“ukulele, banish evil.”
-Amanda Fucking Palmer
When Amanda Palmer came out with her Ukulele Anthem, I listened to it maybe a dozen times in a row, because it hit me that hard. And when she did the performance of it strapped on top of the Sydney Opera House, I turned it up as loud as I possibly could and screamed along with her. Maybe three or four times in a row, and I cried maybe a little. If you watch the video above, you can hear in her voice how much this song means to her. Also ukuleles. Maybe you can understand what the Ukulele Anthem means. I once had a friend of my mother’s call me ugly because I casually mentioned AFP’s full name to her while explaining why I use all lowercase in casual conversation online. The entire answer to her implied question went over her head because she was mad at Amanda’s middle name. And then she blocked me. It made me sad, because she will never get to hear this song, and have the chance to understand the giddy ecstasy of it, because a word made her too upset. A word an amazing, beautiful, stunning woman turned into her name as a deliberate punky protest, kind of. You would have to read more about Amanda Fucking Palmer to really grok it.
But this is not about AFP, or my mom’s sad friend. Not even about why she made me sad, although I know exactly why she made me sad. Nope, this is a post about other things, and it’s up to each reader to figure out what. I like being mysterious and spooky.
I have a dear friend who has kids much younger than mine, so she is going through a lot of the adventures in parenting I have already been through. It helps her to have someone who has been in those trenches to laugh at the escapades when she’s going through the battles, because I’m still alive and have been through the bad mistakes the wrong way so I can tell her which warning signs need proper attention. In kids, in herself, in teachers and peers and pretty much everyone else a parent has to interact with. And because I am a pretty fair friend, she gets to tell me to shut up when she needs to without me getting my nose bent. It works out pretty well. The other day we were together for a while and we discovered we had each had a similar incident in our parenting repertoire: one involving a young intrepid son and a daring follow-along daughter. And large quantities of flour. My friend and I are both stay-at-home moms, and while she sends her kids off to school and plenty of extra-curricular activities and I homeschooled mine until my daughter went off to middle school, this happened to her kids while they were preschool-aged. Mine were about six and three. Hers were doing the innocent “oh look, we found some flour whilst playing, let’s explore and OMG LOOK WHAT THIS STUFF CAN DO!!!”, and she was alerted because wait a minute, they have been quiet too long…As for myself, I can’t remember. Homeschool days are full of chaos and bustle and terror. Our house was large and rambling and my kids were always doing ten things at once. We had too many pets who were always hunting something and getting into something else and I always had too many tasks to do. So I was either doing the household bills and neverending paperwork, working on a project, doing chores, working in our giant yard, or working on curriculum. I obviously was not cooking. But I also noticed it was too quiet, and I came into the kitchen, and it was covered in half of the five gallons of flour I kept in a bucket from King Arthur Flour. Along with a healthy smattering of some of the spices we got in bulk from my mother-in-law, who occasionally sent restaurant bulk spices from Sysco Foods, where she worked. And my children covered head-to-toe in it, just as my friend found her kids in her basement after she discovered the source of no noise. At that moment I had two distinctly bickering people inside my head: the Stern Mother, and the Panicking Mother. Stern Mom was very curious about what the children were doing and what motivated them so proper discipline could be applied without damaging the motivational curiosity and delight. Panicking Mom just wanted to get it all cleaned up, kids and kitchen both, without wasting too much flour and spices (which meant money), before kids got damaged or husband came home and panicked ALSO, and before pests came in or before curious animals decided maybe it was a snack. Stern Mom remembered what it was like to be a kid very well, so she remembered kid thoughts, and instantly remembered how delightfully silky flour is, and since dear son had his arm almost to the shoulder in the bucket, decided he had gotten really, really carried away as usual and boy I bet that flour felt good. Panicking Mom jumped all over that thought with freak-out thought-screams about how the flour was just absolutely ground into his scalp and it was going to be murder to get it out of his hair. Then I noticed the little pockmarks in the flour piles all over the place, and realised they had been recreating our science experiments of the weeks before (which we had just summed up perhaps the day before), where we had been studying asteroid impacts on heavenly bodies and associated geologies, and one of our experiments had been to drop various objects into various pans of…you guessed it…flour. Several different types of flour, actually, but the favourite had been regular white flour because we had so much of it, and then we used what we experimented with (mostly) to bake tons