Sunday, April 13, 2008

Somewhere In Here There's A Great Pun On The Staff Of Life Or Teaching Being My Bread And Butter

So, I'm getting ready to give my daily quiz in 5th period sophomore Honors class. They're so well-trained; all of them already have everything off their desks except the requisite half-sheet of paper and either a pen or a pencil. I scan the room and note their eager, anticipatory faces. They've all read the three assigned chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird, or at least if they haven't, one or two of them have downloaded the chapter summaries from and are hoping to maybe get a couple of the basic plot questions right. I'm just about to read the first question aloud when something odd catches my eye.

I turn to my right and look at the desktop of Ben, my little Alternative Rocker Boy. I absolutely love Ben, who is emo-skinny, has gorgeous red hair in a very stylish straggly cut, plays drums and bass guitar in two bands, and says, "thank you" every time I hand him a test, a graded paper, a quiz, or a worksheet. He also has dimples and very cool glasses and the kind of ad-agency printing for handwriting that you just know means he is creative and mature for his age and will probably end up having an awesome job like managing a charity co-op art gallery for musicians in SoHo with Bono, Madonna, and that one guy who started Live Aid on its board of directors. (Crap! Who the hell is that guy?)

Anyway, back to Ben and the thing that catches my eye. He has something on his desk. This is highly unusual because Ben, for all his individuality, is not a rulebreaker. I stare at it quizzically. is half a loaf of Italian bread. On his desk. Just sitting there. Not even sliced or anything. So, I just sort of look at it, thinking for a few moments. And Ben is just patiently waiting for me to begin the quiz, but everyone else has followed my stare and is also looking at The Bread. So, I smile a very small smile, and Ben smiles back at me--a lovely, winning, gorgeous Ben-smile.

"Expecting a flock of ducks?" I inquire.

Ben looks at me, very serious. He says, "No." Sadly, all of them are used to my frequent bouts of random attempts at not only humor, but odd ways to introduce discussion topics. Doubtless, he thought this could be either.

I press on. "Perhaps a butter delivery, then?"

Ben tilts his head, rather like a dog whose owner has given it an unfamiliar command. Again, the smile. "No."

(The rest of the class, it should be noted, followed this exchange visually as if it were a ping-pong match. At this point, they all turned to me.)

But I'm in agony:

What now? Is Ben toying with me? Does he really not know what I'm talking about? Can I risk another one-liner here, or am I pushing it? The totally cool thing, of course, is to simply drop it and give the quiz. That way, my cool is intact and so is Ben's. But... But... I have to know the story behind that damned Bread!

I gave the quiz.


  1. Well did you find out? Now I wanna know!

  2. I do the "one-liner" in the classroom, too. Usually to snap someone out of a comotose state.

    Now... please, for God's sake and ours, tell us what the hell the bread was doing there. And if you still don't know, FIND OUT! (Because, really, you've already made your point and given the quiz, heh, heh...)

  3. No fair! Is this a Dickensian serial? Must we wait at the docks for the ship laden with the next installment to come in? Does it have something to do with quiz=pain (Fr.)?

    By the way, I think today's is the best bunny pic so far.

  4. This is like a season cliffhanger! We need to know what was up with the bread. Go ahead...ask him. :)

  5. You could have asked that as one of your quiz questions.

  6. i.h.--I considered that, as you probably know.

    simplypink--no way was i asking him.

    sputnik--that bunny just cracks me up! doesn't it look downright pissed? (and nice bilingual pun!)

    ortizzle--i've asked around. answers ranged from "You know Ben--he does what he wants" to "What bread?"

    princess otu--that makes several of us. i'm guessing he just grabbed it on his way out of his house and was eating it throughout the day. Ben is...just...Ben.

  7. I can tell you right now that if I were his age, and in his class, I would have fallen for him, hard. Which he would never know, because of my oh-so-winning strategy with boys back then...ignoring them.

    I wonder if he had the wine and cheese to go with the bread in his backpack? Better check next time, and make sure he brought enough for everyone.

  8. Anonymous9:55 PM


    That kid had some crust bringing the bread into your classroom. Maybe he didn't want to take the test;just wanted to loaf around.

  9. I can't believe you lost. I'm disappointed.

  10. I would have maybe grabbed it and thanked him for bringing me such a nice gift. Because really, I love bread.

    The nerve of him bringing bread into class! He probably wanted to goad you into something, so better that you ignored it, probably.

  11. Bob Geldof (Geldorf?). The Live Aid guy (I think, I haven't Googled and confirmed. Don't ask why I know this and can't remember the names of people I went to church with for years...)

    And the bread on the desk? This would not have raised eyebrows in Belgium where fresh bread appeared in the most unlikely places, including STREET VENDING MACHINES.

  12. You have to find out for us! When I first saw the bread, I thought there was going to be a recipe! ; )

  13. anali--LOL. No, no recipe here. I don't think i've ever given a recipe at the Dept. That would be a first.

    v-grrrl--Geldof. I thought of it about a day later. uncharacteristically for my anal-retentive self, i just didn't feel like researching it the day i posted, and when i did find out, i was too lazy to update. either i'm getting "healthier" or i'm getting older...or i'm getting, what? oh, who cares?! (and doesn't the bread in that photo look really GOOD!?)

    gina--no, ben is not that type. he'd love the idea of being the subject of such mystery and discussion, though!

    nina--i think i won! after all, i got a great blog out of it. LOL

    nancy--holy crap. pretty smart punning. where were you when i was trying to come up with a clever title for this damn post?!

    j.@jj--oh, trust me. he has tons of admirers JUST LIKE YOU employing YOUR VERY STRATEGY. sigh. all his kind do. and i already told him the very same thing about myself, sans the strategy part. because my strategy was completely different. i was a lingerer-smiler. it didn't work real well, either. sigh.

  14. That's too funny! Of all the strange things to carry around!

    And completely off-topic, but Brian Williams is going to be the commencement speaker for OSU's spring graduation. Thought you might be interested! (I'm a little jealous, because the speaker for mine was the CEO of Bob Evans.)

  15. Nance he SO had the answers to the quiz written on the bottom of the loaf of bread!

  16. tera--you are so suspicious. is that how YOU managed to get good grades in school??? actually, i'm amazed that no one else thought of that. lol

    jenomena--i saw that news re: BW. why is OSU so lucky? i hope we see/hear some clips from it. i hope he's a little bit funny.

  17. Anonymous10:22 PM

    Wait...that's it? THAT'S IT???? What about the bread? I've got to know.

  18. Hmm... I'm eating some soup. I could use some bread and butter about now....

  19. Quite the contrary Nance, I'm not that big on eating bread, so my teachers would have found that quite suspicious...LOL!

  20. ck--i'll get you ben's number.

    apathy lounge--some things in life are just a mystery.

  21. I teach 1st grade in Florida and i can so relate to your stories!!
    the bread one really cracked me up!
    I tell my friends the stories that come from working with 6 and 7 year olds all day and they just can't believe some of the stuff that these kids come up with!!


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