The Last One Standing…


The last one standing is going to die alone anyway.  That’s what I keep thinking as the opposite of being alone.  In my mind, there’s not much different in being a staunch survivor.  I mean, being able to endure, and move past things is a quality that is irrefutably necessary to live life (especially here in NYC.)  However, what’s the point of having everything cut away from you.  I think of the allegorical lessons that can be applied from the Clint Eastwood-Hilary Swank Oscar Movie – Million Dollar Baby.  What purpose is there in life is there if you are going to watch your body die, and then sequentially get chopped away.


I watched this happen with teaching.  I watched myself go from being the most amazing, “smartest” , “applied”,”creative” teacher, to being the same adjectives but only as a substitute teacher.  I had dreams about finishing my masters until substitute teaching came with no benefits or discounts towards trying to take classes.   I look at the relatively cheap course offerings being offered through the union, and I think -“I’ll never afford that.”  I don’t work enough, nor do they ever pay me on time.  And that’s assuming that they will pay me.  The tomfuckery of a payroll secretary who saw me every fucking day – yet only paying me for 2 days- because my “time card only showed 2 punch-ins.”  Her solution being that we need to find that time card.   Funny, I though I entrusted her with the time card and that she collected all of them. What am I supposed to do with that?


What am I supposed to do with a union (which I pay dues to, even out of my sparse check) selling out substitute teachers…? What am I supposed to do with a state that withholds a month and a half of legally earned benefits?


But are these issues any different from the nights I sat lonely decorating a classroom, or grading papers.  Are the relationships I make with students now any less valuable than students then.  I know a little sumptin-sumptin.  I  want to be there; I want to be a role model.  I want to be a strong intellectual male.  I want to be the compassionate teacher.  I want to be Michelle Pfieffer in Dangerous Minds with minority skin.  I want to be the chair of the English Department of a school I helped turnaround, or pitched in to turnaround some kids life, or really showed them what “Beloved” or “Bartleby” is really about.  I want to have a chair at that table.


Instead, I am applying myself to phantom vacancies and there are days when I really wonder has this all been worth it.  Because I’m losing it.  I’m losing it in my heart.  I can teach, but can’t teach.  I could have went to law school, but I wouldn’t end up a practicing lawyer (as from the latest statistics.)


So what the fuck am I supposed to do with my life?


[Chester Kent.}