November News and Notes

Academic Decathlon Invitational Competition has come and gone, and a pile of neglected work stares me in the face, saying “It’s my turn. You promised.” Sometimes I wish I could be a bad teacher–you know, the ones who arrive right before school starts, leave as soon as it’s over, and don’t assign any work so they don’t have to grade anything. Students love them, at least until the next year when they realize how incomprehensibly behind they are from their “fun” year of doing absolutely nothing.

Congratulations to all my Decathletes; you deserved every medal, and even the gigantic, deadly-looking, pointy trophies. To the top ten: Rest well, rest briefly, then turn your thoughts to district competition, and the slavering, genetically mutated braniacs from Townview you will soon face. To the challenge round ten: Good luck. May the best decathlete win.

As I write this, Grady screams his greetings at the top of his little lungs. Lately he’s reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At times he is a bubbling repository of smiles and inexplicable, sudden laughter. Especially when you rub the top of his head, or make insanely ridiculous faces for him.

Then the transformation begins. Slowly at first–a twitch of the mouth, a wrinkle of the forehead, from pleasant gurgles to grunts of dissatisfaction. Then his rage boils over, as his face turns from pink, to red, to purple. His mouth opens wide to cover half his face, and a silent scream slowly gives way to a shrieking wail that would put a fire truck to shame. His forehead creases, his eyes close, his fists clench, and all of his joints stiffen and shake in uncontrollable fury.

A shadow on the far wall catches his attention, and suddenly his anger evaporates as though it never was. He looks right at you, and smiles, as if to say, “Just Kidding! Now you must love me…”


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