On Teaching English

I’ve been commissioned to produce a rhyme,

Thing is, I’ve not had an original thought in a long time.

That being the case,

The proceeding space

Will showcase

How the BookFace

Is responsible for these words.

I’ve just now decided that rhyme schemes are for nerds.

I’ll rhyme how and when I want,

I assure you I’m no poetic savant

I just know what I…want

Ok, enough about the mechanics of this poem,

Let me tell you the muse for this work, you might know him.

He is certainly more pleasant than an itchy, puss-filled rash

I speak, of course, of the charmingly urbane Charles Nash.

In response to a call for conscription

Into my recent pedagogical vocation,

At that request he did commission,

For me to produce a poetic vision

Of great jubilation.

You are now reading the fruit of that request,

Question is, what to do with the rest…

Of this limerick?

What about a quick…

Rundown of the previously mentioned “pedagogical vocation”?

As a supplementary source of remuneration

Through the interwebs I travel to China,

To serve as an instructor of English elocution.

Working at home suits me just fine-uh.

Detracting from total mirth

Is that our opposing locations on the earth

Mean they are awake while I would snooze,

Causing me to lose

Precious sleep that humans require.

Indeed, I wish the body wouldn’t tire,

That being the case, I’d teach all night,

Helping Chinese kids speak English, the way an American might.

Scratch that, Americans have terrible grammar,

It’s only one step above incomprehensible yammer.

The worst example of this grammatical blathering

Is to answer “I didn’t do nothing”

Which is really testifying

That you, indeed, did something.

Equally bad is ending

A sentence with “at”

Thereby offending

Anyone that

Knows it’s a grammatical transgression,

To end a sentence with a preposition.

OMG, I’m all over the place,

To avoid confusion,

And end with grace,

This sentence is my conclusion.

 

FIN

@JarrettLWilson

 

 

The More You Know…

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I’ve started substitute teaching. You probably remember crusty, old geezers teaching your class when one of your teachers was gone. These fossils were fond of telling students that they don’t know what hard work is, that they had to recite the pledge of allegiance in Greek and had to learn math with an abacus.

 

Whatever the case, there was always the assumption that, like teaching vampires who only came out during the school day, subs didn’t have an everyday normal life; when the school day was over they’d retreat to the school basement to read the textbooks for enjoyment before using them as a bed to sleep on until they were called to action again.

 

My point is that, with a single day substitute, there isn’t really a chance to get to know the sub.

 

I typically sub at the school where I once taught and assisted librarily, so I know most of the teachers and they know of my condition. Given enough notice, I’ll offer to give a presentation to the kiddos about me. This way the teacher doesn’t have to prepare as much and the students get first-hand knowledge of why I am the way I am. I’ve posted a version of this presentation before (LINK), but it was a raggedy old PowerPoint.

 

AND THEN…last summer – I went to a writer’s conference to pitch my memoir. I wanted to stand out, so I put together a presentation. I had just given the students a crash course in PowerPoint presentations and Prezi, so I thought I’d give that a try. I didn’t get a book deal >:(, but my presentation was pretty sweet. Find it HERE

 

AND THEN…a new school year started and the sub jobs came pouring in. So far, I’ve presented to about 250 seventh graders, most of the eighth graders saw it last year.

 

AND THEN…my younger sister, a Latin teacher (She teaches Latin, she’s not a teacher who is Latin, no one is or really has been since the Roman empire), asked me to come talk to one of her classes. I thought that this nexus of presentation opportunities called for a revamped presentation.

 

AND THEN…I combined the raggedy PowerPoint with the fresh, shiny Prezi to create a PreziPoint (PowerPrezi?). The svelte can be viewed in all its smoothly transitioning glory HERE. Or, for your convenience, I’ve reproduced the presentation here in slideshow form.

 

AND THEN…actually, ‘AND THEN…’ doesn’t work here, but I’m nothing if not consistent, the frames with a 🌟 in the lower right corner were adapted from the original PowerPoint. This means that the ones without a star make up the original Prezi.

 

AND THEN… If you don’t notice, apart from the book excerpts, it rhymes! Isn’t that delicious?

