Cats, genies and the ambivalence of August

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As a teacher who values ​​summer, he runs away from classroom commitments[1], August always finds me ambivalent. On the one hand, it is still summer and there are three precious weeks left to prepare and relax before returning to school life.

But it’s August too, which means the summer vacation is over, and every time a back-to-school commercial hits, I have to resist the urge to cry ugly.

However, by the middle of the month, I’m usually ready to return to a routine that, frankly, is good for my mental and physical health. And when the soccer games start in the preseason I can almost smell the autumn leaves and the Sundays in front of the TV, watch soccer for hours and make my donations to Manchester’s bookmakers[2].

But my biggest problem with the end of summer vacation has nothing to do with getting back to the classroom. I enjoy my job teaching writing and literature.

My problem is with the start of school. High school classes start at a ridiculous 7:30 a.m., a fidelity to an idyllic schedule that has been largely out of date in America for over a century. Despite the science that has shown that the objectivity of school schedules is detrimental to the mental and physical health of adolescents, and is also not economically healthy, most public schools persist on this issue.

If asked to define my superpower, it would be sleeping, and the high school schedule is true kryptonite for the sleepy subgroup of society.

See footnote # 5.

So in accordance with my monthly musings, random facts, bad jokes, music links, and random ephemera[3], here are some thoughts for August.

  • The sandwich was – at least officially named – invented on August 6, 1762. The Earl of Sandwich did not want to interrupt a gaming session and asked his servants to put some meat between two pieces of bread. Now imagine where our world would be without gambling. Bless you, Earl of Sandwich.
  • August 5th is National Underwear Day. Plan accordingly. Conversely, August 8th is National Go Commando Day[4].
  • If you haven’t named gym moves after you, you should spare Simone Biles. And can we – please – stop using the personal decisions of our fellow human beings as an impetus to grind political bones and partisan agendas?
  • Happy Birthday Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942).
  • A stranger enters a bar and immediately discovers a foot-sized pianist on the counter playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on a tiny grand piano. In front of the little pianist is a man with a dog face who is milking a draft beer. The stranger sits down next to the dog-faced man and asks what’s going on. The dog-faced man tells the stranger that there is a lantern next to the trash can in the alley in front of the bar, and if he rubs the lantern, a ghost will appear and grant any wish he wants. Without asking questions, the stranger rushes outside into the alley and discovers a lantern next to the dumpster.
  • On August 16, 1977, the “King of Rock n ‘Roll Elvis Presley, 42, died in his bathroom of a heart attack which his family doctor described as the result of chronic constipation. Yet all of this information can be apocryphal in the light of my own travels and experiences[5].
  • The month of August was named after the Roman emperor Augustus. One wonders why there weren’t months named after Nero or Caligula because those would be really interesting months to celebrate.
  • Chaim Bloom just didn’t do enough for the Red Sox at close of trading. This team played their asses all year round – far exceeded expectations – and they needed that endorsement from the Head of Baseball Operations. Bloom failed to do that.
  • A ghost comes out of the lantern and says to the stranger, “I will grant you a wish, any wish you like.” So the stranger says, “I want a million dollars.” The mind nods its head and says, “Done”. Suddenly a million ducks croak and populate the alley and the streets around the bar.
  • On August 6, 1966 – the day after National Underwear Day – the Beatles released the band’s first LSD-inspired album, Revolver, which became the predecessor of their next transformative album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band ”and later her magnum opus“ White Album ”. If “Eleanor Rigby” doesn’t crush your soul, you need a lesson in empathy.
  • I really wish the Manchester people would stop shooting each other. We’re better than that. It’s a very cool city, says the Rhode Island-raised columnist.
  • In July, CCR’s “Whoever stops the rain” met with a response on several levels, both literally and figuratively.
  • After wading through the ducks, the stranger goes back to the bar, shaking his head. He snorts and pushes the guy at the bar – who’s still watching the little man play concerts. “What kind of trick was that?” asks the stranger. The other man sighs. “Oh yes, I forgot to say that the mind is hard of hearing. Do you really think I would have liked a twelve-inch pianist? “
  • For the first time in my life, I agree with Yankee fans. This cat is definitely the MLB’s MVP for the 2021 season. I disagree with the announcer; There is no ambivalence.


[1] Contrary to what many people believe, during these months most teachers are engaged in some type of curriculum work or take summer jobs, in the education sector or outside of it – that is, freelance articles and columns for the community. Many teachers do both. By “assignments in the classroom” I mean grading, lesson planning, contact with parents, meetings, etc.

[2] Certainly, the legalization of sports betting in New Hampshire by Draft Kings has made the neighborhood bookmaker somewhat obsolete; I’m a creature of habit, however, and never bothered to download the app. I also believe in small businesses.

[3] I intend to run this boat until it sinks, although – according to my imagination – it may be time to price life jackets.

[4] I made that up completely. There is no National Go Commando Day.

[5] On the cover of my Bottle of Smoke Press book “Hangover Breakfasts”, which was out of print in 2012, I am standing in front of the Elvis Is Alive Museum on I-80 in Wright City, Missouri -90s. To be honest, I never paid the money to go in and check their information. Decades later I never saw myself in a journalistic role.