You know, one nice thing about my audience is, I know I can play with acronyms and get multiple responses.
Like, for example, if I were to say that I think my sons’ school Principal could really benefit from RIF, I know that some folks out there are thinking…
“Oh, is their school library so crappy that they could use the assistance of a visit from the Reading is Fundamental truck?”
To which I could reply, “Yes indeed.”
But I also know some of my other readers are thinking, “Oh damn, he thinks she needs to take a ride on the Reduction in Force bus?”
To which I would also reply, “Yes, indeed.”
Tonight, dear friends, tonight was the night when our school had it’s open house, the first official ‘welcome back’ for students and parents alike.
The Principal, in her infinite wisdom, decided to make tonight at 6:30 PM a mandatory event attended by parents and students, an event where she introduced herself, the staff and the faculty, and then read the school’s mission statement to the crowd.
I’ll say one thing. You can learn a lot about the mentality of a group of upper management by the mission statement… and depending on what it’s like, how proud they are of it.
After that, THEN we all were sent to the classrooms for the teachers to give their new students and the parents or guardians some nice powerpoint presentations.
Why did we have this event, an event that I’m sure caused some families to cancel Labor Day vacation plans in order to be present?
Why, it was to build a strong community. Community was mentioned multiple times.
Call me cynical and jaded, but if your idea of building a community is ordering everybody with a child that attends your school to be at the event in order to find out what class you’ll be in on Tuesday, and they have to show up because they love their kids and don’t want them left out… well, is it really fostering a sense of community when people have no choice but to show up? Really?
Anyway, something happened, just a little side note, a brief moment while everyone was waiting for the event to kick off that Cassie pointed out to me, an event that almost caused me to lose it right there in the school gymnasium.
The gymnasium has very high walls, with narrow windows ringing ’round the entire upper perimeter. This allows natural sunlight to enter the gym, but keeps the glass up high enough for errant basketballs to lose oomph before reaching escape vectors.
The event, as I stated earlier, was slated to begin at 6:30. This just happened to be brilliantly timed to coincide with the perfect angle of incidence so that the sun’s golden rays lanced blindingly into the gym, to shine directly into the eyes of anyone standing behind the podium on the stage.
The Principal, standing upon the very, very wide stage and positioned behind the podium, noticed the sun shining into her eyes. I would say it was hard for anyone to miss, but oh well. I gave her points for realizing something was out of the norm.
The Principal, squinting up into the Sun, picks up the podium, and begins to drag it along the stage towards her right. Drag, drag, drag. Looking for shade.
Now, while I could mock her for doing so because, as I said before, the windows ring the entire perimeter and, you know, it’s Sun all the way around, there was method to her actions.
In the direct center of the windows was a single, narrow pillar. A cunning person, perhaps desiring to find that one succulant sliver of shade, could slide the podium until it was lined up to take advantage of the angle of incidence of the Sun behind the stone column.
So, she slid the podium all the way to her right.
Then, having run out of stage, she stopped at the edge, and, having not found the shade of which she sought, picked it back up and slid her way the entire length of the stage to her left.
This action, alas, also resulted in failure, and a continued presence of Sun in da face, for she failed to move smoothly enough to detect the presence of shade during the brief moment her path of travel intersected the proper point in space.
Now, I was already shaking my head sadly at this pitiful sight, despondent at the thought of the likely future of our impressionable youth, and the likelihood of hearing my son grow up to learn to ask, “Would you like fries with that”, and turned my gaze away from the sad spectacle.
Cassie, however, poked me gently and gestured back towards the stage, where a new tableau had begun to form.
A new presence had joined the Principal on the stage. This new lady had a brisk stride, and a firm and determined look about her stern visage.
As the Principal looked on befuddled, gazing directly into the Sun, holding the podium in her half-hearted grip, this newcomer grabbed the podium, pulled it from her slack grasp, and pointedly turned to face away from the Sun towards the BACK of the stage, where the shadow of the pillar could clearly be seen against the bright glare of the Sun on the walls.
Having taken this daring and original step, the newcomer followed this bold move up by clearly correlating the position of her own shadow on the wall with the current location of the shadow cast by the pillar, and then moved her own body, and the podium, so that her shadow intersected the shadow of the pillar cast on the wall.
Having thus found the correct location, she set the podium down, thereby providing the Principal with blessed, blessed shade.
I looked quizzically towards Cassie, and she answered my unspoken question with two words;