Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on February 15, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 4 comments



Chickens at The Curious Cat




1.Below the usual or required standard; synonym below par. Imperfect. Inferior

Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of substitute teaching. I must admit that the job has a lot of perks, not the least of which is the flexibility. There’s lots of work if you want it but if you crawl out of the sack in the morning and you’re feeling more like 90 than 71, you simply roll over and ignore the website that has the job postings for the day. You don’t have to do any lesson planning, prepare report cards or listen to Johnny’s parents tell you that their son is God’s gift to learning when you know that he is a big time hellraiser.

I love the variety of subbing. You never know from one day to the next whether you’ll be teaching Gaelic or auto mechanics. For someone who has trouble with the English language and doesn’t even own a toolbox, this is very scary indeed.

Recently, I was offered a half day of teaching. Normally this happens when a teacher has to go for a doctor or dentist appointment but every once in a while, when there’s a threat of a liquor store strike, they want to get in the lineup early.

I had a chance to meet the teacher I was replacing.

So, how’s this for an opener:

“Good morning. Do you go by Pamela or Pam?”

“I go by Jennifer.”

Sub. Substandard.

When I received notification of the assignment that day, I looked at it briefly and for some reason, when I arrived at the classroom, the name Pam was etched on my brain. This, despite the fact that Jennifer’s name was clearly emblazoned on the door of her classroom. Secretly, she must have been alarmed at the prospect of a doddering old man being left in charge of her young charges. We had a great laugh about it and had a nice chat before she left for the day.

Paying attention to detail was once very important to me but as I get older, I’m finding it more difficult and unnecessary. Imperfection and inferiority (see synonyms for substandard) are raising their heads with shocking regularity. And ya know what, I don’t care. The best thing about being a senior is that my “I don’t give a damn” index is quite high. You know exactly what I mean. I see you nodding your heads in agreement.

Recently, I have been busy selling my books. I have shipped many of them to far flung places but for locals, I have been hand delivering them. I pick up my $20 bucks and occasionally get a coffee or a glass of wine (or Jameson’s whisky!).

One day last week, I was asked to deliver a book to an old friend, a very distinguished, retired, professional lady. She lives in a lovely mobile home park near the center of our town. I know the park well. At least I thought I did. To protect her innocence and good reputation, we’ll say that she lives at 200 Palm Street. When she messaged me with her address, the number 200 stuck out and I quickly embedded it in my memory bank.

The park has an unique layout with one street merging into another.(Steet names changed to protect the dignity of the fine folks who live there). I pulled up at 200 Palm Street at the appointed hour. I must admit that I was a bit surprised that her front steps hadn’t been properly shovelled after the last dump of snow. It was icy and uneven, not the most egregious offense in a northern climate. I knocked on the door and was met with stony silence. When no reply was forthcoming, I rang the doorbell. I could hear scuffling of feet. The door opened and I was greeted first, by a cloud of smoke, followed quickly by a scantily clad young female university student. The stony silence that I had experienced minutes before had been replaced by a stoned student. The air quality index in her home would have challenged a coal fired electricity plant.

Me. “Does Pamela (Pam- not her real name!) live here?”

Polythene Pam. “I think you have the wrong place.”

Me (thinking to myself “No shit”.)

I turned the car around to discover the other tributary of this street called Pine. I found #200 and was quite relieved so see my friend. We had a great laugh over my mistake.

The final delivery that same day was to another dear friend who works at our university. I have lost track of her in recent years. She has been busy raising a young family and I have been busy chasing polar bears. Both occupations are hazardous. I knew where she worked the last time I saw her four years ago. Once again, when she sent me her office number, I took a cursory glance. To quote the Beatles once again, “I should have known better with a girl like you…”, the fact that her office number started with a 4, should have been a dead giveaway. Typically, the number 4 denotes an office on the 4th floor. I knew that her building only had two floors but nowadays, all bets are off. Because the memory of my most recent error was still very fresh in my mind, I pulled out my phone to double check the address. Right church (University campus) – wrong pew (not the right building). I turned my car around (again) and headed for the 4-story building where I found my friend exactly where she told me would be.

The senior’s moments are coming fast and furious these days.

Standard behavior as far as I can tell.

Have a great weekend.

Don’t get lost!



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