of goodies with. Mostly muffins, because my son absolutely loves muffins. It is a personal family thing, and so we end up making muffins a lot, for a variety of things. At that point, I simply could not be both Stern Mom and Panicking Mom both. I had to meld the two. My son and I locked eyes. This indomitable six year old and I, at that time thirty-one, had a basic punkrocker blowout, silently and quickly in a passing of locked gazes. I didn’t know it then, but we did. And I let him win, because one of the most valuable lessons to learn as a parent is “pick your battles”. Sometimes you let those little punks win, because it is not our job to make them little parroting factory cutouts of ourselves. It is our job to let these DNA conglomerations of us and our ancestors form into the next step in the ancestral journey. They will take the things they learn from us and turn it into their own tapestry, their own art form, their own beautiful children. As it should be. We are the guiding force, the riverbank, the previous or current step in the chain, depending on how old our kids are. As we have taken the teachings of our parents and grandparents and made something new and stronger and different, so will our children. Ah, life. So amazing. So I let him pull his arm out and dust it off and apologise to me, and I accepted his apology. While trying so hard not to fall into laughter and tears at the same time. Because his little sister had looked me in the eye, too. And she had been covered in flour so she looked like a Gaelic Ghost, her blonde hair up in pigtails and those blue eyes all huge in her solemn face when I walked in, gasped and exclaimed; but then she giggled and scampered out like the fey bug she is when I didn’t say anything.
Both my friend and I picked our battles that day, and just marched and scooped our kids up to the tub and sluiced them down. She didn’t have as much flour to deal with as I did, so she didn’t end up with papièr-maché kids. I had those. The warm water made ropy, goopy clumps of flour when I doused each kid in their bath. I had to fill up our tub only partway, and turn on the extendable shower hose so I could spray them down (every household with small children should have an extra-long extendable shower hose for the inevitable and often necessary task of hosing down the spawn; parents used to do this in the yard, first with water pumped into buckets from the well tap, and then with garden hoses, but with modern first world conveniences, we can do it in our tubs with nice warm water made comfy with temperature-controlled water from our hot water heaters). They alternately thought this was great fun and excitement and sort of annoying because the water and flour was getting in their faces. Wet, slippery, naked papièr-maché kids are tricky. They were gregarious. I had to do it in stages. Get as much of the goo off one kid as possible and eject them from the tub, wrap them in a towel, and then work on the other one. Drain the tub, scoop out gobs of glue and plop it in the trash so it didn’t clog the drain, and then clean out the tub so I could then scrub one kid at a time down thoroughly before the stuff dried into their hair and eyelashes and other crevices too much and created CRABBY KIDS who would cry when they pulled it off (and they would pull it off, compulsively, like all kids do with scabs, dried glue chunks, and anything else that isn’t supposed to be attached and is, even if it hurts and blood comes out). Meanwhile they alternated between chatting, shivering, and staring at me whizzing around like a dervish in my panicked anxiety. I can imagine my friend did the same thing, as she explained her mad kid-cleaning frenzy. She didn’t have as much flour to clean up as I did, though, and her kids didn’t both have long hair. I remember thinking as I was struggling with all of this that I should have taken the hair dryer to them first to try to blow as much of it off of them as possible, but honestly I just wanted to get the stuff cleaned off of them, because I kept wondering if people could get yeast infections in their eyes. But I wasn’t allowed to let the kids see how fretted I was, because kids are terribly observant creatures and if you let them see the whites of your eyes they will start thinking we’re all going to die. Kids have strange logic parameters, and to them it’s basically all or nothing. Unless the Adult In Charge maintains a more or less “I got this” vibe, and is convincing, they Know Something Is Wrong. And they may not be able to pinpoint what that Something is, but they know it’s there, and unless the Adult In Charge is capable with problem-solving and reassurance, they will not trust the Adult In Charge. Building trust with kids takes time, persistence, and a whole lot of effort. You can’t do it just once or five times and call it good; you have to do it ALL THE TIME. And if you break that trust, even once, you have to backtrack and rebuild it with a lot of even more careful time, persistence, and effort. I have broken my kids’ trust a few times, and the amount of work I have put in to regain it has been extremely difficult. I have had to work probably ten times as hard to regain the trust I lost. And it’s only because of the groundwork I put in from the beginning that I was able to regain it. If you don’t have a good foundation to work with, the odds of gaining trust that was never there to begin with aren’t good.
