Look, we get it. It’s December. You can’t walk a block without seeing holly or a wreath or a Macy’s 30% off sale. It’s wonderful, it’s a holiday miracle! But, there’s just one little problem: you can’t fully appreciate the Christmas spirit because you’re stuck in Saturday grad school, and there’s no Jedi Mind Trick that can get you out of this pit. But look at the pint as half-full Uncle Scrooge and consider that you can use this time to your benefit. After all, we’re teachers, and if there’s one thing we can do, we can, amidst the long commutes, painful meetings, and hectic prep periods, use our time wisely.
We’ve got some games, we’ve got some websites, and we’ve got some greater thoughts for you to consider as you sit in your windowless cell classroom. Consider it Channaukah, ULOT style. L’Chaim!
1) The Tri-State Area accent game: Welcome to New York, where talk can be pronounced “tahlk”, “tawlk”, and sometimes even “twalk” depending on which train you take to get to Manhattan (or a ferry, if you must). Maybe your teacher or colleagues don’t sound like Fran Drescher, but maybe they’ve got a Woody Allen tick (uh, gowsh, I…I really don’t think this is the appropriate venue for awhtism). For those of us who don’t sound like Rosie Perez, try your best to embrace your inner New York/New Jersey asshole and butcher your vowels. Don’t slather in on your vernacular (because then you’re trying too hard, and you’ll sound like South Jersey trash), but phase it in if you can. Try small, maybe asking your neighbor to pass the “chawlk.” Then maybe ask the cute girl next to you out for a “cohwfee” date. Maybe if you’re lucky it’ll go well and your next date can be at a nice Italian Restaurant in Arthur Avenue in the Brawnx. But if she blows you off, don’t let it shake you off. As the MTA security guard says to me at the Westchester Square station, “Fugghetaboutit.”
2) Operation SBB (Strategic Bathroom Break): You’re in class and you feel like shit. Let’s be real, it’s Saturday, you’re tired, and you had one too many glasses of egg nog at that holiday party (spiced with rum and irresponsibility). What you absolutely need is a respite, a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stuffy box. Your mission—if you choose to accept it—is to meet with several other agents, preselected based on the predilection to ballyhoo, at the nearest water closet. But remember, secrecy is of the utmost importance in this plan, for one ill-move and the entire operation will be compromised. You must text under your seat (or in your pocket, if you’re savvy enough). You must establish a time and rally point to meet and an ETA. Remember to give your fellow agents time to meet, and give a few extra minutes in case they encounter any obstacles on the way (surveys, for example, threaten to compromise agents in the field). Congregate not outside or the rally point will be vulnerable for targeting. Enter the safe zone and your mission will be complete, where you can then commence to discuss how little you can actually do in an hour. But amidst the banter, try not to smile too hard, for you know that the sentiment isn’t actually true. After all, you successfully completed Operation SBB, and your country cannot thank you enough for your service and dedication to freedom. Now get to it. This tape will self-destruct in five-seconds…
3) The Lunch Game: Remember in grade school when lunch and gym were your favorite classes. Well, we don’t play dodge ball at Pace (although I’d make the argument that we should), but we certainly kept the lunch tradition going. After all, we rise and fall with the tide of our blood sugar, and it is important to refuel mid-day. The question is, where to go? Your school is in the middle of a metropolitan area, a nondescript part of downtown with the usual chains (Wendy’s, Sbarro, and the infamous Blimpies), and the not-so-usual (Fish ‘N Chips, Irish Pub, Indian food). It’s not so much the food that’ll determine the final destination, but cohesiveness among the group that will dine together. Not everyone likes Mexican food, and not everyone is down to drink beers at 11:45 in the morning. But among all things, do not spend too much time deciding between options, for lunch is but an hour long. The etherial nature of the break dictates the urgency to decide. Our recommendation is to decide based upon biological concerns. What do we mean? You don’t want a carb heavy meal unless, of course, you feel like passing out in your afternoon sessions. You don’t want anything too spicy, or it might cause you to conduct multiple Operation SBB’s. The ULOT recommends sandwiches. Where you get your portable and powerful lunch item, however, is ultimately up to you.
If you have not see Fail Blog yet, go there. Now. Click on the wireless network. Go to the library. Fuck, go to the public library. Do whatever you have to do to see this wonderful website that catches humanity with it’s collective pants at its ankles. It puts life (and the seconds it slowly drips away) into a strangely perverse perspective.
And if anything, just remember that it’s almost Christmas Break. And those Christmas cookies you dream of, with the sprinkles and frosting, are in the metaphorical oven right now, and the anticipation of their gooeyness makes them even more delectable. So just get through today. Lay low. And remember, above all else, nobody can take your Christmas spirit away, not even a painfully boring lesson on Special Education and differentiation. Why? Because Christmas Break is a state of mind, and it tastes even better mixed in with some nice warm egg nawg.