As I remember, I hadn’t noticed.

Hunkering Down within Hunkering Down

blog post
This post was supposed to be “Of Slugs III” in my little series within my series on classroom and education events. However, this region is in the middle of an interruption of an interruption of life as we would have it, thus Hunkering Down within Hunkering Down.

Please do not, DO NOT, take this as a plea for sympathy or a woe is me (us) statement. All too many around us are suffering as we only hunker down within a hunker down.

Those of us who live in this region know fire in the forests isn’t unusual this time of the year. But high wind, not normal for this time of the year, came upon us. Wind and fire in the same area is very bad or worse. California has its Santa Anna winds quite often, but the same phenomenon in the Pacific Northwest is almost as rare as a salmon eating a sea lion.

We got the high wind warning and battened down the hatches. The wind came to the urban, suburban, and the forest areas. Even where there was no fire, trees went down, and power went out. Some trees falling over power lines started new fires. Dry timber fire, even when there is little wind, can move at speeds not often believed by those who haven’t experienced it. Pushed at 40 mph and higher winds, nothing stops or slows it except cessation of the wind. Tremendous human effort cannot slow it. Continuous rain is better, but in the PNW that comes later in the year.

Three evacuation levels associated with uncontrollable fire – one, get set; two, get ready; and three, go now. Many leave their homes at level two, because fire does not honor man’s boundaries on the map.

Most have heard the expression, where there is smoke there is fire. The opposite is also true, where there is fire there is smoke. The volume of smoke generated by hundreds of thousands of acres of burning timber was blown west and as satellite maps showed even miles into the Pacific. Air quality level went from good to hazardous in minutes.

Cloth face coverings already used for Covid-19 by most are as helpful for blocking wood smoke as none at all. Research shows 90% of wood smoke particles are less than one micron in diameter – bacteria averages 2 microns – talcum powder 10 microns. Short of gas masks, N95 masks are the most efficient at keeping microns from the lungs. But they and face shields do nothing for eye comfort or damage.

Campers know even a whiff of campfire smoke causes discomfort and coughing. Consider the thickest campfire smoke you’ve experienced surrounding you by 100 miles and two or three miles above you. No one can socially distance from smoke.

So, the wind stopped or nearly so. Fire advances became driven only or mostly by their own weather generation and smoke from the slowed fire advance went up for the prevailing jet stream to distribute.

So, the wind stopped or nearly so. Those micron size smoke particles blocked from rising and joining the jet stream by low level atmospheric inversion did two things. They continued to float in the air or settle to the surface.

Either way this has been far less fun for us safe from the fires than hunkering down for Covid-19 reasons. However, we know our having to hunker down a few days to stay out of the poor to hazardous air quality will end with a wind shift and some rain. Covid-19 hunkering down becomes less restrictive as we learn more, but it is still hunkering down.

Only God knows how long that will last.

We are thankful that family and friends are not in fire level 3, go now, evacuation situation, but some are in level 2 and level 1.

Remember the eruption of Mt. St. Helens? Sort of the same thing. And here we are still!
This rant is over!

Next post1I think
Of Slugs III”