Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Santa Claus, G-Man, and Bob

Has anybody here, seen my old friend Saa-aanta? Can you tell me where he's gooo-ooo-ooo-ooone?

Santa Claus is missing.

He has been my faithful companion for several months, slumbering quietly in my top desk drawer, sleeping off his holiday indulgences. Oh, every now and then, I take him out to spread good cheer to assorted students. Some need his assistance on a daily basis. But until now, he has always returned to his oaken bunk after carrying out his designated duty. Until yesterday.

The overwhelming majority of students arrive in my classroom with necessary materials to facilitate maximum learning. Two, do not. They are in my more mature group, not so much in behavior as in years on this earth and grade level in school. These two politely request the use of a pencil, and promptly return it when finished.

Because I did not just fall off the yellow turnip bus, I know that often "loaning" a pencil is akin to "loaning" a tissue. The student asks to borrow it, but you're not getting it back. For that reason, if I deign to dole out a pencil, I make sure it's the most undesirable writing utensil ever to be grasped by a student's sweaty palm. The ratio of borrowers runs about twenty to one, boys to girls. I used to loan a hot pink pencil, but then those young whippersnappers got all metrosexual and real men wear pink on me, and that color was no longer a theft deterrent.

Santa Claus, and his dear friend Gingerbread Man, are popular on the paper, but not so much in the pocket. Like the biology text, *Bob, they are highly-prized in my classroom, but not outside its boundaries. Santa, G-Man, and Bob are starters in the regular rotation of supplies that are proffered in order to keep kids in the classroom during the daily game of I Forgot Something In My Locker.

I normally don't loan items to freshmen. A freshman is an unreliable borrower, with no credit record, no visible means of support, likely to leave town in the dead of night with my pencil strapped to the top of his four-wheeler, never to be seen again. So it was with some trepidation that I allowed Santa to assist a ninth-grader. I'm not sure what came over me. Perhaps it was the heady excitement, nearly palpable, of the very first day of the brand-spanking-new FOURTH QUARTER.

Like a Baby Jesus missing from the manger of a churchyard nativity scene, I fear that Santa is irretrievably, unequivocally, indisputably lost.

*Bob is an old biology textbook, not checked out to anybody. One of his past assignees wrote the name "Bob" on the closed pages opposite his spine. He resides alone on the battered wooden bookcase at the back of my classroom, waiting for the day his brethren are collected and stacked about him in a joyful last-day-of-school textbook reunion.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

Sorryabout that! When I get my pens and pencils done I will contact you and donate soem to your cause. I will be happy for them to work their way out of your stash. I will be be shamelessly advertising ....

Val Thevictorian said...

That's a scathingly brilliant idea! It's killing two birds with one stone. We can be bird-killers together! With your stones!

irishoma said...

Hi Val,
Sorry about your missing Santa.

I've notited some restaurants tape flowers to their pens so patrons won't accidentally walk off with them. Maybe that would work with pencils. What freshman boy would want to walk around with a flower arrangement?

Donna V.

Val Thevictorian said...

One of my seasoned students mentioned this today. I had loaned him the G-Man, and he noted how one of his teachers last year used to fasten big flags on top of her pencils. "I pulled the flags off first thing, and then kept the pencils, even though I didn't want them. She was crazy."

Tammy said...

I feel your pain. I run around and pick up pencil stubs from the floor and use those as my loaners. If they're 3" long or less, I might get them back--especially if the erasers are worn off. And toward the end of the school year, I bring one with me and write my name on it in permanent marker. One kid STILL tried to claim it was his. Hope Santa finds his way back.

Val Thevictorian said...

Sadly, Santa has been abducted and is being held against my will at the home of the abductor. That's his story, and he's stickin' to it. But I fear that pieces of Santa may turn up under the custodian's mop.