In other news, I finally finished Ordained To Be a Jew. I write better. I didn’t say that in the email back to the publisher or anything. It’s not the ex-priest’s fault that he didn’t have crazyass parents, a chronic illness, amazing students and lived to tell the tale. I better make some money off those crazyass parents, let me tell you.:)
Meanwhile, in the spirit of the book, I’ll write a little Jewish tidbit. Ever since I started the journey to my new Jewish world, I noticed that I prayed more and more. And I mean outside of the blessing for bread, fruit, pottie breaks and all that jazz. I mean that I literally walk around and ask G-d for the seemingly insurmountable (could you just make the pain stop for today? okay, forever?) and the seemingly minute (please make the train come!)
Today, I caught myself praying for my former students. I was roaming around Circuit City when one of them happened upon me with the line, “Hey, you still teaching?” “No, actually. Now, I write.” We ooh and ahh over the laptop I have my eye on (the touchscreen works as a notepad so you can write and it’ll type it in to your computer or you can save your handwriting). Then we discuss George’s (that’s the student) life since leaving high school. George was one of the brilliant but lazy kids who didn’t have enough self-esteem and discipline to get it together. I don’t ask him about college.
For the next half hour when I should be at the gym, we discuss love, life, work, parents and all that. George was always a sweet kid, though, a sleepy one in class. He’s engaged to his high school sweetheart (who still does that!) and working full-time at Circuit City. We pretended (well, he really was helping me!) that I was a real customer and we discussed HDTVs (because I love mine) and computers (because this stupid desktop won’t connect to my HDTV). We also talked some dirt on the school, former teachers or shall we say, administrators and the like.
We googled the former assistant principal who refused to get me a microphone when I could barely talk. He’s got a McMansion in the Bronx and is principal of some Brooklyn school. Then we googled one of my former students who was immortalized in a NY Times article about my former place of employment (Arts & Tech HS) where a teacher did a tell-all about the shennanigans behind how students who don’t deserve to pass are promoted because the principal is all underhanded and stuff. Ah, the good old days.
After, during, talking to the boys (turns out two students work there!), I prayed my little heart out that they’d be okay. College didn’t seem in their future and these days, you need a Master’s to get a decent job. Soon, you’ll need a Master’s to work at McDonald’s. That’s a scary thought when I think back to how many of my students thought that going to college was a choice and they could choose to do without it. Those students have permanently saddled themselves in the “paycheck-to-paycheck just above minimum wage” world that most of us have nightmares about.
Growing up, I prayed all the time, mostly to understand why G-d had given me such a terrible life, I didn’t have the energy or the space to pray for anyone outside of the four walls of the insane asylum. Judaism gave me a leg up in a lot of ways. A family, some stability and a reminder to pray for all sorts of things all day. People tell me they pray for me, for my health, for my future and it’s funny that when they tell me this, I know that I’ve prayed for them too. I’ve sat around and done a good deal of praying for babies, for health, for wealth for my friends and family.
So, special prayers today:
1. I pray that in an hour, I will have the energy/strength to do some yoga and cardio before I go to bed.
2. I pray that I win all these contests and score a fancy laptop so I can pretend to be a pseudojournalist/writer on the run.
3. I pray that my damn computer will connect to my HDTV so I can watch Itunes and Netflix on it in HDTV glory.
4. I pray for my little siblings (as always) to get all their little hearts desire and everything they need.
5. Last and not least (and not just because now I might make money off his deadbeat gig), I pray that my Dad and people like him will shape up and realize that they don’t have to be so lonely. And that they’ll, you know, learn to work on themselves and help others.
I know, it wasn’t very cute and funny, but give me a break. Back to the writing!