So while I did the de-ghosting of my kids, I chattered with them about their adventure instead of chastising them. Make no mistake, I was plenty upset. The reason we bought our flour in 20 pound bags and stored it in 5 gallon buckets, and why my mother-in-law gifted us restaurant-sized bulk spices, was because we live on a pretty strict budget. The one area of our budget we have always spent the most money is our food. Food is the stuff of life, literally, so our family has always bonded over food and cooking and baking. It is also a really great avenue to explore many different subjects, so it was a natural avenue for many schooling subjects like math and science and history and social studies. You can build an entire curriculum around food. A 20 pound bag of flour was only slightly more expensive at Costco than a 5 pound bag at our local grocery store. So losing what was probably the equivalent of at least five pounds of flour, which could make several loaves of bread and muffins and cookies and all sorts of other things, which translated into days of food for our family, was pretty painful. Ever since we got married, when we brought home a grand total of $1079 a month from the military, I have been a budgeting whiz who made the pennies squeal. Having two kids who eat anything that isn’t nailed down and grow like Jack’s Magic Beanstalk means we have to put good foods into them so their brains and bodies make good human and not junk human. The cost-benefit analysis of raising humans has always been a very tricky balancing act. Watching money go down the drain was very painful. But it was not fair to take it out on naturally curious children who were just acting like the beings they were. Especially when I had noticed those science-experiment craters. And hearkened to their personality traits. While we chatted about the misadventure, I told them that when they were done with the bath, they would help me clean it up (and they did, but only a little, and I didn’t press them too far, because a six year old and a three year old can’t be expected to perform the level of drudgery THAT clean-up job demanded; they did get the point, though).
One of the true pleasures of homeschooling my kids was learning how they learn. My son is a very different person from my daughter. And I realised that right away. Pretty much as soon as they vacated my uterus and laid upon my chest, I realised what kind of person they were, and when I realised my daughter was a COMPLETELY different person than my son, I realised I was kind of in trouble. Our son is a lot like my husband and I; he has personality traits so much like us he is very easy to understand and predict and we philosophise all the time. Our daughter on the other hand, is an alien. She is the odd one out in our family dynamics and having her in the mix is a riot. She shakes things up like you wouldn’t believe. She gives us so many new perspectives and different views it’s amazing. Ever since she was born she has brought a sense of wonder and awe to all of us, even though she is SO different that sometimes we need some time to adapt to her and her alternate input. I accept that about her unequivocally. Accepting that each of my children was valid on their own merits gave me exactly what I needed to teach them at their own pace, on their own level, as they went. And it was what I needed to be their parent when they made disastrous mistakes of all sorts. Whether that was covering the kitchen and themselves in flour, riding their bikes without a helmet, or messing around with flammable things when they weren’t supposed to. Or power tools. Or dear son ending up in the ER one Thanksgiving morning because he wanted to let us sleep in and decided to fix us bagels and lox for breakfast in bed and accidentally cut his hand because he held the knife wrong (yes, it’s true, and yes, the ER people said it was the sweetest thing an 8yo boy could do earning stitches; they got to know him by name at that ER).
It took a while to turn my kids from ghosts to globs of papièr-maché glue back into kids, but it wasn’t horrible. I left the bathroom a mess. I cleaned up the kitchen, because it was the priority. I actually tried to salvage the spices, because I’m bipolar, and bipolar people get really manic that way. And this was before my diagnosis and any treatment whatsoever, and I was in full manic panic anyway. My husband came home while I was cleaning it up, and I think I was probably crying by that point because the kids were clean and safe and I could cry while I cleaned and not upset anyone. When our house burned down years and years later, there was still old grungy flour in the cracks of the floor. But my kids were not traumatised by a memory of a mother screaming at them in fury or anything, because I knew what they had been thinking when they did that. I knew what had led up to that crazy flour episode, and I handled it with my knowledge of child psychology and the child mind and because I was in charge of molding and teaching and nurturing these small humans, one six and one three. One learning complex logic functions and how logic and emotion interact, and one just figuring out basic logic to begin with and how she actually fits into the world. Not much a parent can do with raw materials like that except some basic lessons. And to this day, when we talk about that episode, it’s with humour and grace and how they learned MY way of dealing with confrontation instead of fear…and they BOTH remember the lessons on asteroids, if you can believe it. I was pretty impressed with that, because I honestly thought that if they remembered anything it was just going to be the hella great time messing with the flour. But even my daughter remembers the impacts of the marbles and rocks and action figures in the flour. She says she probably wouldn’t remember it so much if it wasn’t for the really fun machine the Denver Museum of Nature and Science put in right around the same time that let you do the same thing into some sand. I don’t care; I’m just tickled she remembers our lessons, because it means I did a good job.
