Sunday, February 29

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Evening

    "Fuck my ear is the new black."

Friday, February 27

Atomic Punk'd

So today, somewhat out of the blue they made us do a tornado drill.

      yes indeed... duck and cover.

It's not like we don't get the occasional twister here in North Florida, but the whole "drill" thing was barely planned and came off looking like a total clusterfuck. The students totally didn't get it and no one really was really awake enough to provide the neccesary aura of danger or importance to the thing.

   The kids were all like, "Man, why do we have to get on the floor like this?"
   And I said, "It makes it easier to scrape up your bodies after you're dead."

It all reminded me of my highschool days when the county put us through something they liked to call a "Nuclear Safety Drill." This was back in the late 80's when Reagan was doing everything he could think of (short of firing the first shot) to get the Russians to bomb us.

Jacksonville - being a town with two military bases - was justifiably terrified of becoming ground zero, so the school board got all crazed for a while trying to figure out some sort of proactive plan we could use to protect ourselves from the coming armageddon.

What they came up with was this:

   In the event of a nuclear attack, local schools would sound a special alarm.
   Upon hearing this alarm, all students were to get out of their desks, walk
   out of the school in an orderly manner, and then proceed to run as fast as
    they could away from the blast.

I shit you not... we were supposed to outrun the bomb.

The thing was, once we got wind of how this genius plan for survival was supposed to work, a bunch of us decided to take it a step further. We'd get a block or so away from campus and then jump into our friends cars so that they could drive us to a safer location, such as... the beach, the mall, or Tony Parades' garage.

Anyone who didn't get picked up would go back to class, where they would inevitably face drop-jawed teachers asking where the rest of the class went.

The answer was always the same:

       "...The bomb got 'em."

Wednesday, February 25


About two days ago I helped a student out with a research project for another class. They repaid my assistance a day later by leaving a candy bar attached to a thank you note on the corner of my desk. The wrapper had a quasi-italian name written in gold foil letters on the side, with a little slogan on the bottom that boasted hundreds of years of family tradition. It was a unexpected cool gesture, and one that I truly appreciated - except for one little thing.

        ...The candy bar is made entirely of white chocolate.

How is it that something supposedly so decadent, so highclass, and unique can be so... utterly weird and unappealing?

And don't you dare look at me like I'm from outer space -- the shit tastes like chalk that's been dipped in butter, and you bloody well know it. You want to experience the fineries of white chocolate without having to pay the cost? Run over to your local Krispy Kreme and ask them if you can lick the floor for a while. It's pretty much the same thing.

But the thing is, I haven't had a single thing to eat all day. I got through the morning with coffee, but I'm at the point now where I'm pretty much ready to chew off my own arm for some nourishment.

And all day long it's been there -- staring back at me. This photonegative sugar rush, this albino hershey bar... calling to me with it's promises of sweetness and energy. I'm the man sinking in the water, and this Perugina is a hand reaching down to pull me into a life raft.

But man...

       there's no WAY I'm eating that thing.

Tuesday, February 24

Staring at Mirrors in the Dark

You wear guilt
like shackles on your feet
like a halo in reverse...

I can feel
the discomfort in your seat
and in your head it's worse

There's a pain
a famine in your heart
an aching to be free

Can't you see
All love's luxuries
are here for you and me...

And when our worlds they fall apart
When the walls come tumbling in
Though we may deserve it will be worth it.

Bring your chains
your lips of tragedy
and fall into my arms...

And when our worlds they fall apart
When the walls come tumbling in
Though we may deserve it will be worth it.

         - Depeche Mode, "Halo"

Saturday, February 21


    When is your fucking dog going to stop barking!?

Thursday, February 19


Sitting here between classes, VNV Nation in the CD player, Styrofoam coffee cup in my hand. My head is tired, my movements slow, hesitant.

     Red wine is not my friend.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about just how transactional things seem to be in my world lately. Wondering about how so many things are achieved in trade for something else, and how we find ways to pay for our sustenance.

Do I give only in the hope of getting? Do others give to me out of want for themselves? Perhaps it's just a natural progression. The tiger eats the antelope that grazes in the grasslands that have been fertilized by the tiger. And yet, there is this feeling that stays with me, this lock of incomplete hair that always clings to the fabric.

         Can't be
         in two
         at the

I was reading something a friend of mine wrote about her want for connections that go beyond the moment and the energy. About how there are levels of desire, and plateaus that, while nice, cannot help but fall short when held in comparison to full spectrums of color. How right is truly better than right now.

And while everyone certainly has their own definitions for the words they use, I found myself sitting back and considering mine. Looking at the glass through the lenses I have covered my sight with. Asking questions I could not easily answer.

It left me feeling left out of my own loop. Questioning what sometimes seems like directionless advances and all too frequent retreats. It wasn't a rain parade, or a beatdown... but it was a persistent question. An empty fill in the blank.

