The Fly Shower

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Can love be an activity?

With all the recent efforts to dissolve our use of labels and other convenient demarcations of biased perception, I thought: why not teach kids that, for all intents and purposes, labels are alive, well and currently screwing them all over? The royal We uses labels to establish insta-opinions of people when actually talking to them would take far too long; also, We employs labels to refer to people whose names we do not know (“you know, the tall, dark, ubiquitous-looking one…”); and We reads labels so that we know what percentage of prejudice We eats with each serving. We (meaning all of us) would like to toss labels back into the barrel of superficiality from which they came, but unfortunately this will not happen as long as human vision can discern between various types of skin color, dress, demeanor, and sexual dimorphism, and as long as human psychology yearns so deeply for the creation of an in-group (and, therefore, subsequent out-groups).

With this in mind, I decided to teach my kids about demographics. We had a brief discussion about what demographics meant (we established them based on four traits: age, gender, culture/race, and common activity) and then I turned on the radio and had them guess for which demographic each station was aiming.

These were their expert (and accurate) suppositions:

97.9 (La Mega) – young Spanish people who like to dance
100.3 (Z100) – young people who like MTV
101.1 (Jack) – old white people who like to sit down

..and various others. When I finally got to Hot 97 (my least favorite of the New York radio stations due to its incessant deposits of 50 Cent), I fielded one of the more poignant questions I’ve ever experienced as a teacher. After arriving at the fact that young, brown people like rap music, we tried to establish a common activity for Hot 97’s listeners. A lone hand went up:

“Um, Mr. Flyshower… can *love* be an activity?”

I deflected the comment to talks of familial hugs and kisses, thus saving myself from officially having crossed the ever-wavering line between what is acceptable to talk about and my getting fired.

Demographics will never be discussed again.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

defeated

Ironically for someone who has never voted for a successful political candidate on any level, ever, I was actually undefeated in my own personal quests for quasi-public elected office… until today.

In fourth grade, I successfully squandered the candy-bribing efforts of the fifth grader running against me for Roosevelt Elementary School Secretary. The winner of this race was anointed to the coveted job of Friday ice cream seller, which included the even greater weekly power-yielding caveat of choosing the person with whom you sold. In my childhood I had two friends (neither of whom liked me) and I saw the Secretaryhood as being my smoothest ticket to friendship by bribery. I won that race because I was the only boy willing to run for such a sissy-sounding office and totally cornered the boy vote.

Exploiting my comfort level with my sissy side once more, I ran for Commissioner of Assemblies in high school. This required being ok with being called the “Com. of Ass.” at a time when my ass was quite vulnerable. I ran on a platform that relied on the popularity of my running mate and rode his coattails to certain infamy in extremely small circles.

In college I was appointed Intramural Chair at my eating club and subsequently took a perennial last-place team (we had finished last for the prior 14 years) to an early lead in the standings simply by getting people to show up for events (apparently, homosexuals are closet athletes just as much as athletes are closet homosexuals). This caused a stir on the street and a buzz in our club that propelled me to the Vice-Presidency the following year. Of course, my speech helped: I started by addressing the ultra-hippy crowd in a Seersucker that I quickly peeled off once I realized that my superhero services were needed. I ran back into the room wearing leopard skin Speedos, a baby blue cape and some of those blue beauty goggles that are made of plastic filled with water. I’m pretty sure I said some things after that, but the election was won as soon as people saw the power behind my nipples.

...and then there was today. I was narrowly defeated in my quest to become my school’s Union Delegate by a man I do not respect. Yes, I should have schmoozed the crowd a bit, introduced myself to people I didn’t know and perhaps responded to his Bush-esque posters that were plastered all over the teacher’s lounge with some swiftboat accusations of my own, but I did none of these things. I let my arrogance guide me to defeat while the whole time I had assumed victory. I missed out on what would have been a wonderful opportunity due to the very hubris I criticized two sentences ago. And it bothers me. It really, really bothers me, and I’m trying to figure out why.

Is it because I was convinced that I could do a better job than he and therefore am sad for my colleagues? Or is it because I lost what was essentially a popularity contest to a total douchebag?

Please call 866-IDOLS 06 for “feel sorry for colleagues” and 866-IDOLS 07 for “douchebag.” You can vote as many times as you want and the winner receives jack shit, just like I did today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

a classroom is no place for inner peace... or is it?

In typically archaic fashion, the school at which I teach tracks students into achievement groups based on their performance on high-stakes standardized tests (we have President Bush to thank for ensuring that No-rich-white-Child-is-Left-Behind-with-the-poor-brown-kids). This year I lucked out and got some kids who actually scored high on last year’s test, which might ostensibly imply that my students this year are “smart.”