 

AND THEN…FIN

 

AND THEN…@JarrettLWilson

 

Fun with Acronyms vol. 2 and Rhyme Time

Today (or tomorrow, or the next day, and so on until the breakdown of civilization; whenever you might read this), I’d like to tell you about a little mom and pop grocery chain called Wal-mart.
If you are reading this in the distant future and Wal-mart isn’t the hub of shopping activity in your borough, civilization is, indeed, on the verge of collapse.
As of now, 1:47pm CST on January 28th, 2016, Wally World, as it is known in contemporary parlance, is a yardstick…perhaps THE yardstick of American culture. The annals will have it that ours is the age of the of the localized globe, where the world is at your fingertips – literally. This summation contains several omissions (hmmm…’contain omissions’, not sure about that one, but I’ll go with it).
Notably left out of this description is the Vietnam War veteran door greeter who looks at everyone scornfully because they don’t truly appreciate freedom.
Let’s not forget the family of seven with one cart full of essentials (food, clothes, hygiene products) to be purchased with government funds, and another cart full of beer and cigarettes paid for with a crisp $100.
On a more light hearted note, there’s the 200lb woman wearing shorts made for an average sized 14 year old…
I’m getting carried away. The acronym for Wal-mart is Where Ambling, Languid Mortals Acquire Routine Trifles.
Listen, nobody at Wal-mart wants to be there. Hell, they’re not there – that’s where the “Ambling, Languid” descriptors come in. Ambling = meandering about oh so leisurely, languid = lazy, lethargic.
I’d say stop and look around at how people become oblivious, uncaring zombies at Wal-mart, but you (like me) will be one of those oblivious, uncaring zombies. Instead of brains, you’re motivated by being done and leaving.
“Routine Trifles” would be anything, and I mean EVERYTHING that you might need and plenty of crap that you don’t. Stop by the pharmacy to get a blood pressure machine to take your BP after eating one of the varieties of Spam. You’ll want to pick up some toilet paper for when that comes blasting out the other end. Pick up a goldfish while you’re there (the fish tanks are right next to the toiletries at my Walmart – bit of a cruel joke, no?).
It’s a few days later, after writing everything above I wanted to wrap it up, but something kept telling me I needed more. I didn’t understand what more I could do. I felt that I had adequately regurgitated my point onto the page, but the word bile and grammar chunklets on the page beckoned me to await further inspiration. I was listening to the audiobook of When Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris and I got to a part where he writes a poem about a hobo. It was then that I realized why my prose swill bade that I tarry – I must compose a poem. That’s right, people – it’s rhyme time –
I awoke one morning and hungered for cereal with soy milk,
But reached the fridge only to find a small amount of Silk.
I felt a sinking in my heart,
This meant a trip to Wal-mart.
I started making a list of what I needed at the store,
Milk, bread, lunch meat and light bulbs, nothing more.
The first challenge was to find a parking space,
I circled the lot for what seemed like days.
Upon entering the store, I grabbed a cart,
Looked at my list and contemplated a place to start.
I’ve found that, no matter where you begin,
You’ll purchase more items than you intend.
For example, on my way to the lunch meat,
I saw a deal on hot dogs that couldn’t be beat.
This meant, of course, that I had to get buns,
On the way, I saw some Capri Suns.
My daughter has them with her lunch to drink,
I’m never going to leave, I start to think.
I commit to gathering the last few items, then go,
There are so many conveniences to be had, though.
With my cart nearly full, I head to the checkout,
Careful not to look at items that might cause doubt…
…that I have all that I need for now,
If I missed something, I’ll manage, somehow.
Checking my list as I walk out the door,
I started with a short list, but ended up with so much more.

I’ll call this limerick “Jarrett’s “short” list for Wal-mart”.

I’ve enjoyed writing this entry – leave me some comments about your Wal-mart experiences.

Next time, S.T.A.R.B.U.C.K.S.

FIN

@JarrettLWilson

“Emotions” pt. 2(ish)

This is the next part in my controversial “emotions” series. I can’t call it part two because I’m going to discuss two emotions. Why not call it parts two and three you ask?

I can’t call it that because that name is boring. A better name that I’ve in this moment conceived is “part threwo”, which is a combination of the words two and three. Combining numbers two and three, gives us five; I’ll go with that – “Emotions, pt. 5”

You see, in this installment – in what can only be explained as blue flaming overachievement – I’m going to talk about TWO emotions that I have felt recently.

The first emotion can be summed up with the following picture –

Jarrett = A sad panda
Jarrett = A sad panda

Don’t be fooled by the smiley face. About a month ago, ice raineth from the sky such that my car door got frozen shut.

Being as tough as I am, I tugged and tugged until the door came off. I managed to get the door back on, but the handle stuck out. That part about ripping the door off and putting it back on is a lie.

Furthermore, I can only assume that this is unrelated to the door handle and speculate that it has to do with Satan, Cher or some other foul beast – my car keeps dying. Here is a little poem to describe the situation –

Oh car, I exited the highway, then you died

I pulled into a parking space at home, them you quit

Then, you stalled out in the Petco parking lot, dammit

Up to now you’ve been such a dependable ride.

