"Nice block quotes," I commented on a Favorite Former's FB status update this morning. For the sake of this post, I'll call said Favorite Former Fred Jones. At the school on The Mountain, all students eventually matriculated into my Senior Year ELA class. Even Fred Jones, whose reputation proceeded him. As in, for years before Fred Jones actually sat in my classroom, I had been hearing over the school loudspeaker, "Fred Jones, please come to the front office" or "Fred Jones, if you are on campus, please report to the front office." The hooligan in me recognized the hooligan in Fred. And when Fred finally ended up on my roster, during the first full Zoom Year, I said, "Fred Jones. At long last. Your reputation proceeds you." And Fred Jones laughed, and we were off to the races for the 2020-2021 School Year, and Fred was one of my Best Students that year. Hands down. Work done. Camera on. Always on time. Because though he may have a bit of the hooligan, Fred Jones is Good People.
So this morning, I commented "Nice block quote" on Fred Jones' FB status in which he properly (by MLA standards) quoted Limp Bizkit. I never really cared how well kids mastered MLA Standards. I cared about how they wrote and about how they engaged thoughts and whether or not they could express themselves clearly enough so as to be understood. Of course there were the kids who, like me when I was a Kid, were truly interested in Language, and for those kids I always delivered the goods. I know I did because Favorite Formers still talk about the Goods I delivered when I was their Classroom Teacher, and also just their Teacher. And sometimes, yeah, to lean into that old, cringe-worthy cliche, sometimes my Classroom Students became my Classroom Teachers. Sometimes my Students were my Teachers. And still. That's how the relationship between Teachers and Students works. At its Objective Best, the learning is going both ways.
So some kids owned MLA Standards, and State Standards, and flexed all their Grammar & Mechanical Skillz and lived and died academically to learn more of the English Language Scaffolding. And some kids really struggled with MLA Standards, State Standards, and Grammar & Mechanical Skills, but were still Great Thinkers, and sometimes even Great Writers. And this has often been the problem in American Education, and in American Humanity, it refuses to see outside the Established alignment and parenthetical note of fucking Block Quotes.
Do you dig me, reader?
How are you, reader? Are you enjoying the not-technically-summer where you are? In Chicagoland it is very warm and very muggy (at least by my 8 Years An Arizonan body calibration), but everything is blooming (and I have the Seasonal Allergies to prove it), and each morning I go out to my growing Plant Farm on the patio and enjoy myself. And then I go inside and get down to American Business Matters. Like "how am I gonna live now?" Like, "how am I gonna take care of myself now?" Like "How am I going to finish writing this book?" And these questions pretty much absorb every moment of my day, and at 5 pm I stop. Just like that. Because 5 pm is when a Workday ends. After 5 pm time is for eating, and resting, and playing.
The Divorce is still not final. My Ex & Ex Family ghosted me, so I have no idea what is happening. I'm just going about my business, waiting for a settlement to fall from the sky so I can react Correctly. When I get so, so sad about the end of this Relationship, about all the things that happened, I try to turn to my meditation practice. Usually a full 108 of mantras calms me, refreshes me, clears the smoke from my head and heart.
Meanwhile on The Internet, the alcoholic Rightwing Youtuber My Ex was brainwashed by, continues to post to his 2k followers that I am trying to "get him fired" and that I have "Borderline Personality Disorder." I see these Tweets of his because Friends send them to me when they see them. Because this behavior is strange, and because I need all the evidence I can gather to support what may someday have to become My Case. I have so many damning records. I don't look at them often. I drop one in, as they come to me, and as I find them, and then I leave these files alone. If we didn't live in such a cruel iteration of America, I would not keep these things at all and instead let them pass away, like putrid clouds to deteriorate and feed the worms. But we live in an America where Rich Americans can stick it to Poor Americans* like me just because they wanna.
*Rich & Poor are being used, in this context, to refer to amount of $/assets.
And to quote Jay Z, "I might not have passed the bar/but I know a little bit . . . " Document, document, document. This is the American Way because the American Way is deranged with litigation and hell bent on destruction. So I keep records, just the way I did as an American Educator, and with Evidence I can back up my Claims, just as I taught my Classroom Students to do in ELA classes. I can use block quotes, too.
