As I was leaving the building to head out to the field yesterday, I heard a girl yel from down the stairs, "Hey, Mr. Epiph! You suck!"
I have a pretty friendly relationship with this girl, and she had a big grin on her face, but I had to stop, go down to her, and tell her, "Uh, excuse me? You never talk to a teacher or an adult that way."
She cowered, looking like she was going to cry. In a quiet voice, she asked, "But I say that to you everyday. 'What's up?' What's wrong with that?"
Oops. She said, "Hey Mr. Epiph! What's up?" That makes a lot more sense, actually.
I apologized, told her what I thought she had said, and told her to have a good weekend. Oops.
One of my favorite students is the little - and when I say little, I mean it - girl named, uh, "Jewel." I taught her last year, and we became close, and this year she's always running up to me and saying hi and telling me all about her little adventures. And she's so perky and funny that I just love talking to her. Another teacher described her accurately as just like a miniature middle-aged woman, with all the mannerisms and vocal inflections squeezed into a 4'6" frame. Sometimes, I feel like I can pick her up by her beltloop and carry her around like a bag.
Now, Jewel has a phenomenal sense of comic timing, and I love to make fun of her because she can dish it right back to me. Now that I am not her teacher, a lot of our conversations revolve around cracking on each other. So I saw her yesterday with a lacrosse racket after baseball practice.
"So, Jewel, you're playing lacrosse this year, huh? That's great!"
She looked at me, waiting for the crack. I was holding it back. "Yes, (this nickname she has for me), I'm giving it a shot."
"And how are you doing so far?"
She's still waiting for it, I can tell, but she's loosening up a little. "She says I'm doing good, I need to work on my aim though."
We continue for a little bit, and I'm ready to leave. So I say, "Well, Jewel, have a great weekend. And I'm really happy they don't have a minimum height requirement to play lacrosse."
She laughed, but without missing a beat, she said, "Yeah, and it's too sad they didn't have those pants in a bigger size. Looks like they're a little tight."
And that was it. (And, by the way, my baseball practice sweatpants were pretty baggy, but they were tight by ghetto standards, I guess.)
Jewel raised her hand to give me a high five, and told me we were even, one to one, and sent me on my way.
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