        How do you search for something when you're not sure what it is?
        Why do you run from the monsters you've never seen?

You wonder about your thirst. You can't see your forest for the trees. Each new sensation offering more definition to the last, and yet confusing the meaning all the same. Sometimes it's like I'm chasing myself down rabbitholes, looking for parties with hatters and doormice, continually asking each Cheshire grin I find the same question...

                  Who runs Bartertown?

Thursday, February 12

Fun With Your Hangover

Oi - Jagermeister shots and dollar Guinness pints are a cruel mistress when the morning after hits. Here, you guys do this while I try to catch the 2 dozen rabid muskrats who are apparently holding a mosh pit behind my temples.

              Sitting at your desk,
              lift your right foot in the air
              and then move your leg in
              clockwise circles.

              Now - while you are doing that,
              hold your right hand up in front
              of you and draw the number "6"
              in the air.

              Your foot will change directions,
              and there is nothing you can do about it.

Man, what a great day to be a middle school teacher. "Ok kids -- today's lesson is called 'Hair of the Dog.' Now, nobody talk loud or make any sudden movements. I'm just gonna sit over here and... rest."

I swear, the only thing keeping me alive right now is extra cups of coffee and this Telepopmusik CD.

Your homework assignment is to hit my comments up with your best hangover music, remedies, or horror stories. There will be a quiz on Friday.

Wednesday, February 11

My Dark Secret

Sometimes these kids, they just catch me off guard.

Case in point: every day I get a free period, mainly for lesson planning or grading or whatever I need to do. Since I can't really take a lunch hour at this gig, I'll sometimes use this planning period to run quick errands or whatever. It's no big deal, and it actually provides a nice recharge to my day.

The thing is, this break comes during the second class period for my students. Second period is their electives, so a lot of the kids try to get me to let them stay and "help out" (grade papers, do bulletin boards, whatever) so they can skip class. Sometimes an extra set of grading hands keeps me on top of things, so once in a while I'm cool with it. But then (of course) you get the reputation as the "skip guy" and pretty soon everyone is knocking on your door.

So anyway, my planning period rolls around today, and I start packing up to head out. There are a couple of things I need to pick up for the house, and I know I'm not going to have any time this afternoon. No problem, I think -- I've got this free hour, I'll just go get it now. But just as I'm pulling on my jacket, one of my kids walks in and says,

     "Hey, can I stay in here with you 2nd period?"
     "Can't today, I'm heading out to do some stuff."
     He looks at me for a second and then says, "What kind of stuff?"
     Shrugging, I answer "You know, pick up some groceries, run errands... stuff"

Then he looks at me for a second, waves his hand dismissively, and says

           "Man, Mr. Luft -- that's ghetto."

Tuesday, February 10


It never ceases to amaze me how people react when you eat sushi in front of them.

I swear to god, you'd have thought I was skewering live puppies in the eye the way everyone in the teachers lounge was staring at me today.

It's especially bothersome because I like to think of the people I work with as being fairly worldly and open-minded. A theory I immediatley tossed out the window when one of them squinted at me and said,

        "Dang boy, are you really eating raw fish?"

Luckilly for me though, the next question always the same. It's the question every sushi lover lives to hear.

        "...What's that green stuff you're putting on it?"

And you smile and say,

                  "It's called wasabi. Here... try some!

Monday, February 9


Different faces, different confusions, and yet all I feel is defensive. Like the offering of advice or ideas somehow gets me into a corner, wondering how the hell I got here. It's frustrating to be wrong, it's frustrating to feel like you're not being given the benefit for the effort you try to put forth. If I didn't care, I wouldn't tell you how I feel. If I didn't care, I wouldn't try to help.

    Maybe my help sucks, but I am offering my hand to pull you up.

But it's more than that -- it's like there are ants in the sugar bowl, and picking them out one by one isn't enough to avoid throwing out the whole batch. All of this misunderstanding and tension makes me more the ogre than I ever should be. I mean, maybe I lean too heavily, but connections mean a lot to me. How is it that evertything seems to be tied together with spider web and mist?

     When did my fuse become so friggin short?

Even after all this time, there are still things we have to learn about each other. Or maybe it's that some issues are always in flux, and I just don't keep up as well as I used to.

Mountains and molehills. Misunderstandings and impasses. Lately it feels like everything is bridges to be crossed, paths to be chosen. Like if I give the wrong answer for my favorite color I'll be tossed into the gorge of eternal peril.


I'm not always right. I know that. But friendships and relationships aren't always about right or wrong. They're about being there for each other.

      sometimes I'm so carefree
      With a joy that's hard to hide
      Other times it seems that all I have to do is worry
      And then I know you're bound to see my other side

      I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
      Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

Thursday, February 5


    I told Timberlake to do it.

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