Twenty minutes… Went to that open house last night. For Elliot. New high school. My kids have been to private schools, charter schools, publics. The teachers are all the same. No matter what the private schools try and sell you. Even the parochial schools.

People are people. Teachers are people. You get good ones. You get bad ones. Some teachers decide to teach because they just want a good and secure job. Some teachers becasue they love education. And love kids. And love learning. So the public school open house last night. Some remarkable teachers. But no glimmery buildings. Education — one of my favorite topics. I’m all for education, I just hate to see it getting in the way of learning.

The bio teacher. Treading lightly. Christain parents don’t like evolution. She’s giving a summary of the year. Evolution is one of the units. “Hey, some of the kids get very upset about this topic. I just want you all to know that this is what we teach and I’d appreciate if the students could just accept that the theory is supported by most in the scientific community.”

Huh? How could a 15-year-old even grasp cosmology? And the parents are indoctrinating them? I never indoctrinated my kids with peripherals. “Well, many Christians think the earth was created in 6 days a few thousand years ago, and most scientists believe it slowly was created over millions of years.”

“But what do YOU think, Dad?”

That most scientists believe evolution to be fact. Doesn’t mean Jesus isn’t Lord. Doesn’t mean God isn’t real. The thought that our world’s greatest scientific minds have some conspiracy theory against the Bible. Countless Christian and Jewish and Muslim scientists that support the theory of evolution.

People shouldn’t be so certain about things they know nothing about.

Life is mystery. Some stuff is just full of complexity. Like love.

If anyone ever tries to tell you exactly what love is, turn around and run. Because some things can’t be reduced to quick tidy answers. Especially love.

But to love is to suffer. Passion is suffering.

That poor bio teacher. Those poor students.

Donald Trump now expands his attack on women. Now it’s women who are (in his view) overweight. “Obviously she likes to eat.”

Why is he talking about this lady? Don’t good leaders choose to ignore or deflect incidentals?

Mom. She fell asleep on my shoulder on Wednesday. On that outdoor sofa. After I walked her. After she smelled those roses. After she tried to pull the dead ones. After I told her I would bring her her clippers. We look at the trees. She calls them “those big things.”



All the years she put me to bed. All the years I slept in her arms. With my head on her shoulder.  Now hers on mine. All those years she would rub BenGay on my legs. Those growing pains were unbearable. They came in the middle of the night. I’d groan. She’d be there. Then give me a hot water bottle. All she did for me. She’s here still. And she’s not here.

“Music is all we’ve got.” Chance The Rapper again.

Music. Music is the air I breathe. Listening to almost no podcasts these days. Listening to almost no NPR these days.

Andrew. I thought he only did opera and classical. Knew his disdain for anything remotely resembling popular culture. He’s the novelist. The university professor. At our philosophy society on Tuesday. In Laguna Beach. “You like Springsteen, right?” Me: “Um, yes.”

Andrew: “You must listen to Dream Baby Dream.”

I’m a late bloomer to Springsteen. I think I’ve heard, maybe, 20% of his songs. Never had even heard of Dream Baby Dream.

Get in car.

Park. Listen.

At least 20 times,

Art class. Art teacher. Dull, green sweater. A drapey kind. She’s full figured. Wedding ring. Hair clip. Passionate about art and teenagers. You can feel it. It’s beautiful to watch. She’s one of those kinds of teachers.

Then there was my art teacher. One of the other kinds of teachers. Freshman year. Mr. Broussard. Never once smiled. He was a single middle-aged body builder. He had this big steel mallet. The size of my whole arm. And a big steel plate. On his metal art desk. Students would talk. Sometimes during free time. Doing what teens do. Without warning. He heaves that evil shiny full-arm-size mallet onto the plate. Like a gavel. With all his might. And he had might. The sound was deafening. IMMEDIATE silence, other than the echo. Look up. See a grin of satisfaction. Jaws clinched.

We hated him for it. One day me and three wrestler friends decided to pay back. You always feel the urge to hurt those who hurt you. The scales must be balanced. He had this tiny white English sports car. An MG I think. He had this perfect personal parking spot by his art room. We picked it up. His tiny white English sports car. Just the back part. But we lifted the damn thing! Into the air. Turned it sideways. Back wheels onto a curb.

Balancing the scales. Oh, the collective satisfaction we felt.

Learned the next day we bent the bumper. And messed up the frame. No surveillance cameras in those days.

Thank God. He would have killed us. Or worse.

Heard years later he was fired for some kind of inappropriate relationship with a student.

As I get older, more mystery. Pursue your passion. Resist what society calls success.

Resist quick fix techniques.

Go with your heart,