North High School
Ms. Spenser – My teacher for English 10, English 11, and English 12. During a public speaking unit, I gave a persuasive speech about my bold, simple, and serious plan to eliminate poverty in America. She somehow kept a straight face and offered in her evaluation that, although my ideas were not necessarily practical, my idealism was noble. To me, this served as further proof that the older generation just didn’t get it. Schlitz-Drinking Redneck.
Mr. Hammond – My teacher for BASIC Computer Programming, Accounting I, and Accounting II, who always pulled over and gave me a ride to school if he saw me walking … and Mr. Kein, Driver’s Education, who taught me to drive with this wrinkled-brow demand: “Slow down, Hot Rod!” Communists.
Mr. Maier – my Marketing teacher and DECA advisor, who stressed the importance of being open-minded. As an example, he revealed that 80s guitar icon Eddie Van Halen studied classical music. Dumbfounded, I slowly considered it: If Eddie Van Halen studies classical music … then classical music can be cool. If classical music can be cool … everything – and I mean everything – must be re-examined. Trailer Trash.
UW-Eau Claire The UWEC
teaching staff wasn’t unionized back then, but they were already plotting...
Mr. Roger Anderson – My English 110 instructor, who bolstered my writing confidence by choosing to read my “Why We Should Not Have Class This Friday” persuasive essay aloud to the class. His encouragement also fueled my revisions to my landmark comparison/contrast paper: Beverly Hills Cop vs. Beverly Hills Cop 2. All in all, the experience helped me survive freshman year and earn my first “A” in college. Schlitz-Drinking Redneck Wannabe.
Ms. Jeannie Harms – My academic advisor. In a funk after two years of college with no major and no direction, I spoke of taking time off of school, relocating, and enrolling in the Woolworth’s managerial program, which seemed promising at the time. She warned me that I wasn’t going to “find myself” by “sitting alone in an apartment in Michigan eating TV dinners.” Young people sometimes need help seeing through the fog and figuring out the obvious. Communist Wannabe.
Dr. Chuck Hanson – My English 385 professor, who sensed I was metaphorically “stuck in the ditch.” He took me to lunch twice, paid for it, and not only talked, but listened – listened to a disheveled young man with a mullet who had a crazy idea of becoming an English teacher. He believed in me before I did, and like a tow-truck driver, he pulled me out of the ditch and back on the road for good. Schlitz-Drinking, Lazy @#$%, Trailer Trash, Redneck Communist Wannabe.
Here’s a toast to all of them (and the many edited out due to space limitations). Each is entitled to a free bottle of Schlitz. The word “entitled” shouldn’t be used here, though. It’s more like this: They Earned It.