I can’t even imagine what people “think” teachers talk about:
What a jerk little Johnny was today at school?
How Flora cheated on her history test and she was really gonna get “what for” on Monday?
How to improve the test scores of an entire class so that we can win Teacher-of-the-Month or meet our district’s API goal for the year?
We don’t have time to waste on slandering the Youth of America or panicking on a daily basis about our district API score.
We care about one thing… and one thing only:
How to stay regular during a busy school week.
Yes… that’s right.
We like to talk about shit.
Bowel movements are very important to teachers.
Now, when I first started teaching… I was teaching at a school that I had attended during my junior high years. Several of my close colleagues were teachers that I had actually had, when I was a student, and if I knew then… what I knew now… that I was NOT in fact the center of their universe and that the idle conversation in the Teacher’s Lounge… yes… while eating… was on how to have a healthy crap, one that came out long and smooth, and actually didn’t even need toilet paper to finish it off, I would have never believed it.
Teachers are serious.
Teachers are intelligent.
Teachers MUST be grading papers during their thirty minute lunches and coming up with ways to punish us repeatedly.
Hate to burst your little bubble.
We just wanna talk shit.
So it was during one of these many conversations where our arguments grew into almost a fervor of what was the “best” remedy for keeping your bowels regular during a school week, I showed up, mid-conversation, constipated as all hell, and sat down to hear from my former teachers, now my mentors in crap, how to best get my ass on a proper schedule.
“Stewed cooked apricots every morning” Mr. Myers said as he unwrapped his sandwich.
“No, Chuck,” My former P.E. teacher Ms. Hillard said, “You’re risking it having those every morning. You could end up too loose and then what would you do. Leave your students unattended while you run to the shitter?” She turned to me and placed her hand on my arm. “I find a nice glass of warm water and Metamucil each night before bed produces the desired result by 6 am” She turned and gave Mr. Myers a smug smile. “Seriously Charles,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t even know how you became a science teacher.”
Myers, put his head down and ate his peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a vengeance.
I looked at him and then back at Ms. H who was daintily sipping her lite chicken soup from a small plastic Tupperware container with her large silver spoon.
I was shocked.
I’d never seen Myers take a beating from anyone.
This was the man that would make me stand against the back wall of his classroom for an entire period just because I couldn’t stop, according to him, ‘Yak, Yak, Yakking.”
I couldn’t imagine that he was Ms. Hillard’s bitch but shock of shocks… he was.
Mr. Foster my former math teacher, and the first African-American man to wear a LARGE teardrop shaped AFRO circa 1976 at my middle school, put down his fork, pointed his finger in my face, and jumped in.
Wow, it felt like 7th grade algebra all over again.
My first “C” ever was in this man’s class and he had NEVER let me live it down.
Now as colleagues, we would be tutoring together after school in the library and I would actually hear him say to students, “Look here! You need help with English? You go over to that table and see Ms. Wood. You need help with math, you stay right here. Ms. Wood knows nothing about math. Nothing. Do you hear me? Never did. Never will.”
I took it… out of respect… but I often felt like throwing the library’s large Webster’s hardbound dictionary at his now shortly cropped head of hair, and shouting, “LOOK here Mr. Foster! See how much those English words hurt when they hit you on the back of the head?”
But I was still afraid of his punishments: He could write a referral faster than he could give you the formula for finding the area and surface of a rectangle.
For a moment, I thought he might pull a piece of chalk out of his pocket, and actually draw me a formula on how to take the perfect shit, but he didn’t.
He waved his finger in my face and said, “Look here, D.D. It’s logical.” He paused for emphasis waiting for Mr. M to finish his sandwich and Ms. H to put down her spoon.
“You don’t shit during the week,” he said calmly. “You hold it all in. Then on Friday, you go home, you have a couple cocktails, loosen that ass up, and let it go.” He picked his fork back up and stabbed a small grape tomato on his plate.
He waited a moment, and then pointed his fork, tomato attached, in my face. “Let it go,” he repeated. “You got to be at home, relaxed, no bells, Saturday and Sunday, to free that shit up.”
I wanted to say, “No pun intended right?” But I was sitting in a room with a science teacher, a math teacher, a P.E. teacher and therefore I let my stupid little English joke slide.
Suddenly, the teacher’s bathroom door opened, and we all turned to look, at Mr. Gilmore, 8th grade biology, as he appeared from inside the small enclosed bathroom. “Bran muffin,” he said, then pulled the bathroom door closed behind him and turned to leave the lounge. “Don’t go in there,” he added sternly as he opened the door to the hall and exited the room.
“Mmmmmmmm,” the collective nodded and concurred and so I threw my lunch trash away and made a mental note to stop by Hof’s Hut that evening, and grab one of their large bran muffins and eat it as a “special” type of dessert before bed.
And so… I did… and when I arrived at school the next morning, still well into my constipation, no bran muffin bowel movement to start the day off right, I was rather annoyed.
These people were supposed to know what the fuck they were talking about.
They’d spent years working on the science of teaching and crapping.
God damn it.
If I couldn’t count on them who the hell could I count on?
I set up my classroom for the day and waited for my students to arrive.
8 am: all was fine. I was a bit uncomfortable from being bound up but that was nothing new.
9 am: the kids were all doodling on their work folders, listening to music, happy that snack break was just minutes away.
9:15 am: the kids left for Nutrition break and I barely made it to the bathroom across the hall.