About a week or so ago, I started reflecting on who I owe my mindset to the most; who shaped me. How I dare do what I do, think what I think, say what I say, write what I write. And I realised it’s because of my TEACHERS. I’ve had an awful lot of teachers in my life, and not all of them were the ones assigned to me by the California Public School system or the people who decided were going to teach at those Christian schools my parents paid for me to attend for about two and a half years. I don’t really consider the men and women who instructed me at those Christian schools to be my teachers; instead they were instructors or indoctrinators. I did not learn much actual education in those schools; my science and history classes were virtually nonexistent, and I never once had anything even remotely resembling civics or government that I remember (but we absolutely HAD to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day and twice on chapel days, along with pledging to God). My math classes were excellent as far as basic maths are concerned. The hours I spent on math drills and formulae and problem-solving were brutal and maniacal and torturous. Looking back at those sessions now, especially the “tutoring” lessons with sperm donor, I can feel the developing mental illness quite strongly: the pulsing manic surges as my brain struggled relentlessly to absorb and decipher and LEARN the math concepts, trying so desperately to work fast enough, race speedily enough to just understand what was being pumped into it so my teachers and this horrid man would stop yelling at me and calling me stupid and worthless and all these other horrible names, stop hitting me with hands and fists and books and pencils and calculators and everything. If I could only learn fast enough. The manic-depressive brain is quite literally chemically unbalanced, and the manic cycle presents in many physical symptoms. One is racing thoughts. A psychiatrist will ask a patient if they are experiencing “racing thoughts”; a person who does not understand this phrase is clueless. From my vantage point of the here and now, I can understand what racing thoughts are, but back then (and even ten years ago), I had no idea what my brain was doing, and I often shut down…what is called disassociation. This would make both my teachers and sperm donor even more infuriated and frustrated; in sperm donor’s case he considered it defiance and smart-mouthing even though I often said nothing or was leaking tears, and it meant instant beating with an assortment of punishment tools, from his well-worn belt (sometimes the buckle end), a specially-made mahogany paddle with holes drilled in it (he used that until he broke it on me), or anything laying around: beer bottles, brooms, electronic parts, dive equipment, whatever. He stabbed me with pens and pencils quite a few times, and once a drafting compass. The professional kind, because he is a professional. Those are super wicked sharp, in case you don’t know. I wore a bandage for almost a full week but those Christian school teachers never asked me why; I guess in Christian school they aren’t mandatory first reporters. Another symptom of mania is insomnia, because the brain simply cannot shut down, and I have had insomnia my entire life; it got really bad in middle and high school when the manic episodes increased as my mental illness started to really take hold. This is all classic textbook mental illness development, but no-one took me seriously and so no-one could watch it develop in me. I was utterly under the dominion of this authoritarian figure that convinced everyone I was making everything up and just seeking attention. And so it got worse. A young adult cannot function properly if they are only getting about six hours of sleep a night, and that is on a cot jammed in between her abusive father’s bed and a wall where he can just reach over and get her. Which he did. Math and lots of other things really didn’t seem too important, or else they seemed to be the only thing distracting enough.
