I’ve always said that columnists who resort to using lists in their weekly musings are being lazy and not putting in the effort to dig deep to find something new and interesting to comment about.
I haven’t slept that great this past week, so you’re getting a list.
It began with a post I made on social media in regards to the latest school shooting, in Colorado, this past week. Perhaps as you also felt, I expressed outrage, sadness and fear for the future. I went on to type that as school shootings were unheard of in my day as a student, I was trying to remember the most frightening thing I’d experienced, instead, as a student in those Partridge Family-fueled 1970s. This gave way to some much needed levity, punctuated with real terror, for a few minutes as dozens of people added their own hellish recollections from a time many of us would deem as more “innocent.”
I’ll begin with what first sprang to my mind: Dodge Ball. Or, as was coined by my equally terrifying P.E. teacher, “Blood Ball.” It was a friend of mine with whom I attended East Cobb Junior High, that reminded me how this “coach” pitted the ninth graders against us scrawny seventh graders (Why? Why?), and cackled from the bleachers as we left the floor with rising edemas presenting themselves as large, red splotches covering the side of our faces, arms, thighs. Off to the showers we limped, holding a hand over a bleeding nose, or, in despair, picking up a broken pair of glasses. Rather like a junior high version of the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan.
“Atomic bomb drills,” posted one friend, whose school years began a bit earlier than my own. But I certainly remember “duck and cover” drills for tornadoes which, as another aptly remarked, “Yeah, and how exactly was my civics book, held directly over my head, going to actually protect me from harm?”
“Nuns!!” exclaimed another poster. ’Nuff said.
Glenn Hirsch wrote, “Math! Plain and simple. As long as they keep teaching math, there will always be prayer in school.”
“Walking the ‘gauntlet,’-- the school bus aisle, being judged on appearance, ugh!”
Oh, how I could relate to that particular misery. And if a numbered scale wasn’t bad enough for those boys to call out, they weren’t above resorting to doing impressions of dogs barking to drive their devastating point home …
“We had race riots when I was in 10th grade. Integration was closing and mixing schools. It was terrifying. Blood on the sidewalks, students rushing for the buses. We had 3,000 students at my high school,” wrote a friend who felt her experience made it possible to relate to the fear today’s students are facing.
“Being underdeveloped and having to change in front of others after gym.”
And because it’s always good for a running gag:
“Nuns teaching Sex Ed!”
Many of these were darned good chuckles for a few minutes, but not for a moment am I trivializing yet another mass shooting in our schools.
This weekend is Mother’s Day. Many are celebrating and giving thanks for the women who raised them. And the greatest gift, I’d guess, for most moms, is having their children kept safe when they leave the house to board the school bus.
May this gift be realized by all. May we also remember those to whom this Sunday will be particularly devastating.