Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fun Haters, or I Hate the Man

Dear Mr. Brown,

Remember during the 1990 Abraham Lincoln High School graduation when you took my can of silly string from under my chair while I was up getting my diploma? Remember how you smugly sat on the bench across from me as my entire class, all 287 (well... 286 because I wasn't a part of it) of them, sprayed their cans of silly string gleefully into the air to celebrate our special day? You raised your eyebrows at me as if to say, "What are you going to do about it?" I hope that made you feel all big and important, denying one person (a pretty good kid who was never a troublemaker in school) her fun moment. Can you tell that I'm still bitter? It's a little lame, but I really feel like you ruined my graduation. You. A teacher. You ruined my night. Jerk.

I hope you're retired,

I seriously hate it when adults smash young people's dreams to feel good about themselves. I was reminded of this hatred today when I learned that the Fairfield tradition of taking huge signs with names on them to the All-State Music Festival is being crushed. First, I should be positive and say that 11 kids from Fairfield made All-State yesterday. And, one more has a chance to make it in piano; his recall is on Wednesday in Ames. That is AWESOME!!! I'm so proud of them and of everyone who tried out. It's hard and emotional, and it takes a ton of commitment.

Anyway, every year, Fairfield kids spend hours making these awesome signs, one sign for every kid who made it. They hold them up in the crowd to show their pride and support. Well, someone thinks these signs are distracting and inappropriate. So now, without even a discussion for how they might be used in a different, more acceptable way, the tradition is over. Done. Finished.

Fun haters.

I know that sometimes when you're in authority, it's easy to be a fun hater. There is work to be done, and there is a time and a place for everything. But can we please have a little perspective and maybe focus that fun hating energy into keeping kids in school or saving the environment or getting crime off the streets? There is so little celebration from kids' peers for the arts. Is it really necessary to destroy what little there is?

If I've ever crushed your fun, I'm sorry. I hope you'll come and talk to me about it, and maybe we can find an alternate solution that will get the job done and bring you joy at the same time.

And for the record, as a teacher now myself, if I was holding that single student's can of silly string while 286 other kids sprayed theirs, I would hand hers back.


  1. That is AWFUL! Why would he do that? What a bully. :0 Was he always that mean? Also, about the signs, RIDICULOUS. I can't believe they would ban them. People are probably just jealous they didn't think of it. -_-;

  2. I was thinking the very same thing about the signs... jealousy! If the signs were disruptive, don't you think they could just wave them around at the beginning & end... or between groups or something? Sheesh.

    I never had that teacher for class, thank goodness. Therefore, I don't know if he was so mean all the time. He was the basketball coach, which did not help change my jock stereotype. It's a fault I'm working on. I know that's unfair. He's probably a lovely person. But when your one interaction with a person is like that, well, you make assumptions.

  3. I can't tell you how sad this makes me feel. Last year, on our way home from All-State, we stopped at a convenience store. An All-Stater from another town was there and Madeline recognized her. They chatted and the girl shared that she was terribly envious of our school spirit. She was impressed that we always have a pep bus full of concert-goers and that our performers have signs! She thought they were wonderful. Me too. The support that Fairfield provides for the arts is one of my favorite reasons for being here! Those signs never hurt anyone and they brought a smile to most who saw them, including the people they were meant to honor.

    The more I think about this, the more angry I feel. It's almost like those fun haters WANT to take the fun out of the arts. I think I may have to write a letter to someone about this... I think I'll start with the Chair of the festival. :)

  4. Totally adore you, anonymous! ;)

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  7. I love you!!!

    ~ Trace

  8. You should have gone all out as far as giving this teacher his due, even if it has been twenty years. I think a full name and perhaps a yearbook photo scan would not be uncalled for, since apparently it still troubles you, and you should call him out completely for it.

  9. Thanks for the comment! Definitely a part of me that wants to find him and spray him with silly string... but, I honestly know I need to just grow up and get over it. It's weird, the stuff we hang on to in this life...


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