Go Easy on the Coffee
I am not a fan of Halloween but it doesn’t make much difference, because I live on a mountain and have not been visited by trick-or-treaters since some time in the early nineties. I mean, I like giving out the candy and everything that has to do with kids having fun; I just do not like participating myself, primarily because of the costume thing.
I hate not knowing who is behind the other masks. I am sure a competent therapist would take no more than one session to pin down the cause of this to my anxiety issues, as neatly as a shot glass of Jameson, but that does not alter matters one iota.
In an effort to break down some of these barriers, early on in my teaching career, my partner in the classroom, Paul, did everything in his power to coerce me into changing my opinion about this fall holiday. From the first year I taught onward, he and I did the Halloween party for the middle schoolers, including the assembling of a haunted house attraction the first couple of years I taught.
Traditionally, the party took place sixth and seventh periods, thereby allotting around ninety minutes of class time to celebrate the occasion. Included in the usual slate of activities was a costume contest, with a panel of three judges evaluating all costumes and awarding prizes accordingly.
Students were encouraged to dress in costume for the entire day, the one stipulation being they could not disguise their faces. Teachers had to know who the little jaboney in the costume was at all times, and the probability that any number of mask-swaps could be in effect, was a real crowd-downer from the teachers’ perspective.
|Paul, as the invisible man|
Paul was big into the costume thing, an obvious yang to my yin. He always put much thought and creativity into his costumes, but never could he duplicate the success he/we achieved, with the Siamese Twins concept that we pulled off at some point in the early years of our partnership.
If you are going to be conjoined with another human being, you had better be fairly comfortable with this individual, because if you are not, four hours would seem like a lifetime. Additionally, we could have taken the easy route, and had Annie sew our shirt-sleeves together, but no, we had to go the whole nine meters.
Annie sewed the left leg of my favorite Levis, to the right leg of Paul’s favorite jeans, compensating for our difference in height, by aligning the bottoms of the pants, and letting the rest follow suit. You simply have no idea.
The irony of the costume is that Paul, the math and science teacher, the more left-brained of the two of us, conceived of the idea. I, the more right-brained of the two, went along with the gag.
Need to xerox something up in the staff room? Want another cup of coffee from the office in Paul’s classroom? Phone call for Mr. O? The kids must have had a field-day.
We had to coordinate every step we took, or else one of us would be in for a rude awakening. How comical must the students have thought that was? To see your normally dignified, tie-wearing teachers, inextricably attached to one another? It was so outrageous it actually got their attention.
Whether you hated us or loved us, you had to hand the prize for the best costume to us. Unfortunately, having occurred prior to the age of camera-phones, I have no photos of the event.
All I have is a memory of the two of us sauntering through the staffroom door, at peak time before school started, and the looks the elementary staff gave us.