Archive | 4:54 am

No, Who’s On First?

29 Nov

My son called today. He’s also a teacher and he remarked that he’d had an Abbot and Costello moment in his class. One of his students asked what the definition of conjecture was…and my son replied, “Guess!”

You can probably imagine what happened after that. When you’re a teacher you never know when that moment will strike. Hopefully it’s amusing to everyone and then the class moves on but when you’re a teacher you always have to be very careful about what and how you say things…and never make a comment or start a conversation that you’re not prepared to follow through to its conclusion, wherever it may lead…

One day in class I matter-of-factly said to one of my students who was just acting a little too ditzy for my liking, “Jan, you’re a hockey puck!”

“I’m not a hockey puck” she replied rather confusedly.

“No, I said. I don’t mean that you’re actually a hockey puck. It’s an expression. You know you’re acting like such an airhead that your parents must have played hockey when you were little and they used you as the hockey puck and so now that’s why you’re so dizzy.”

“Well that’s pretty silly Mr. Picone. Jan replied. My parents don’t play hockey.”

“No Fran, I tried to explain. No one played hockey. It’s just an expression.”

“But my parents don’t play hockey! Why would you say that they did? They don’t play hockey. They never play hockey.”

“Jan! I interrupted. It’s just something that Don Rickles would always say. He’s a comedian and he calls people hockey pucks when he wants to make fun of them. I was just trying to be funny that’s all. I was kidding.”

”Ohhhhhhhh, said Jan. I know Don Rickles.”

Finally I’d gotten through to her. She’d recognized my reference to an old comedian who was popular when I was in school. At least now  we could get on with the lesson…

Unfortunately she added, ”He lives in my neighborhood.”

“What?! I just had to ask. Could this be possible? Now I was getting confused…

Don Rickles lives in your neighborhood?”

“Of course, she said matter of factly. I think he’s a sophomore.”

I gave up…“Jan? You ARE a hockey puck!”

Mr. Pi-Co-Own” She had to have the last word (and I’d let her just so we could move along) How many times do I have to tell you? I don’t play hockey!”

One of the things that can make being a teacher so difficult is that sometimes no matter how hard you try; you just cannot reach your students.


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