Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Joke's On Me

Well, where was I? Hmmm.... last year at this time I was driving through the wilds of Idaho or Montana or some such place on a 29 hour round-robin marathon drive to Devil's Lake, ND with Danie and Jesse for Thanksgiving. This year, I am finishing up a two week stint (stretch? sentence for some unknown offense?) as a substitute teacher in high school. This was a gig that could have led to a full-time position. Once again I flirted with stability, looked it square in the face, tried it on for size. I passed. Stability at this school at this time would have been a cruel mistress, I think. In any case, it just weren't right. Or maybe I'm not right. Either way, end result is I don't have to go back there and that makes me happy. For now.

On the other hand, I think maybe everything I say or write on this blog is just misdirection by way of circuitous logic and semi-fancy words to cover for the fundamental path-of-least-resistance-ness of my actions. Sometimes I think all my decisions in life come down essentially on the side of simply taking the path of least resistance (henceforth referred to by the acronym I think I have just invented: POLR, pronounced "polar"). This pattern to my decision making could very well be real and might very well speak to some character defect. 

Me, looking existential after a teaching gig...
although, I took a picture so
I couldn't have been too deep in thought.
But why does POLR have such negative connotations? Is it really such a bad thing to "take the easy way out"? Eesh, that phrase makes it sound even worse. What about just not intentionally making things harder than they already are? That sounds alright for an ethos doesn't it? Mix that with a dash of good old-fashioned laziness and I think you've got me. Of course, I don't mean to say that I don't challenge myself sometimes... but maybe there are times when I should challenge myself and don't. Times when I should take the mythopoetically noble "road less traveled," but instead take the nice newly paved 4-lane highway right to the nearest fast-food restaurant. I dunno... But analyzing this anymore would make my brain hurt and I have less strenuous paths to find and take at the moment.

Anyway, the substitute teaching is going well, and, even better, being successful at it does not require me to stray far from the POLR. It may not be the easiest job, but it certainly doesn't require all the responsibilities of a regular teacher. Responsibilities like planning and grading and talking to parents. As soon as the going gets tough, the day is over and I don't have to ever go back to that classroom again, if I don't want to. The POLR is blissfully not paved with excess responsibilities.

These guys are not upstream-swimming salmon.
They took the POLR, wound up in a bucket. Of course,
the story doesn't end too well for the salmon, either.
Other things I've learned from substituting: High school still sucks as much as it always did, even without any added and burdensome "adult" responsibilities. Elementary school has more positive vibes but requires an energy level I either never had or can't maintain now. And middle school... ahh, middle school. I still can't decide if it's the worst place on earth or a great, vibrant, worthy challenge I need to rise to. For some mysterious reason, middle school might actually tempt me away from the POLR. Some kids are really cool, some are really the devil's spawn, all are a little of both at some point during the day. The thing that weirds me out the most, though, is that I still have the feeling I used to have when I was a kid in middle school... I get the feeling the little bastards know something I don't! Like I am not in on the joke. OK if you don't want to learn today, but at least let me in on the joke you little fuckers!

I've been trying to get in on the joke my whole life. I like that metaphor better than the POLR... this way, at least, it seems like I'm questing for something, not just following the easiest road. Questing is good, no negative connotations there. Yes, I believe I am questing. Incidentally, my favorite letter to write has always been "Q"... this is all falling into place!

*No fish were harmed... actually, yes, yes they were harmed. Caught by my dad's net and killed for bait, in fact. The circle of life. I am grateful for all of it! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

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