Saturday, April 7, 2012
Blue stick pen
They call me Napoleon
They call me Napoleon, the kids do, when my back is turned or I am writing on the board at the beginning of each period in big capital letters: MR. LIPNICKY. I’ve subbed in this class before. The room smells salty but not like the ocean. That time two of the boys in the back of the class took my lunch from my smooth, brown leather bag at the teacher’s desk and ate it before the class was over. I pretended not to notice but was hungry by noon.
I mean, I get the Napoleon thing. I saw that movie too. It was interesting. But Pedro was my favorite. When he shaved his head because he was hot. That was interesting.
They talk about my clothing every time I sub for one of these teachers. This kid asked, “Is it Sunday?” I was confused. Of course it wasn’t Sunday; it’s a school day. One girl squeaked out, “Cause your shirt is holy.” I get it. It’s interesting what she did, the play on words. Her pun. But I didn’t get why they all started laughing so hard. I just laughed too.
I’m hoping this subbing gig will turn into a permanent position, but when I asked the vice principal who smells like hairspray about it, she must have had a headache. She took off her glasses, squeezed the top of her nose, and said, “Probably not.” I am still hoping.
I like this school; it’s where I went to high school. It’s a really nice school. When I was a student here, at lunch the kids must have had so much food in their lunches that there was extra. Everyday when I walked through the courtyard, they would throw an orange or a grapefruit my direction. I always walked through the courtyard after lunch, so I wasn’t hungry.
Everyday while I am subbing, I walk through the courtyard after lunch. Today, I heard someone say, “Limpdicky.” I just smiled. He must have forgotten my name. It can be tricky.
I like to go into the English/social studies office and sit in the vinyl charts along the wall by the vice principal’s office that smell like kitchen sinks. The other teachers always seem so busy. I watch them using the photocopier or working on the computers. I’ll look out the door to the hallway as the students pass. Mr. Hill is one of the social studies teachers. He teaches American history first and second period and world history fourth period. I like to try to talk to him about military stuff. He used to be a marine. I wanted to be a marine, but they said it would be a better idea for me to go to college.
I graduated two Mays ago. I studied history education at the university in town so that I could still sleep in my own bed on my own sheets every night. I’ve had these Star Wars sheets since I was like five years old. Even when they need to be washed, my mom makes sure that they are back on my bed by bedtime. She says, “Routine is important.” I don’t know about routine, but my Star Wars sheets are important. Even that time I went and stayed in a Holiday Inn with mom and Aunt Cindy, we brought my Star Wars sheets and put them on top of the hotel’s sheet. The hotel sheet made me feel weird. I could feel each of the threads, and that did not feel good. My Star Wars sheets are not a bunch of small threads; they are one soft sheet.
I am ready to be a teacher. Mr. Hill always asks, “Lipnicky. Have you thought about grad school?” He is talking about graduate school. He thinks I am pretty smart, but I am ready to be a teacher. I went to college. I student taught with Ms. Manning who wore orange lipstick and smelled like green peppers. And now I am ready to be a teacher.
I will walk in everyday and say, “Good morning, class,” putting my smooth, brown leather bag on top of the teacher’s desk. They will all say, “Good morning, Mr. Lipnicky.” I will tell them all about history, and then I will sit at my desk as they utilize that information to do something smart. They are the best of the best students, and they like being in my class. And I like being in my class.
I like the desks. I forgot to tell you that, but that is why I decided to become a teacher: I like the desks. They’re big. They have lots of drawers. And they always have lots of pens in the drawers. When I substitute and there’s a movie playing or the students are doing worksheets after I wrote my name on the board at the beginning of the period, that’s what I do. I sit at the teacher’s desk and look through the drawers. Sometimes there are books. Sometimes there are different colored papers. One time there was a bottle of Jack Daniels. But there are always pens - blue stick pens are my favorite. I take their caps off, one by one, and I smell the ink, taking deep, measured breaths before placing them back in the drawer, one at a time.