Here's the thing, reader. I know my shortcomings. I am not a Perfect Human, and I never cheated My Ex. And I never told Secrets behind her back. And I never had other Primary Relationships, nor secret identities, nor secret spending habits. Sometimes, maybe, I raised my voice. I never called her a name. I never raised a hand. Often, I cried, and asked, when she was right there in the room, scrolling on her phone, carrying on a Relationship with an Angry White Man from The Internet, "Where did you go?" And in the End, my heart was broken in places I didn't even know existed. My Relationship with My Ex was my First Real and longest. I loved her. Very much so. I loved her, and I lost her to a Right Wing Troll from The Internet who not-so-obliquely tells people on The Internet that I have a mental condition that I do not have. You know me, reader. I'd admit it if I had this shit. I'd be like the fucking Savior of Borderlines if I could help with my Own Lived Experience. Alas, in my decades long involvement in American Psychology & Psychiatry (beginning in childhood), I have never been diagnosed with said condition.
And if you know me, reader, in Real Life, you also know. What the Angry White Man on The Internet says about me is not Me and has, at the end of the day, nothing to do with Me except his savage and cruel influence corroded my Relationship with My Ex who was secretly carrying on a Relationship with this person (that included the giving of my $$ to this person), and who I firmly believe was brainwashed by this person. Do I think this Man from The Internet caused my wife to leave me? Singularly? No, but it sure threw gasoline on any Help we may have gotten for ourselves. Because by the time My Ex walked out on me, on a Sunday morning in February, she and this Man from The Internet had long ago diagnosed me as having "Borderline Personality Disorder" and had for months, at least, been mocking my "wokeness." This is a True Story, reader. Would that it weren't. Fuckin' hell, my dudes.
Bank of America doesn't Tweet, on a regular basis, "Hey Gruber, your wife stole your money!" Arizona Retirement doesn't Tweet, on a regular basis, "Hey Gruber, your wife placed an injunction on your Teacher Pension!" All the painful things My Ex has done to me, financially, can be put away. All the painful things My Ex and her family put me through, and continue to put me through, legally and financially can be Controlled and Put Away. You understand, reader? But this motherfucker? -- Who, yes, I have engaged on his Podcast Twitter which espouses grotesque, barbarically antiquated American Moralism, because it is cathartic for me to push back against his Public Ideas -- he spreads shit about me on The Internet. Shit that My Ex has fed him. Perhaps still feeds him. While everything I "feed" out about My Ex, I feed out right here. Publicly.
The small, acutely painful details (and there are many) are for my doctors, my closest friends, and family and if I'm being completely honest, reader, I've been so traumatized by everything that happened I can barely speak on it still without falling apart completely. But I'm Healing. I'm saving myself. Just like I always have.
Today, I got up early and spent time with the Plant Farm. Then I made arduous medical calls, filled out arduous forms, made more calls, checked statuses, and then I took the $200 My Ex gave me from our Tax Refund to buy myself a few new clothes for summer. It felt indulgent after living, the past three months, on Basic Survival Needs alone. I've had to live on Basic Survival Needs. I'm broke. So I took the small tax refund, and I bought myself some socks, a pair of pants, a couple shirts, and have a little leftover to spare.
And I'm proud of myself. With nothing, and I mean no thing, I am rebuilding. My apartment is very "boho" because I want it to be and because it must be because I have nothing but what has come from donations and the charity of others. PTSD (doctor dx'd) and cancer treatment (dr. issued) fatigue makes it impossible for me to work, and I'm currently in the demoralizing, lengthy process of "hopefully" getting approved for disability. I'd been wanting to go on disability since I left my job on The Mountain, but My Ex forbid it. Not enough income. I wasn't "sick enough." And then I'd always end up thinking, "She's right. I'd need to be much Sicker for Disability." So I worked some down in Tucson, and even that was nearly impossible for me physically and mentally. I did my best. I always do. I made mistakes. I always do. So too, do you. And also you. You, too, of course. And maybe not You, but that's why we all secretly resent you a little bit . . .
Be good, hooligans.