My bran muffin had kicked in with a fury.
I sat in the small tiled bathroom, and stared up towards the miniscule window… there only for light… no ventilation and thought, “Please God, please. Don’t let anyone come in while I’m in here.”
I was in so much pain, the cork of my constipation now being pressure popped by the large amount of smooth move behind it that I thought I was going to die.
I was cramping, actually holding on to the sides of the toilet or pressing my hands against the walls, trying to keep myself steady and right during the pain.
Ten minutes later, I was sweaty, worn, but blissfully free.
I put myself back together, and walked confidently to my room. I was already making mental calculations on how tonight, I would eat my bran muffin three hours earlier and in that way, set myself up to crap at 6 o’clock am at home instead of trapped in the small 1950’s bathroom, praying that no one would disturb me.
I waved at Ms. Anderson across the hall, another veteran savvy in the ways of ending constipation.
Her means of choice?
A bit of ex-lax mixed with her hot fudge sundae every Saturday night. “Works like a charm” she said with a smile one day while I was waiting my turn for the xerox machine. “Like a charm!” she had repeated as she grabbed her copies and walked off somewhere down the hall.
Today, she nodded briskly from her desk, before looking back at the stack of papers she was currently grading during her conference period.
Two minutes later, the kids were filing into the room and I was leaning against the podium unable to stand upright.
Ms. A saw me from across the hall and said, “Do you need me to watch the kids for a minute?”
I nodded and hurried to the bathroom where I barely made it before my ass fired off round two in a rapid succession.
It was horrific.
I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to.
By the time I was done it felt as if my butt had just let loose a fiery stream of lava.
It was raw and worn and I was about to cry from the pain.
I would have sold my soul for a tube of Desitin at that very moment but I had to make do with toilet paper dampened under cool tap water, as I dabbed my butt gently, before pulling up my pants and heading back to class.
“Are you okay?” Ms. Anderson asked as I walked back into the room. “You look horrible.”
I wiped a hand across my sweaty brow and nodded. “I’m fine.”
I went about my teaching for exactly five minutes before I felt my bowels about to give way again.
“Oh sweet God,” I whispered.
“What Ms. Wood?” A chubby sweet faced sixth grader asked me as I rushed towards the back door of the classroom. “I’ll be right back.” I smiled at all of them. “Draw me some really great pictures of Sponge Bob while I check the xerox machine.”
I ran across the hall too embarrassed to ask Ms. Anderson for help… too embarrassed to tell my students that I was having a major break down in bowel function, and Ms. Hillard’s lunch time scolding of Mr. Myers ringing out in my head, You’re risking it having those every morning. You could end up too loose and then what would you do. Leave your students unattended while you run to the shitter? Seriously Charles, sometimes I don’t even know how you became a science teacher.”
God damn it.
Now I was going to be Ms. Hillard’s bitch.
I threw myself into the bathroom, locked the door and dropped my pants to the floor: I must have shit myself a total of ten times in that 45 minute class period.
And my students?
They were so happy drawing their little Sponge Bob pictures, listening to music and enjoying their free time, that they barely noticed my absence.
By the time the lunch bell rang and the kids had exited the classroom, I was face down lying on top of a string of desks that I had pushed together… my warm sweaty cheek pressed against one of the cool formica sandstone desk tops. My butt cheeks tender and throbbing from the day’s events.
“Jesus,” Mr. Gilmore said as he passed by on the way to the lunch room. “What the hell happened to you?” He asked.
If I had any energy left, I swear I would have stood up, found a knife and shanked that old bastard.
“Bran muffin,” I said, my eyes vicious. “I ate the bran muffin. Just like you suggested.”
His eyes jumped with surprise.
“I said never on a school day.” He walked over, leaned down and stared at me. “Do you hear me? I said never on a school day. Only on a weekend.”
“No you didn’t,” I moaned. “Mr. Ferguson said never on a school day not you.” My tone was accusatory.
Mr. Gilmore paused a minute, typical science teacher, he was going to re-calculate the entire conversation before giving me the damn answer to his hypothesis.
“Well,” he said, “I meant never on a school day.” He walked out of the room, down the hall, and then peeked his head in the back door.
“Do you want me to find someone to cover your class for the rest of the day?”
“Fuck you,” I barked roughly. “Fuck you Mr. Gilmore.”
I closed my eyes and waited, ready to get the lecture of my life from my former science teacher or some big old hand of God to come down and smite me for cussing him out.
He sighed, completely calm. “I understand,” he said before I heard him head off down the hall and return ten minutes later with Mr. Foster.
“Look here, D.D.” Mr. Foster said. Obviously no pity for my predicament at all. “Never on a school day. Never on a school day. Are we clear? Do you understand us?”
I picked myself up off the desks, grabbed my things, threw my keys to Mr. Foster and walked out of the room.
“Did I ever tell you that girl knows nothing about math?” I heard him say to Mr. Gilmore as I started down the hall. I stopped, turned, and stomped back into the room.
“And fuck you too Mr. Foster,” I said with total annoyance. “I didn’t deserve that ‘C’ in math and you know it!”
Then I slammed open the glass door and left the building but not before I heard Mr. Gilmore laughing and Mr. Foster say, “Jesus, and she’s a teacher?”
I smiled as I dragged my worn ass home and soothed it with an entire tube of Desitin… my lesson learned: I would NEVER eat a God damn bran muffin on a school day EVER again.