How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay in Fifteen Minutes (Part I)

A couple of months ago, I had a brilliant idea. 

I was sick. This is hard for me to admit, because I walk around all the time boasting about my robust immune system, which I tell everyone I get because I defy things like hand sanitizer, washing hands, and general good hygienic practices. 

This isn’t true, of course; I’m very clean.  But it’s become a big joke among my students and me.  They’ll ask if they can go to the restroom to wash their hands before lunch and I’ll respond with an eye roll and say something like, “Whatever, Princess.  Go ahead,” which always gets a pretty good giggle.

So when I got sick, we were all shocked. I missed a day of work…and then another.  I probably could have skipped a third day, but I hate missing school and I’m stubborn and I didn’t have a fever (had never actually had one, in fact; just felt crappy) and I wanted to get back at it.  I love my job. 

That being said, I’m not a jerk who’s going to spread my disease just for funsies.  I was fine.  But I didn’t necessarily LOOK fine: I came back to school with watery eyes, a puffy face, and a Kleenex stuffed up my left nostril because it was the easiest way to block any remaining leakage. 

As I entered school, one of the other teachers took one glimpse at me and involuntarily jumped back. She tried to recover gracefully, but as she turned tail and scurried quickly in the opposite direction, I saw her fashion a cross out of her two index fingers and hold it toward me, muttering “Unclean!

My students were another story altogether.  When I got back after missing two days, the kids were so happy to see me that they surrounded me in my classroom doorway.  “You NEVER miss school,” they said excitedly, “so when you were gone that second day, we thought you were DEAD!”

They presented me with homemade cards that they had all signed—probably during my class periods when they were supposed to be working with the sub on prepositional phrases or gerunds or infinitives or something.  I began to read the sentiments they had written—“DON’T get well soon!” and “We don’t miss you…take another day off!” and the like—and I got all emotional.  They really love me.

Anyway, I don’t know about you guys, but I do my best thinking when my brain is in a foggy, snot-filled haze—or when I’m in the shower.  I’m sure that there’s no connection or correlation between the two; it’s just how it’s always been for me. So when I was sick in bed for those two days, subsisting on chicken broth and trashy reality TV, my brilliant idea occurred to me: I was going to teach a lesson to my junior high school kids entitled “How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay in Fifteen Minutes.”

I was so excited that I grabbed my phone and shot off a text to my boss and two of my favorite co-workers, telling them all about it. Their response?  “Some of us are WORKING. Go back to bed and leave us alone.”

I feel sorry for people who are threatened by my brilliance.

It kind of reminded me another time I was sick and texted my previous boss, our beloved headmaster at the same school who retired a few years back.  I’d been battling some…gastrointestinal issues…but had been fine for like a full day, no “incidents,” so I was ready to come in at least for my afternoon classes and relieve the sub.  But then…something happened.  So I texted my boss:

I was ready to come in, but then I bent down to tie my shoe and I pooped in my pants a little bit.

I had hardly hit “send” on the text before his reply came back:  STAY HOME. For the love of God, PLEASE STAY HOME.

So I did.

Anyway, I think that’s as good of a note as any on which to leave this story for a bit while I’m enjoying my Christmas break in a much too lazy fashion. I’ll pick it back up next time.

In the meantime…Merry Christmas, and enjoy these beautiful cold days with family! I myself got to enjoy them at three separate Christmas parties since my siblings aren’t getting along and refuse to be in the same room as one another.  My dad’s been feverishly reading books about the mafia and how they settled these in-family conflicts (No shooting each other allowed!) and has been suggesting a “Truce Day” for Christmas next year. 

Obviously I’ll keep you posted.

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