In actuality, though, the smart kids on the grade are being taught by my ex-girlfriend (she had the better lawyer). I, on the other hand, got the class who just missed being in the honors class, the students who scored high on the test and would actually have aced it if they, in fact, were at all in touch with reality.

In this way, I feel that my students are an excellent reflection of myself. Book smarts they have, as long as the book does the thinking for them. Were they able to pay attention for more than four like motions, maybe they would actually be able to follow directions, too.

Perhaps this is why it was so utterly sweet to watch my kids do yoga on Monday. A drunken Saturday night conversation led to a very sober meeting of a new friend of mine, Yael, and my 26 little ADHD angels. At first, giggle warnings were on high as (hahahaha) people fell over and (eeeeeeeww!) took off their shoes. But after about ten minutes, I swear, I think they got it. When I left the room to talk to my adoring principal, they were still at the giggle stage, but when I came back there were 26 evenly-spaced cross-legged lotus children collectively chanting “om,” our very favorite sound of oneness.

My mother would have been proud.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

sparks will fly

so part of my new approach to life is relinquish control of parties at the loft to relieve my genetically influenced host anxiety. simply put, i will now play guest at my own parties rather than throw them. this work will be done by my roommates.

so far, it has worked very well:



apparently, an unintended side effect of relinquishing control of things is that you introduce the possibillity of their being sponsored by a really crappy alcoholic energy drink. i say this because sometime between my leaving the house this morning and my returning to ice my ankle, it was determined in the aether that our cinco de mayo party will be sponsored by sparks.

ah, freedom. mexican freedom. mexican SPARKLY freedom. THAT is what we're going for, and THAT is what we will have.

oh and if you're reading this you're like totally invited.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

states vs. countries

so, apparently, i picked a bad monday to miss school. eleven other faculty members (out of 60 total) also decided to stay away yesterday, though the rest of them were in support of the immigration rally that occurred in manhattan.

i, on the other hand, missed school due the lack of support coming from my ankle (see previous post).

so, apparently, one of my students went up to the substitute yesterday and said: "i know why he's absent today - he's an immigrant! he's from CALIFORNIA!"

so adorably ignorant, these kids.

hence, today's lesson was on states versus countries. apparently, brooklyn is a state and the world is a country. and the president uses the army to attack other planets.

teaching is the best! tune in again for more hilarious episodes of "kids say the dumbest things"

FYI - here is a visual update on my ankle, day 4:

Monday, May 01, 2006

could you repeat that a little less clearly, please?

one of the two jims who lives in my apartment is a curator for the seville bicentennial, a show that will go up in espana in october of this year (for more information, see www.foundacionbiacs.com). aside from being the primary influence behind my recent fauxhawk/moustache combination, jim is an altuna, PA product who offers with a slight lisp his bitingly poignant musings on affairs (big and small) free of charge to all those who walk through my door.

as i am taking the day off from work due to my inability to walk (see previous post), i have the privelidge of hearing jim work from home, which mostly involves talking to europeans artists who seem to have a unique combination of being both demanding and clueless.

here are some snippets from this side of the line:

"even his assistant calls it porky's, so it's ok"

"i'm sure, frau schliegen, you are aware that the work is part of a trilogy, yes?"

"ha ha, both inches and metric system - is he crazy?!?"

what is beautiful is that jim's accent changes with each person that he talks to. according to the man himself, his interlocutors cannot understand him otherwise.

in the absence of a magical voice-replay box on my blog, you will have to settle for a picture of jim and me, with aforementioned hairstyle:

Saturday, April 29, 2006

i jacked my ankle so i started this blog

while playing basketball yesterday, i was taking it nowitski-style to the local neighborhood teenagers when it occurred to me that it had been some time since my last injury. i thought, why not injure myself now in the hopes that i may be prevented from leaving my apartment and therefore write my "master's" thesis (unironically due on 6/6/06) rather than being tempted to galavant in local bars with my peers?

lucky for me, i have an eerie sense of determination and drive when it comes to self-handicapping. i gave my defender a little what-what shake, shuffled my chicken legs toward the basket, leaned left, jumped right, double clutched and lofted the ball with the softest of ease toward the basket. afterward, i was told that the shot actually went in, extending our lead to 13-9, but was unable to see it for myself as my foot had decided to land squarely on the bridge of my defender's foot rather than the relative safe-haven of the brooklyn asphalt.

were there a magic life-replay box on my blog, you'd all be wince right as you watched my momentum boing my leg into a 90 degree angle with my shoes.

in the absence of such, all i have is this:



incidentally, my plan to work on my thesis has backfired into the creation of this blog. i hope you enjoy it, eh?

test

This is a test post. Jason Kidd beats his wife, and is overrated.