Thursday, March 17, 2011


I'm still walking down memory lane. Here's another of my work stories, with some editing, originally posted May 22, 2007:

I walked into the office of a junior high on my school route yesterday. One of the secretaries told me, "Don't look over at Debbie's desk. There's a kid being sick." Human nature being what it is I had to look. Debbie was typing, which is what I usually see her doing. There was a boy on his knees leaning over her trash can, vomiting.

The girl who told me not to look was grimacing, as was the other girl across from her. They are both young women who don't have children. Debbie, on the other hand, is a mom, so a kid barfing is nothing new to her. Nor should it be in any school. You've got to expect things like that.

Once I talked to a secretary who couldn't stand the sight of blood. I said, "How can you be a school secretary when kids are coming up to you all the time with cut fingers or waving a bloody stump of an arm?" She said, "I ask someone else to put on a Band-Aid." She told me she had five children, so I asked how she survived their upbringing. She said, "If my husband wasn't home I'd call the neighbor to come over and put on the Band-aids."

So entering a school you never know what you'll see. Custodians tell me kids sometimes shit on the floor, and vomiting is common. What the hell are these kids eating that makes them little puking machines? I haven't thrown up twice in the past 20 years, much less twice a week like some of these kids. Or could it be…stress? For some kids just the thought of school, taking a test, or being late with an assignment is enough to cause last night's dinner and this morning's Cheerios to make a quick trip backwards through the esophagus.

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