If you are someone who wants a lot of traffic on your blog, I will give you a tip: wait until tomorrow night and then write a post titled “Vice Presidential Drinking Games”. I guarantee your traffic numbers will explode- mine did.
The funny thing (and by ‘funny’, I mean ‘distressing enough I wished I had an unhealthy addiction to take the pain away’) about suddenly finding your blog getting thousands of hits a day is that it just increases the amount of people who will find your post and NOT like it. Who will hate what you’ve said, who will call you a moron, or unfunny or a ‘bitch with a little brain’. Who will read one post and decide they hate you. I found myself reading multiple posts like that over the weekend, each one bothering more than the last. I left a comment on one- a comment I thought was kind but it turned into a bigger mess. And although I was annoyed and felt that the fault was with the person who misinterpreted the post to begin with, (and yes, it’s possible that a DRINKING GAME post gets misinterpreted) I backtracked. I made a joke. I downplayed what I said. I didn’t chose to fight.
Which got me thinking- there’s always people we back away from, things that we refuse to fight about. I don’t argue with my grandfather, even when I know he’s wrong (but for the record Czechoslovakia NO LONGER EXISTS). I won’t rise to fight about the Canadian election nor will I argue with strangers over whether I think it’s fair they judge me solely on one post they didn’t understand to begin with. I don’t argue with people during stressful wedding planning stages, co-workers who use teaching methods I don’t like or those zealots who start to foam at the mouth whenever they begin talking about ‘new facebook’ vs. ‘old facebook’. For whatever reason, those things aren’t worth the fight to me.
Today I found something that I will fight over.
Today I taught grade six. I walked up and down rows, inhaling Calgon (you were so right!) and Axe. One boy, Avery, had decided to impersonate Satan for the day. He refused to do work, he punched his desk, he yelled at a classmate. I pulled him into the hall and with my very deepest teacher voice, warned him he was on thin ice. He cried, said sorry and missed his recess.
After the last bell has rung and all the kids have left the class, he sauntered over to me and told me that he couldn’t do his homework because he had accidentally ripped the page. Into tiny pieces. All over. I told him that I didn’t have another copy, that there’s was good chance he was going to get a zero on it but that he should come early and talk to his teacher in the morning. He started mumbling and I followed him. That’s when he glanced back at me, saw that I was right behind him and then SLAMMED THE DOOR IN MY FACE.
There was a second I thought of doing nothing. My day was over, my time card punched out. But that thought quickly got pushed to the back of my head. I dropped my papers and ran after him. I weaved through a grade 1 class, a dozen grade 3 kids practicing some hopscotch routine while throwing coats at each other (kids are weird), past a group of wrestling 14 year olds- down through a maze of young girls using their high pitched squeals as their main flirting technique and the old boys who found such girlish charms appealing. I found Avery standing with his friends and promptly began a tongue lashing that started with “If you ever even consider doing that again…” and ended with ” you will be sent down to the office so quick your head will be spinning and we will wait there for your parents, who I can guarantee- will be ashamed to hear of your behavior.”
After much talking, he apologized, we shook hands and I walked away. No blood was lost, no organs damaged. I realized that although sometimes it takes a big man to walk away, sometimes it takes a bigger man to stay the fight and chase a small child through a school and give him a verbal beat down that leaves you breathless.
Door slamming. That’s something I’m willing to fight about.