Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good, but Would You Mug an Old Woman For It?

This weekend Morty The Bread Starter became a rye bread, which, since he cannot grow a beard, handle money, or run the entertainment industry, is the most Jewish thing he could do. Rye bread is as much a part of the Jewish culture as guilt, neurosis, and poor eyesight. In other words, if Morty had his bar mitzvah when we made the first breads, then this weekend he graduated from medical school. Let's see, what other stereotypes can I use... I guess that's it for now.

Anyway, yes, I used Morty to make rye bread, and, yes, I was pretty happy with the results, once again. Not sure it was good enough to inspire petty thievery (a Seinfeld reference; if you have to ask, it won't be funny to you anyway. OK, OK... here's a link if you need it), but it was definitely a success. This Tartine-style bread making has been a lot of fun! This one was kind of a sour-dough rye; mild, crusty, chewy, and covered in caraway seeds. Perfect for a nice deli sandwich. By the way, if you've never had a pastrami on rye, well, shoot, I really don't know what to tell ya... you simply haven't lived. If you want to know what it tastes like to be Jewish (but not what a Jew tastes like... that's something else entirely), you find yourself some rye and some pastrami, toot sweet.
Pastrami on Rye.
This might as well be a picture of a circumcised penis, that's how Jewish this is.
Rye-ce to meet you.
Caraway seeds.
In other, less baked-goods related news... I am still substitute teaching and my teaching certification courses started up again. A couple weeks ago I worked every single day of the week. As in all 5 workdays, in a ROW. It was nuts. I just don't know how people do that! By the end of the third day I needed a good two-day nap. That's how it should be: three days on, two days sleeping, then two more days off. I could happily live with that work schedule. Come on, Obama, make THAT change happen.

Still, working does provide some decent stories to tell, from time to time. For instance, the other day I found myself locked in a wrestling match with a 4th grader as I tried to restrain him from pummeling another 4th grader. Apparently some other kid in the class had said something about his mom or his manliness or some such thing, and this kid went from 0 to pissed-the-fuck-off in a split second. His eyes rolled back like a shark on the attack. He was ready to murderlate the other kid. I quickly stepped in and sat him down in a futile attempt to talk him down. He wasn't having it, and soon bolted up and darted towards his nemesis, arms flailing like a crazed monkey. This was no ordinary 4th grader, this was a mutant shark-monkey! A sharnkey? He never made contact with the other kid, though, because I held him back until the principal came to get him. He was no more than 4 feet tall, but he put up quite the fight. The whole time he never stopped swinging wildly at the air, muttering his 4th grade threats. It must have been quite the show for all the other kids in the room. I don't know how long I was wrestling with him exactly, but I know I was winded as I explained to the principal what had happened.

I can assure you, if this situation ever happens when I am in a high school class, someone is going to get hurt and it is not going to be me. I am not about to step between two high school kids whose combined weight is probably going to be at least five times my own. No, they will be left to their own devices until bigger adults, who make more money than I do, show up. This probably applies to middle school, too... even half THOSE bastards are bigger than me.

It's not all juvenile delinquency, though. Last week, in middle school, I bonded with the weirdest girl in class, the one all the others talked shit about when she left the room. She was weird and spastic, sure, but also smart and pleasant in her oddness. We got to talking, and before she left she gave me a guitar-shaped silly band. My first gift from a student. Not as nutritious as an apple, but silly bandz are like money to these kids, so it was valuable to her, and therefore, to me, too. At least, there was no misinterpreting the gesture. She was telling me that she appreciated that I had been nice to her, and I believed her. On the other hand, most of the time I find I filter what the kids say through my own insecure, insincere, cynical adult brain and draw the wrong conclusions about what they meant and how they meant it. I need to remind myself that at least half the time they are actually not making fun of me! The other half they most certainly are. But, still... I shouldn't assume they are coming from a shitty place. They aren't fully formed humans, yet, they deserve the benefit of my doubt.

As to my own certification classes, they're going along fine. When I went to the first class of the semester it was good to see all the other students again. So good that I found myself, in spite of myself, hanging out before class, chatting it up with a bunch of different people. I was fucking working the room! As I was walking around talking to everyone, getting laughs (I think genuine), I was aware of how unlike me this whole scene was. I was weirdly "on."  I think I must have been feeling less self-conscious than normal because I was still dressed nice from working earlier that day. Funny what a tie can do to a man, when it's not busy making him want to hang himself with it. Besides the tie, I think I was also feeling good because it was like 25 to 3, girls to guys, in the room (I was the alpha male for once in my life); and, since I hadn't seen these people in a couple months, I was fairly confident they could do with another dose of Joel. Usually I am quite sure that everybody's had enough. And usually I do not refer to myself in the third person. Like Costanza, I was doing the opposite. Worked pretty well.

Of course, I'm sure I was not quite the King of the room my memory has made me out to be. It might even have been a sickening display of awkward gregariousness on my part. But, then again, maybe I was at least a Court Jester or something, if not the King. I could pull off Court Jester for one night, I know it. Come on, reality, let me hold on to Jester status.

Well, that's all I got for this very Jewish-themed TV and movie referencing post... now back to The Mentaculus. As soon as I crack that probability map of the universe, it'll be time for the two-day nap part of my week. Next up for Morty will be beignets or croissants, probably. Next up for me is a new poor-eyesight related facial accessory, to be revealed in the next post. Stay tuned.
Schnitzer's. Co-STANZA!

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