A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

05 September 2010

What I Dread Most About Summer Ending

(My fourth grade report card. In case you are wondering what my teacher, Mrs. Zoltanski [who had to be 105 if she was a day], wrote -- see bottom of blog.)

A couple months ago I went to the library here in town because my daughter needed to do some book reports to fulfill her summer reading requirement. Personally, I always thought the summer reading list was inherently the same as "homework during the summer" and, had I been given that chore during my vacations growing up instead of the obligatory "What I Did During Summer Vacation" thematic report, I would have been an even more bitter person than I am now. Or at least a different one.

For some people, who took vacations, the "What I Did During Summer Vacation" paper probably was a nice little way for little Jimmy or Becky to show off how much money their families had. "We went to Disneyworld in our brand new car that daddy bought with his summer vacation bonus at the law firm."

Oh, well, I had to be more inventive than that because we never went anywhere and back when my father was a welder, they made pretty much minimum wage...hence the "never went anywhere" comment prior.

This is where I am 99.8 percent certain teachers only doled out this busy work for us the first day of school so that they could recover from their alcohol induced "last-day-of-my-sanity" hurrahs. Undoubtedly, years and years ago some brilliant teacher, who probably had a massive hangover, invented this task as a subterfuge while he took refuge napping at...or under...his desk for a good 40 minutes.

I am also convinced teachers don't read this drivel because, Number 1...who wants to read about some kid whose father just bought a brand new Mercedes when your 1972 Nova with the passenger door's window trashbagged over...is sitting out in your designated teacher's parking spot? And, Number 2..."inventive" kids like me never got the "Can I see you after class?" shout-out.

Having "first day jitters" is not an uncommon occurrence for kids returning to school following a three-month long hiatus/reprieve...I got my jitters for one reason and one reason only: That dreaded "What I Did During Summer Vacation" paper. I knew it was coming...it was inevitable, and inevitably I didn't have anything, yet again, to write about. Nothing...that really happened...that is.

And here's the proof of why I'm so certain not one teacher ever read those reports: I always made up things bordering on the near impossible and of the "highly improbable" genre. My vacation destinations made a trip to Oz and Wonderland seem commonplace. My head was filled with more insanity than the combined episodes of "H.R. Pufnstuf".

In a nutshell, I was a nutjob.

And, not once...not one single time did a teacher ever ask me what I had been sipping, snorting, smoking, or injecting. Not once.

All of us kids sitting there could have (and seriously, we should have) put the exact same vacation story on our papers...and I'm convinced we all would have had varying degrees of grades. I am, again, 99.8 percent certain of this because one year I wrote about taking an out of body experience to Mars during the summer and got "Excellent! -- A+ -- I wish I could have gone along!" inscribed upon it, in red ink no less.

While this all actually happened...and I credit having to resort to my imagination much, much more of a learning tool than any mouse-laden tour of Disneyland ever could have been...this wasn't the original "theme" of this blog. This was all just an elaborate set-up for my next one, which is all about my "find" at my local library a couple months ago.

So, stay tuned for Part 2 - in a day or two.

For those of you who are curious as to what the first two marking period comments shown say...here you go:

First Marking Period: I gave Mariann a B in conduct because I did not want to keep her off the honor roll with a C. However, she must refrain from talking as much as she has been doing to maintain that mark.

Second Marking Period: Mariann is a very good student but she has handed in papers carelessly written. This is probably due to the fact that she is trying to write as fast as thoughts come into her mind. It is an asset to be a speed-reader but not a speed-writer.

(Also, I don't imply all teachers get drunk on the eve of the first day of school...but I do have my suspicions about a couple of the ones I had.)


  1. HA--I don't think we ever had to write those "vacation" papers, but I would not have had anything to write either. Of course, going to a Catholic school, my teachers might have gotten shocked wince my imagination would have probably taken me not to "Mars" but to "Uranus"!!!

    We only took a few family vacations-the last one I believe was the one where my father backed into me with the car.

  2. The comment about how your conduct grade should have been a C was simply uncalled for.

    Teachers can be cruel. Trust me on that one.

  3. Does anyone else remember having to do these every year? Just like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story", we had to do a summer one and a Christmas one. I basically dreaded both.

    Chris - I swear it was never even me talking...it was Donna Lucovich...but her mother was a teacher, so she never got into trouble.

    Donna, if you're out there and by some odd stroke of grand coincidence, are reading this...fess up already.

  4. btw, I was always getting "bad grades" in the talking depatment....my teachers always commented that they were having to move to to the front of the room so I didn't have anyone to talk to LOL

    Last time was in high school!! Can you believe they actually cared in high school! LOL

  5. I did write those "My Summer Vacation" essays too. And I made up stuff. I really didn't do much for summer vacation either. I knew I could not write, "I slept late, played, and roller skated around the block every day and I fought with my sister just about every day. The end."

  6. Linda - If you would have left out the "roller skating" bit, I think we could have grown up together...sounded exactly like what I did.

    In retrospect, I bet a bunch of the kids didn't do anything, either, but it was always those ones like Linda Mulholland and Paul DeSandre (geez - I still remember their names)...who always did things like go skiing and such...so I always felt like we were the poorest family in the school. I'm sure we weren't...but close to it...when you're a kid and everyone else is showing off about what they did or what presents they got, it's either tell the truth or embellish a little in the stories. I chose embellishment. :)

  7. Nanners - Yep, that's a bit excessive in high school. As long as we didn't kill anyone, it seemed, we could do whatever we wanted in high school more or less.

    Nah...it wasn't that bad - but I don't remember the teachers getting too bent out of shape about talking...unless it was during tests.

  8. You should've received an A+ for being inventive enough to make up interesting stories about summer vacations that never existed. And I disagree with your teacher about speed writing. The fact that you had so many ideas and WANTED to put them down on paper is wonderful and should've been encouraged, not discouraged, for God's sake, even if the writing wasn't perfect. She's lucky she didn't destroy your love of writing, and so are we are, come to think of it.

  9. My favorite report card comment from a teacher was as follows, regarding my conduct, and I quote:

    "Jimmy has been acting very childish."

    I was seven years old at the time. Well, DUH!

  10. I would say it (women are inferior) only my wife would beat the crap out of me.

  11. LOL!!! This blog cracked me up. I have a lot of teachers in my family. Truthfully, few if any come to work hungover EVER; but they are human & do go into work with more love for video days then even the kids do I think. As for the assignment, I'm positive many teachers DON'T read them, or just skim them. Most teachers I personally know DO read them; but use them as a gauge for the students grammar instead of WHAT they are writing about. Like mindless editing. I don't know too many however, who assign this essay any longer. I remember having to do this, if not EVERY year, then nearly so... Long after Elementary school too, in JR. & even High School. I also almost NEVER went anywhere during the summer "vacation" & had to either get really creative in trying to stretch out my boring summer. Generally didn't wake up till afternoon. Sometimes my mom would cook breakfast; but usually just ate cereal. Turned on the tv & watched channel 4 for 2 hours before changing it to channel 7 for an hour. Fought with my brothers over legos one day, t.v. remote the next. ETC... for a page or three. I think I got creative & invented vacations sometimes too as I loved to lie back then, viewed it as a challenge to get the wildest story believed. Until my late teens when I realized I had a heck of a time telling the truth. I have told very few lies since then just because it's more challenging not because it's morally proper. :)