If how long you wait in line is any measure of the worth of something, after four hours we knew we were in store for something truly special. Indeed, there were plenty of ugly and frightful things that jumped out at us and/or swung from trees, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, zombies and the like. We even passed a very realistic Ichabod Crane as well as an army of chainsaw murderers.
One ghastly creation had the nerve to throw his head at me. I refrained from catching it. It fell amid the stacks of hay. The horrid figure civilly asked for it back. It was a good thing he asked nicely, too, because otherwise I might not have been inclined to search amid the bales of hay and oblige. You see, my mom raised me to demand manners even from those without a head!
There were werewolves jumping on the truck and hanging ominously over our heads from the tree branches above.
Fate threw us together with five middle-school students. They were shrieking. They decided to stand up to get a better view of the things that might make a run at their backs. One girl landed on my lap once or twice and stood up only to cling to me to prevent toppling over again. Another landed on my daughter's lap several times. Her friend pointed out, "you're crushing that little kid!" (That little kid takes after her mother. She was laughing her head off.)
They apologized and we accepted. In fact, I told the girl that the ride wouldn't be half so much fun without her teenage contingency. She confessed to her friend that she felt safer having a mom along. It seemed like she could have been one of my students. I decided not to tell her I was a teacher. That might have really frightened her!
At any rate, as we rode on, more glad to survive the four-hour wait than worried about the ghouls that lay ahead, I couldn't stop laughing. I'm pretty sure my oldest was laughing all the way--in between trying to engage the ghouls in pleasant conversation.
So, I asked myself, why do I laugh my head off in situations such as these? Is it some sort of nervous reaction? Is it some sort of defensive mechanism? Or, is the whole thing really hilarious? I think it's probably a little of everything. There's one thing of which I am sure, however. My reaction to those ghouls mirrors my reaction to the educational deformity which knocks every day at my classroom door.
I can't believe the absurdity of it all. It's like ghouls rushing out at me unexpectedly at every turn. It's frightful and horrifying and unbelievable at the same time. They do damage to students, teachers, schools and communities. Who could believe that tests are the measure of human worth for student and teacher? Who could believe that tenure does more harm than good? Who could believe that schools should be run like businesses? Who could believe that "college and career readiness" should be measured in grade school? Who could believe that public education should be sold to the highest bidder?
It's so absurd, it's best just to laugh. Otherwise, a person's anger might build to the point of metaphorical bolts of lightning. Perhaps the "reformers" with these ideas should take off their heads and launch them at me. For the good of society, however, they mustn't expect a civil return.