But in public school I had some really amazing teachers, especially once I got to the big city in Pasadena and got to go to a real high school, Pasadena High School. It was not a fun experience there. I never graduated, and that is a story for another time. I got my diploma through an independent study high school. Sperm donor has it, because he holds most of my life before I joined the Navy hostage and will not return it to me unless I perform certain services for him that become increasingly immoral and unethical. So I let him keep what he wants of me, and when he crosses the veil, I will collect them from the executor of his estate or his lawyer, whichever is fine by me. What really matters to me is that I tell my story, and honour those who actually taught me the right and good and proper things in life, because I passed those on to my children. And I have always told my children where the knowledge came from. Because that is just as important as the knowledge itself. If we, people, do not know that it was an African slave that brought the knowledge of cowpox inoculation to the west, which he shared freely with his white owner as a gift to humanity and science, how can we expect to understand how we are all connected? How the great web of life on this planet and the interplay and interconnectedness of knowledge brings us all together to combat the mindless evils of the universe? Smallpox is just a virus. A stupid, mindless virus. Humans are intelligent, amazing beings. A slave from Africa passed along ancestral tribal knowledge of cowpox inoculation to a western preacher, who used it in spite of his deep prejudice and fearful religious stigma. Who passed on to a scientist, who collaborated with other scientists to use it in creating a vaccine to eradicate smallpox. That is magical. But our students today don’t know this. It is taught in colleges if students pursue a field of study relating to biology, but our elementary and high school students don’t know what an amazing thing happened in our history several hundred years ago. Instead they hear about how slavery divided our country. And even that message is garbled.
I am very blessed to be in contact with one of my high school teachers. During a really bad period of time as a teenager, she was there for me so many times I lost count, because she was my best friend’s mom as well as being my English teacher when I was a sophomore and freshly transferred from Christian school. She was also the teacher who pulled me off the edge of the building when I tried to kill myself at school. Over the years, this woman fought for me unlike any teacher has fought for me. She stood up to sperm donor again and again and again. She was in an awkward position, because she was a teacher at the school I went to, but she was also the mom of my best friend. And the father of a student was trying regularly to intimidate her. He once set up a “family meeting” with her and her husband to “discuss” her influence on me. He came to her house, dressed up in suit jacket and tie and wearing about a gallon of Brut, drunk and stoned as a lord, and sat in their den and accused them of being Satanists and liberal freaks and swingers and druggies having Satanic rites and orgies in their backyard with us kids present, giving me drugs, sacrificing babies and goats…and I am not kidding AT ALL, he went on and on and on with Cammy and Dan sitting there with their glasses of wine looking at him with the most comical shocked looks on their faces, their dogs sitting calmly and happily at their feet, trying for all the world not to laugh their butts off. I don’t know if she even bothered to tell the school about the loony dad who came to her house. I wish she had, because that guy had the mental hospital I had to go to convinced I was a drama queen out for attention and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. They sent me home after two weeks saying I was “just depressed” and I needed to “work with my father more”.
I’ve been chatting with Camilla Tosney about my teachers, and I have discovered that several of them have passed. Mr. Haim, who loved Gaugin and ran the Apathy Club (you couldn’t join if you cared too much), passed. He taught Honours English and gave me the best lessons in how to prepare. Mr. Haim didn’t teach me just how to prepare writing an essay. Writing an essay is just like life. You should not go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, or without a list, or any coupons you have, or returns you need to take, or your reusable bags, or anything else you need. If you get to the grocery store and realise you left what you need at home in order to make your trip the most optimal it can be, you have only yourself to blame. So I prepare my grocery trips appropriately. And since I am not the most physically able person these days, I delegate that to someone else more often than not, and take some extra time to make sure whoever I delegate to is prepared. Do they have enough cash, and the list, and everything else? Am I asking them to go at a good time for them so they aren’t tired or overwhelmed or already committed to something else? Being prepared is probably the best damn lesson anyone could hope to get; it’s not the Boy Scout motto for nothing. My husband had to walk in yesterday’s bomb cyclone blizzard and he was wearing sneakers. I told him he was NOT PREPARED and was kind of silly for wearing those shoes on a day he knew was going to be a blizzard. He looked a little sheepish.
The biggest shocker came when I asked her about my favourite history teacher, though. Doug Gould wasn’t just a good teacher; he was a great teacher. Please read his obituary.
