Notta Reads Labels

Yeah About That:

Notta Reads Labels

“You do know,” Notta observed, “that most the connections you make for our cherubs with other countries have to do with food?”

“I suppose so,” I said. “Seems like a common thing: eating. You see how they are on ‘Donut Day’ when someone gets their GED.”

“Yes, but do they know what’s IN those things?”

“I doubt it. Can’t be sure they read the labels on half the stuff they eat,” I said, thinking of the mass-produced fodder my student consume on break and through math classes (helps them concentrate, or so they tell me).

“Even though almost everybody down to the advertising people in between their reality TV shows tell them they should.”

I made a short, laughing sound. “How many of them listened when someone told them they shouldn’t drop out of school?”

“Well, if they had, we’d be out of a job,” Notta pointed out.

“True.” I sighed. “No, I think the only labels our cherubs read come from social media, directed at other people.”

“Like what?”

Please note: Notta has always been of the opinion that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the like are colossal wastes of time and energy.

“Pick up the phone,” she’d say. “Pay a visit. Look somebody in the face and say that stuff to ‘em. I bet there’d be a lot less ugliness in the world if people would stop looking at their damned phones and look at each other.” I don’t have the energy to argue with her on a daily basis.

However, she had asked a question, so I answered.

“Well, like ‘snowflake.’”

“Meaning someone is rare, unique, beautiful and delicate?”

“Delicate, yes, but usually it means someone who can’t take the heat of ‘the real world,’ whatever that means today.”

“Well, I’d rather be a snowflake, a thing of beauty, than some gas bag determined to melt it. What else?”

I thought. “Last one I saw was ‘libtard.’”

Notta frowned. “Meaning?”

“It’s a blending of ‘liberal’ and the old profanity ‘re-tard.’ What it MEANS, I think, depends on your point of view.”

“It sounds like an insult.”

“Well, the general definition means a liberal who’s so tangled in political correctness that their awareness of reality is, well, retarded, or held back. Problem is, there are a lot of people out there who simply use it to label someone with a differing opinion, as if that settles everything in the insulter’s favor.”

“Opinion of what?”

“Race, religion, politics, feminism, body-shaming. Name something. It’s all over the place.”

Notta humphed. “And having a Twit-in-Chief who specializes in insults doesn’t help. I always thought name-calling was ignorant. You know, middle-school bully type of stuff.”

“Sounds like you put a label on someone right there.”

“So I’m up with the times. I’m modern. Still, I don’t like bullies or people who act like bullies.”

I shrugged. “Bullying, like greed, apparently is good these days.”

Notta made her disgusted noise. “All that means is some people never matured past middle school.”

I laughed. “Maybe we need to put labels on people like grocery items. Instead of ‘sell by’ dates, we need ‘won’t mature past’ dates.”

Notta nodded. “But don’t be so negative. Maybe we could have ‘should mature to adulthood by’ dates.”

“That would be one long label.”

“Eh, they can abbreviate: SMAT-AB dates.”

“And if they don’t mature by the date?”

“What do you do with milk that’s soured? Or vegetables that go off? Toss ‘em out and get something better. Something that makes us all healthy and happy.”

“Some people don’t have a problem with political immaturity.”

“Yeah, and I bet their refrigerator stinks, too. Look, it’s like with food: once they realize it’s actually hurting them, they’ll get rid of it.”

“As opposed to hurting other people.”

Notta sighed. “It’s like our students. If it makes them feel good about themselves, it’s good. If it makes them think, it sucks. Keeps them in their little comfort zones.”

I had another Teacher’s Moment. “So maybe it’s our job to get them to read outside of their comfort zones. You know, like reading labels on food.”

“Oh for crying out loud! Now you’re back to food again!”


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