I really thought we were past this.
Today I met a whole bunch of Senior 1 students whom I hadn’t met before. I normally teach Senior 2 students (that’s high school Juniors, in case that is still not clear to you), but each semester there’s one set of poor little Senior 1 students who have to sit through a weekly hour and a half of my hemming and hawing and pacing and sweating — so much sweating — as I try to teach them some serious math. (I do not know anyone who actually enjoys it. Sample student comment from a teacher’s day card I received this year: “I can still remember how your Equation Class shocked me!” This same student wrote a note on Andy’s card saying: “You seem much more easygoing than Jon.”)
Nevertheless some of them were there at the elective fair today, excited to sign up for my newest class on “Math and the Rubik’s Cube.” A lot of them seemed interested; perhaps they were under the impression that this class would be in any way fun, which, I can assure, is a serious misapprehension.
One girl came up to me and said something which I haven’t heard all year: “Are you the brother of Phelps?” Not one of my Senior 2 students has approached me and told me I look like Michael Phelps. This is a big change from last year, when celebrity comparisons were everyone’s favorite game. (Except for Rubik’s cube: that is also everyone’s favorite game, or it will be until I ruin it with math this semester.) But last year Gus and I were Harry Potter/Michael Phelps all the gosh-darn time. This year? A couple of students said that Andy looks like Samwise Gamgee. This is a step down.
But the magic is back! And by magic I mean my passing resemblance to a butter (buthis?) faced swimming star. I changed the subject, of course, but later we got around to talking about her hobbies.
“What do you do in your spare time?”
“Oh, you know,” she said, “I study a lot. And I like to paint.”
“You paint!” I said. “What do you like to paint?”
She lowered her eyes and said, “I painted a picture of Phelps once.”
“His face is in my heart.”
I am back baby. I am so back.
(Late addendum: You know who else is back? Gristle. He came over tonight, asked if he could stay here for a few nights, and promptly told me about how he was pretty sure women couldn’t get hemorrhoids, because, you know, they have periods.)