I have wanted to try and reconnect with Mr. Gould for a long time, and I don’t know why I didn’t ask Cammy years ago about him. I really, really don’t. So this is my sincere urge to all of you who are wondering about old teachers with fondness in your hearts to seek them out and tell them how you feel, just in case it becomes too late like it was for me to tell Mr. Gould. I know from my conversations with Cammy that he would have loved to hear from me, just like Mr. Haim would have. And she and I are still chatting in the hopes that I can reconnect with other teachers, because she loves to hear from her students. She certainly loves to hear from me; I may be a little different than her average old student but teachers teach for a reason. And hearing from an old student five, ten, twenty, THIRTY years later…that’s a gift. A gift of the intangible that is more precious than any gold watch or stock portfolio. Maybe you have received a gift like that before. You can give a gift like that to someone. And it is completely free, yet utterly priceless. Reading about the students who poured out their remorse and sorrow upon Mr. Gould’s passing, I cried. I cried a lot. And I’m still crying; it’s going to take a while to mourn that man, because he did an awful lot for me. His obituary talks about the work he did for at-risk and suffering students. I was one of them. During the years I suffered silently in high school, he noticed what was going on. During the 80s there was not a whole lot teachers could do for high school students, and the Pasadena High School administration was going through a very volatile and hostile administration takeover that was not copacetic with the teacher’s union. I was caught smack in the middle of this along with many other at-risk and politically incorrect students. Many teachers at that school lost their jobs. I’m looking for one of them now. Mr. Gould proverbially held my hand through a lot of that, and his sorrow for me and some of his other students was genuine and heartbreaking. He was such a kind and gentle soul; one in a million, honestly. I have so much ache in me for his widow and his daughter, because I was his student when she was born and through his wife’s pregnancy. He was just giddy with delight over that baby girl. The world has lost a saint. As is my way, I will grieve for him, but wait with patience for his soul’s return to teach us again, because that is what I believe. I think he believed something similar. I can allow myself to feel the deep sorrow for his passing, while accepting it. That is how I heal. Doug Gould wrote a song for me when I was a teenager, and I don’t remember it; I just remember he told me he wrote it for me and it was about a girl being strong because she needed to be strong until she was free. And I have always remembered that teacher who did that for me, and taught me that learning could be so much fun and so exciting, and that it was ok to fail a test because all that did was teach you where you needed to study more and where you already were a rock star and didn’t need to waste any more time. He taught me how to be efficient in tasks, and that just because you were being efficient that didn’t mean you couldn’t sing while you worked or smile at your coworkers or glue spices to your page and hell, even make it look like an old-fashioned ship captain’s journal as long as it fit the parameters of the project. Doug Gould was a square peg in a round hole and said that was fine, and got busy making the hole square so he was more comfy and could bloom where he was planted. He taught me the system, and how we the people make the system work for us, not the other way around. He was an enormous influence on me as a citizen of this country. He taught me what it was to be an American, because he actually explained to me for the very first time what being an American meant. And that contradicted so harshly and so starkly with everything I had been told and shown in my own home and family up until that point that it was like being given pure oxygen after breathing swamp gas my entire life. To actually be shown our founding documents, have them explained, and have it be proven that I was being treated like an actual slave by my apparent caretakers, and had been my whole life, was a truth bomb beyond my comprehension. To realise that my mother had been a slave was heartbreaking. And the truth set me free.
I carried that truth with me out into the world, as a street kid once sperm donor kicked me out and my mother would not have me back. As a drugged-out indentured servant when I had to come back after ending up in jail on the other end of the country. As a sailor in the USN when I signed up to save my life from those drugs. And as a Navy wife. As a mother homeschooling two papièr-maché kids, passing on the lessons he taught me so many years earlier, only in wildly modified ways. I am a mosaic of the teachings of all those teachers. I may not have gone on to college, but I did try awfully hard. I managed a few college classes here and there: some while I was in high school and I think I took one while I was on my ship. But it’s mighty hard to go to college as an adult. I still think I will end up in academia sometime, but this path I am on right now is what I am supposed to do, obviously. Because I just don’t have time for anything else. My kids still need me to help teach them adult stuff, like how to do taxes and business paperwork, and college stuff. That’s a lot; and I don’t do it for them. The recent college admissions scandal should be proof enough that too many parents do too much for their kids. That is a glaring example of toxic femininity. And it’s not my style nor in our best interests to engage in toxic anything, for reasons I explained previously. My children attend to me when I show them how to write a college essay or file a state tax return, because if I have to show them how to do it more than three times I get salty. I know how they learn, remember? I have one student who is 22 and one who is 18; they have been at this a long time so they know when I sit them down and show them how to navigate this website for this adulting purpose they better pay attention, because I want to get back to what is now my “real” job, which is writing and assorted other arty farty things. I’ve gone and done a career switch. Without college, because my parents were uncooperative and not nice.
I have put myself out there as an object lesson. Use me as such. And please tell your teachers the good things they have done for you; they deserve it.