I’ve Been Cursed!

On Friday I received an email from my son Dakota’s Social Studies teacher. In this email she lamented that Dakota has been a real trial for her this school year. It seems that he is something of a class clown and has been causing problems in school. The email went on to ask Trina and I to become involved and help her try and overcome this issue.

Since Trina and my two oldest daughters are all in the education system in some form of teaching capacity they tend to take these kinds of emails very seriously. Usually when I get one of these types of emails I am then subjected to countless horror stories of problem children and how we should all be fearful for the future of society if today’s children are our best hope of survival.

I will usually listen to the first couple of minutes of these stories before I completely zone out. It is not that I don’t care; ok it is that I don’t care. After being married for over a quarter of a century (that always sounds so ancient), she has learned the exact moment when I begin to tune her out.

This usually results in a fairly long lecture where I am chastised for not taking a more active role in the kids’ education or being a better example so that “my son” would not be acting this way. It’s weird, he is always my son when something is broken or there is trouble.

I happened to be talking to my mother over the weekend and telling her about the email from Dakota’s teacher and how I needed to somehow deal with it. I guess I was kind of expecting some motherly advice of how I should handle this so that I didn’t end up getting in as much trouble as Dakota.

Instead I received yet another lengthy lecture about what a horrible child I was. I was reminded of exactly how many times my mother was contacted by the school or a teacher lamenting about what a horrible time they were having with me in class.

It’s funny, I don’t remember any of these stories that she is telling. I began to wonder if perhaps my mom was making this stuff up. After all, she is pretty old (a fact that I have learned never to bring up if I know what is good for me).

Mom began reminding me of each episode of my childhood. I was reminded that in fifth grade I had a desk with an engraved permanent name plate in the principal’s office due to me being a disruptive force in class. Or the time in the seventh grade when my report card had all “A”s but my citizenship grades were “5” on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being failing.

Then of course there was the time in high school where I was thrown out of Psychology when the teacher asked if retarded children should be mainstreamed in society and I replied, “Let my people go.” I was almost positive that my mother was exaggerating.

I told my mother that this was different, I was supposed to be the concerned parent here and I needed to initiate some sort of discipline. After several moments of uncontrolled laughter my mother asked what I proposed to do.

I explained that I thought it was important for Dakota to take responsibility for his behavior and that I felt it was important for him to apologize to the teacher. Ever helpful mom reminded me that I was given similar instructions when I was a kid.

I was sent to school to apologize to the teacher. Later that day my parents received a call from the school. I guess I must have misunderstood the instructions. It seems, “I’m sorry you chose the wrong profession” was not the apology they were expecting. I don’t see how that was my fault, I received incomplete instructions.

At this point I suddenly remembered the words of my mother as I came home from school, “One day you are going to have a son just like you!” Oh my gosh, it was so clear now, my mother cursed me!

How else can you explain it? For the past twelve years I have had to relive several episodes of my own childhood that I would just as soon forget about. I now find myself living in daily terror and I’m worried about Trina too.

I’m not sure she is strong enough to deal with experiments involving house flies in the microwave or cats in her dryer. I’m not sure how to reverse a mother’s curse but for the good of the planet I need to find an antidote.


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