You got me to McKinney,

Then you decided not to run.

Being stuck in the middle of the road isn’t fun.

I had to have a wrecker drive 30 miles to get me.

The cost to fix you has been high.

More than that, it’s been a big pain in the ass!

Oh car, why does your fuel pump stop pumping gas?

Please please please get better before I cry!

The mechanic can’t determine where the problem lies;

The Buick service dept. seems bumfuzzled too,

Here’s what I’ve decided to do –

Rent a car from Enterprise.

This should give the mechanic time to fix you,

And while he does, I don’t have to be without transportation

Calling for rides is a real agitation

With any luck, you’ll be back on the road in a few.

This broken car business has been quite an ordeal – I don’t wish to comment on it any further.

Instead, I’ll turn to happy business. I know I’ve already covered that “emotion”, so I’ll take it one step further and describe it more fullyer.

A few months ago, I told you about a PRESENTATION I gave to the seventh reading classes at the school where I work. The reading teachers had the kids make flyers as if I was coming to speak.

That's right! An entire wall at the school is all about me!
That’s right! An entire wall at the school is all about me!

Close up of my wall #2

Creative kids, no?
Creative kids, no?

To be the object of an entire grades’ learning is quite a privilege; I felt very important. I don’t know if there’s a name for this “emotion” (or if it can even be called that). Whatever the case, I propose to call this “emotion” improrteged, or perhaps primporileged. Either way, I was greatly honored to be a vehicle to help transport young minds to learning.

That wraps it up for the 23rd (threword)/5th/2nd  installment of my revolutionary “emotions” series.

Toodles!

FIN

@JarrettLWilson

Medical Vernacular Spectacular!

Part of having a condition like mine is learning a lot of big words. I like big words and I like to write silly poems – seems reasonable to assume that I would double like a poem about big words. I haven’t written the poem yet, but I’m sure I’ll like like it. To that end, I’ll quit introducing and start writing the poem you’re about to read. One last note – I’m going to stick to a simple AABBCC rhyme scheme – Shakespeare I amn’t. I’m going to italicize the terms to set them apart.

The medical field uses words that are big and complex,

For instance, raising you for at the able is called dorsiflex(ion) :).

The above word is one of the many that end with I-O-N,

Proprioception is a word that I use often;

It’s a big word for knowing where your limbs are in space.

Circumduction is another I-O-N, it affects walking pace.

When the knee doesn’t want to bend, the leg swings;

If I’m not careful, I’ll start to kick things.

Yet another I-O-N is ambulation;

Or you could say “walking”, if you value concision

Walking is made more difficult by the symptoms of spasticity.

Incontinence is when you have trouble going pee-pee,

“Pee-pee” is a silly word for releasing fluid that is pent.

The fancy term for pooping is “bowel movement”.

There is also a tube for moving pee-pee and other fluids hither and thither,

The fancy word for this tube is catheter.

There’s an intrathecal catheter delivering medicine to my spine ,

The catheter carries medicine from a baclofen pump to help me feel fine.

At first, the needle caused my spine to leak,

But thanks to a blood patch twas fixed in about a week.

To get the blood for the blood patch, the nurses set a Mid line,

The needle went so deep into my arm, I felt like dying.

Medtronic is the company that makes my pump.

Ataxia, or loss of balance, makes it difficult to jump.

Seeing two of something is called double vision or diplopia.

Seeing two of something is called double vision or diplopia.

Dysphagia is one of the fanciest medical terms I know,

It’s easier just to say “it’s hard to swallow”.

Let’s not forget the word for constant muscle contraction,

Hypertonicity is the word given to this action

I owe this list of words to the Pons region of the brainstem,

Without having a major hemorrhage there. I wouldn’t have learned them

This concludes the list

Did you get the gist?

I know I left some off, but I’m happy with this list, short as it may be. I think I explained the meaning of the words pretty well, but here’s a list with definitions just in case –

Dorsiflexion: This is when a door opens – I jest. Quite simply, it’s bending your ankle so that your foot/toes goes up

Proprioception: Obviously this describes a professional at “priocepting”, and as we all know (right?), prioception is the ability to perceive of a Toyota Prius. Actually, it’s your perception of the relative position of some body part.

Circumduction: The Romans came up with this one. Circ is Latin for “Pringles” (they’ve been around for a while). Um is Latin (and every other language ever for “WTF?”). Duction translates to “talking with one’s mouth full”. In essence, when in Rome, it’s not cool to talk with a mouth full of Pringles. Truthfully, it’s when the leg swings outward because the knee won’t bend enough to clear the ground.

