Friday, March 21, 2014

None of my Business world

A former student wandered into school today. I am not sure if he was in my class when he was here, but certain students befriend me and we talk and forge a relationship even if they aren't in my class. Come to think of it, that seems to happen on if they aren't in my class. So anyway, I went over to this young man and I asked "what are you up to these days?" I was expecting him to name a college, maybe a graduate school and some sort of career aspiration. I can handle that. We graduate them and they move on but at a rate we can deal with. Just last week, I ran into a student from 15 years ago and he introduced me to his eldest child. Eldest of 5, that is. So, sure, sometimes it is a shock, but I have learned to deal with the fact that I am the Dorian Gray of my world -- they age and I'm perennially in high school.

This student who came by, what did he say? "I have a job with IBM." I took a pause. Hell, I took two pauses. I asked "You mean a job, for reals and everything?" He looked at me, smiled and said "Yup, for reals and everything." They enjoy torturing me like that. He continued, "I'm also 24." That, I can accept. So I asked "What is your job?" He said "I am a consultant at IBM." "No offense," I responded, "but who would consult you about anything?" He told me to ask the people he had a meeting with yesterday who wanted his advice about running a particular project I didn't mean to insult him and he didn't take it that way but let me explain.

He is 24. He finished school. He has yet to run a business of his own. Why would a 50 year old who already has a business and somehow succeeded at reaching age 50 need the help of someone who hasn't proven himself in the world? What is the nature of consulting that you don't graduate into it after a lifetime of experience and a track record of success? Is this how a little child shall lead them? When I was 24 I was on the cusp of becoming a full time teacher. I had read some of the books I was to teach and I was older, by a few years, than my students. They were coming to me because I had made it further along the path that they were still on but I still knew that I knew nothing.

And the real kicker? I looked at this kid (yes, kid) and I admitted "I bet you are very good at it." He smiled and I felt more of my ever thinning hair turn gray, and not the Dorian kind.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A "P" Course is Today

Note -- the following is Purim Torah. If it crosses the line into being offensive then that is only because that's what I intend to do. If you take this seriously then that's your fault. I will be raising points and questions to which there are loads of real answers and explanations but that's not my area of expertise -- specialize in being difficult for difficulty's sake. Purim Torah, people. Lighten up, Francis.

This morning I will be live blogging my shul's megillah reading so as to explicate the various lesson's it is imperative that we, as good Jews and sometimes people are supposd to glean from its text. This is an exciting time as, only after 2300 years have we truly begun to appreciate precisely what normative behavior was intended by this moving story of a man and his airplane. I will start at the beginning and make my way haphazardly towards the end. There will be no order, rhyme or reason. Any similarity to rhyme is purely accidental.

1. Women, listen to your husbands. Look at Vashti and what happened to her.
2. Men -- women, right? I know!
3. Kids, sometimes mommies and daddiss fight when they drink but just because daddy "sends mommy away" doesn't mean he won't then bed every woman in the kingdom in order to find someone else who can ignore you.
4. Young ladies, if your uncle says "sleep with the king and marry him" do it. If your husband says "don't tell him your background" keep that secret! Secrets are important for a healthy forced marriage. If your uncle says "now tell him who you are and save your family and people" then you argue.
5. Wise men, if you hear about a plot to kill the king, make sure you keep that leverage so you can score a horse ride later on.
6. If you want to be attractive to your husband for fear that he might kill you otherwise, fast for 3 days.
7. To be emotionally manipulated and threatened by your uncle who happens to be wearing a potato sack is a good and righteous thing. (In Latin, it really flows; a Dulce et Decorum Est reference for my Lit type buddies).
8. If your husband asks you what you want, ask for a party with a short guest list. No, we don't have to invite the whole world -- just that one creepy guy.
9. One party is never enough. Nothing says "my nation is to be killed" like 2 parties!
10. If the dad is bad, also kill all the kids. Not the wife though. Every pot has a lid that you keep after throwing the pot out, just in case it fits another pot.
11. Always ask permission before attempting acts of mass self defense and self preservation.
12. When in doubt, raise taxes and invent a holiday.
13. Ultimately, Jews do control the government and kings are stupid heads.

I hope you are now educated.