10 Mar

Milk and Crap

My dairy allergy never fails to bring about stunned reactions. As I’ve been telling people for years when faced with the question, “but how do you get your calcium?” milk sucks and it’s not necessary. A recent mainstream article entitled, “Milk Isn’t What Makes Bones Strong,” reflects the recent press that the story is getting. Of course, I could have told you all of this eight years ago. And John Robbins, heir to and defector from the Baskin-Robbins fortune, could have told you all of this about twelve years ago. So there.

Yesterday, after having successfully avoided dog crap in Ecuador for six months, I stepped in not one, but two different piles. It’s a literal parallel to the figurative crap I stepped into at SECAP a couple of weeks ago. You know how sometimes in your life, a whole bunch of like messages converge on you? In college, for example, you’d be taking four entirely different classes, but in your Educational Psychology class, the professor would mention his work on forgiveness, which would also come up as a major motif in a book you were reading for an English class, and then a movie would come out called “Forgiving Miss Daisy,” and then you’d hear that Don Henely song “The Heart of the Matter,” which everyone thinks is called “Forgiveness,” cuz he repeats “forgiveness” over and over again, and which you haven’t heard for the past three years. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Well, recently, I just read on bOINGbOING a snippet of a speech by Milton Glaser about10 things he has learned. Number 2 is “IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB.” It was compelling only because there are other such messages that make me dream of ditching the teaching gig back home. The Bush Administration wants to screw with social security; the SECAP mess-up reminded me of how little I like dealing with school administrative policies and changes; and recent contacts with my colleagues back home have been thoroughly depressing. Given, it’s March, but I’m becoming more and more sure that at least a temporary change of profession is in order.

Additionally, I’ve been writing a lot recently. And I’ve been reading a couple of great books. At a poetry reading in Madison last year, Billy Collins, when asked how he got into poetry, said, “because I was jealous. I’d read poems and I’d think, ‘I can maybe do that.'” I’ve been an English teacher because 1) I love literature. I like reading and writing. And 2) I like teenagers — their optimistic, naive potential; their hunger for ideas, subversion, relationships. I don’t like educational policy, administration, grading, parent conferences. I’m sure as hell not gonna get my masters in administration or ed policy. And since the great school I work at seems to be undergoing a melt-down, maybe it’s time to move on. Besides, my passion is increasingly for at least attempting to produce what I love rather than just consume it. Maybe it’s time to employ my own naive optimism, hunger for ideas, and jealousy to some other end than teaching. We’ll see what the next several years bring.

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