Ambulation: Walking

Spasticity: Tremors caused by constant muscle activity

Incontinence: When you’re not on a continent. Examples – swimming in the ocean, flying on a plane or exploring outer space. A less awesome and more truer answer is when you can’t pee

Bowel movement: Pooping (heh, poop)

Catheter: This one was adequately covered above – it’s just a tube

Baclofen pump: A hockey puck shaped machine that delivers sweet, sweet baclofen (muscle relaxer) to the spine

Blood patch: The use of blood to patch a leak in the spine. I asked them if they could just use tape. They laughed derisively and said we could, but then we won’t get to set a…

…Mid line; thereby IMPALING my right bicep to harvest blood from a deep vein

Medtronic: A science fictiony name for a company that makes baclofen pumps

Ataxia: The IRS’s answer to whether or not there’s a tax for some object. E.g. “Is there a tax for asking stupid questions?” IRS reply: “A tax, yeah.” That, or loss of balance.

Diplopia: This one means double vision, I don’t get it. When I think of the word “plop” I think of poop splashing into the toilet.

Dysphagia: Saying disparaging remarks to some named “Phagia” – she(?) will punch you in the throat and make it difficult to swallow.

Hypertonicity: Similar to “spasticity” – constant muscle contractions.

Pons: Latin for bridge due to its position between the cerebellum and the cerebrum on the brainstem (that sounded pretty scientifical, eh?)

Hemorrhage: Internal bleeding, which, when paired with the term above, can create everything above that. Basically, it’s at the bottom of everything (symbolic, no?)

FIN

@JarrettLWilson

SiLiMes #4 – Annabel Lee Hold

It was many and many a year ago,

In a library not too far,

That a student there visited whom you may know

By the name of  *;

And a book beckoned to her –

“Come get me, no matter where you are”

I am an adult and she is a child,

In this library not too far;

And, as the library aide it is my job to inform her-

How long this hold will be;

With an e-mail to her reading teacher, saying –

WEDNESDAY 11/9, this school day plus three

Annabel Lee-ily,

Jarrett

SiLiMes #3

I send messages to reading teachers to inform them that one of their students has a book on hold. I started writing these clever poems & vignettes. * = a student’s name.

I was sitting on my chair,
On my desk there were no holds there.
I turned to a patron, “turn that book in if you dare!”
She didn’t have one book, but a pair.
When I checked them in I received a scare!
It turns out that, to wait in line and be fair,
Both * & * had laid bare
Their intentions to tear
Through these books when they came to their
Possession. They have until TUESDAY 3/6 if they care.

Librar(ily),
Jarrett

Preoccupation Alliteration

I write these words with great sorrow.
For me, this is a very busy week;
As such, this post will be meek,
You see, I work on the morrow.

I work at a school, and was off for the summer.
Teachers and staff return a week early;
This is to prepare for the kids, they can be pretty squirrelly.
Point is, vacation is over, what a bummer!

I haven’t had time to write anything meaningful.
Instead, I came up with this short verse;
Don’t despair! It could be worse!
I could’ve posted nothing at all.

Medication Harmonization

With my condition, I’ve had to fight off a lot of ills.
Life is easier when you are given the right medicine,
I’ve had IVs and injections, but mostly pills.
Below is a list of some of the drugs I’ve taken.
I’m sure I’ve left more than a few off this tabulation,
The last four years I have played a kind of medication roulette.
The medications mentioned are from top of the head improvisation.
So as not to show bias, the meds are in order by alphabet –
 
To reduce spasticity I take Baclofen
Clonazapam  turned me into a zombie
When my poo got too hard, I took Coalase to soften
I took decadron to make my brain less swelly
A painkiller called Dilaudid filled me with glee
Fioricet rushed my headaches away
Thanks to Flomax, I filled the toilet with pee
Gabapentin didn’t keep the tremors at bay
Hydrocodone provided quick and easy pain relief
no more pain with morphine
Nuvigil keeps me awake and on task
Provigil worked ok until Nuvigil hit the scene
Ranitidine – you probably know it as Zantac
Calm the tremors with Requip
A spasticity med that didn’t work is called Tizanidine
Viibryd = no more frowny lip
With Zoloft, the sun always shines and the grass is ever green
I can’t make everything rhyme on this,
specifically, I speak of TBI is…
Throat is Bumfuzzled about Ingestion – It is not uncommon for TBI and stroke sufferers to develop dysphagia – Siberian for “confounded neck-hole”. I still have difficulty swallowing liquids without some getting into my windpipe.