It makes perfect sense that I’d be quoting a comedian to make sense in this comedy of errors.
The other day during class my phone rang. I told the class to be quiet and took the call. It was my old college roommate. We hadn’t spoke in a few years, but we picked up right where we’d left off. Especially with our inside jokes. We bantered old double entendres, riffed on lewd puns, rehashed embarrassing events, and so on. He told me he’d pass along our conversation to our college friends who were still in his area, so I made sure to really live up the good ole times. Even if they got enough of the right feeling of our reunion conversation, the exact words weren’t important.
As I kept talking, the students got more and more raucous, so I had to hang up and bring them back to order.
“What is the matter with you? What’s so funny?” I demanded.
“Mr. Bougis, we never knew you knew all those cuss words. Were those stories for real?” some of them asked.
“Oh… Ohhh, you mean the way I was talking to my old friend,” I answered.
“Yeah, that’s hilarious. I’m gonna call you Mr. Pottymouth,” chimed in Eric. Typical adolescent punk; the class clown, really. Such immaturity was to be expected from him, so there’s no helping that.
But then I noticed that some of the other students had even taken out their mobile phones when I was on the phone, and had been posting my purple prose on sites like Twitter and Instagram.
“Now, wait a minute,” I objected, “You kids need to understand, sometimes adults speak differently to each other than teachers talk to students. You just need to ignore what I said. Those words weren’t meant for you.”
“Yeah, but, like, we could totally hear you, Mr. Bougis,” retorted Vanessa. She always was a bit high strung. You can’t please everybody.
It wasn’t too long after that that I was called in to a meeting with the administrators.
“Mr. Bougis,” the principal began, “we understand that you said some pretty inappropriate things in class last week. Can you explain?”
“I apologize for the confusion,” I began, “but you know how teenagers are. The way their minds work, there’s nothing a teaching say that doesn’t offend some of them, or that they can’t twist into some perverted joke. I can assure you that nothing I said hasn’t been said by other teachers before me. And, well, all right–even if what I said startled the students, it wasn’t meant for them: it was addressed to my friend, so they can safely just ignore it. At this point in life high-schoolers should know that the way I talk to students is different from the way that I talk with other adults, and the way they should talk to each other and to teachers must be respectful.”
“That’s a great relief, Mr. Bougis,” the administrators agreed. “At first we thought you had been irresponsible as a teacher in the presence of impressionable minds, but we agree that it’s not your fault: the perversity lies in their twisted and overly sensitive minds.”