Me and p.e.
(from a letter to Bob Demmon)
Since I started substitute-teaching in the local high schools I have avoided physical education classes, having had an awful time in p.e. in high school myself. (Because I was clumsy and slow, I was in the equivalent of p.e. special education for most of high school.) I got tricked last Friday, though. The machine that calls to give me sub assignments said I'd be in a driver ed class, and I've done those before -- the kids take practice tests and you wait around a lot, just like at the DMV, but they all want their licenses so they pretty much behave. I told the machine I'd take the job.
But when I got to the school I found that the teacher had p.e. classes all that day. No DMV. I considered walking out, and then I thought, what the heck, might as well face this thing and take p.e. again after 45 years.
And I had a fine time. The kids were wonderfully rowdy and rude, and they seemed to appreciate my sense of humor, which often gets me into trouble in academic classes. When I pretended to miscount the number of laps they'd taken they laughed at me good naturedly. I'm oversized and impulsive myself, just like these teenagers, and I actually heard two of them telling others, "He's cool" -- I never hear that in sit-down classrooms.
I felt right at home. Their kind of behavior, loopy and energetic, drives me nuts in the classroom, but out on the grass (Astroturf, actually) it worked just fine. And I'm old; they can forgive me for stumbling around.
I liked those p.e. classes better than any English class I've ever taught. I like "The Contender," too. Look! I'm a jock!
King of the Demmons
My son, Casson
, is the current King of the Demmons: I typed "Demmon" into the Google search engine today and he showed up at the top of the list of 10,400 entries.