I strayed from my usual dinner of Salsa a la Triscuit the other night and had something called Brussel sprouts. I imagined them to be about as tasty as wet cardboard would be if you added a dash of cumin. They also had a negative effect on my digestive system and consequently the environment but that’s not what this is about.
This is about a nightmare I had concerning Jimmy Wolinski the same night I ate the sprouts. Coincidence? Jimmy was a friend of mine when we attended Deerfield High School on the north side of Chicago. Jimmy was a good kid and the first to suggest that we play a game of touch football instead of tackling our biology homework. It should come as no surprise that you will not be reading about Jimmy discovering a cure for cancer or even an ergonomically correct beer glass anytime soon. Jimmy now teaches gym at the very same high school that he attended and I can say with confidence that his students will never have a better mentor on the proper way to climb a rope (an exercise that comes in handy should you ever need to scale a prison wall) or how to serve shuttlecock in badminton and still look cool. However…
In my dream, Jimmy was called into service to teach trigonometry in addition to his torturous gym instructor duties, which include blowing the whistle and carrying a clipboard. Let me be clear: Jimmy MUST NOT teach trigonometry. Jimmy’s highest math class was a paint-by-numbers pre-introduction to junior remedial algebra. I know because I sat right next to him. I would be willing to bet my Cubs footsie pajamas that Jimmy thinks trigonometry is a breathing procedure where a tube is placed in the neck.
I’m painfully aware that the current economy is forcing workers to double and sometimes triple up on duties as a result of lay-offs and as distressing as this is, the thought of Jimmy going anywhere near a classroom where they have actual books and instruments of higher learning is mind-numbing.
Teachers need to stick to what they know and I certainly wouldn’t want a trig teacher telling me how to put someone in a full nelson or how to do backflips. I need Jimmy for that. Here’s what some of his former gym students have said about him.
“His gym shoes were always really white!”.”
“Mr. Wolinski taught me one of the most valuable lessons in life; never eat an entire pizza before doing somersaults.”
“That man could really blow a whistle.”
“Thanks Mr. W. for the valuable lesson about the jockstrap and the hockey stick.”
(Dan “The Soprano” Lindquist)
Jimmy’s a great physical education teacher and the master of the wet towel snap to the buttocks, but teaching trig?
“Okay, Kids, settle down. My name is Mr. Wolinski and if you don’t behave, I’ll blow my whistle. Today, we’ll be discussing the Pytha…that theory thingamabob that says that 2 sides of a triangle equal…no, wait a minute…I mean when you add up three sides then subtract the short…no, wait. Ah heck, anybody want to go outside and play kickball?”
Hey, dreams can come true and if this one materializes, the kids in Deerfield are in a world of hurt! I’m planning on doing my part. There will be no more Brussel sprouts on my menu, ever again. As much as my mouth salivates for the taste of soggy pizza boxes, I’m giving them up and I suggest you do the same. I say keep Jimmy in the locker room and out of the classroom. Our children deserve at least that.