Beyond having creative, innovative and somewhat endearing English teachers, our department was unique in that we were also very close friends. We loved the art of teaching and most of our students; we also loved to have fun both in and out of the classroom.
We taught Metaphors, a comparison between two non-alike things without using like or as (that’s a simile for those searching the deep dark recesses of your minds trying to find something that you learned in school and has absolutely no application to anything you’ve ever done in life unless, of course, you’re an English teacher or writer).
The world is your oyster.
He drowned in a sea of grief.
It all started innocently enough in the English Office when we were helping one of the new teachers come up with unique examples of metaphors. Someone offered the example of Ted and Jane being the black and white keys on the piano…different genders and ethnicities, but closely aligned in their lesson plans.
It was probably the finest example, because, as it was Friday after a long week, the discussion quickly disintegrated into a one-up-man-ship of examples that could never in a thousand years be used in a classroom.
And thus began the rather infamous, if short lived, Metaphor Wars…
Monday, Suzanna tacked up a poster of a gas-masked soldier walking away from a building with toxic orange smoke billowing from it with the penned metaphor, the teacher who has bathroom duty this week.
I should note Suzanna was well known for her ability to blush a deep red at any suggestive innuendo. It was so bad that she kept a small paper fan on her desk because our office thrived on innuendos of all kinds.
Wednesday was a short column from the local paper… for every woman who doesn’t want to have sex with her husband because of a headache, there are two or more women with aspirin in their purses, and pictures of confident, sexy women with prominent purses.
Pictures and posters of metaphors began filling every possible space in the office. Who knew metaphors could be so much fun?
Thursday, Peggy walked into Suzanna’s room during a silent reading period, when everyone in the school was supposed to be reading. She carried a small silver tray bearing a torn page from a magazine of an advertisement showcasing a man’s suited torso, a scantily dressed woman draped over his shoulder with one arm and very suggestively caressing his tie with her free hand. Next to the picture were two aspirin. Dianne followed, handing Suzanna her paper fan.
Every time Suzanna attempted to re-focus on her reading, she’d start laughing again, turn beet red and frantically fan herself. It was quite a sight to behold according to her students who had no idea what was going on except that it seemed to be far more entertaining than anything they were reading.
Friday was as quiet as a Friday could be, other a rather large collection of men’s ties suddenly decorating the office.
The following Monday, there was a staff meeting after school and an unexpected guest presenter. He was dressed in the typical professional attire, with the exception of a very large, very wide, extraordinarily ugly, bright green tie.
The English Department, sitting together in the back of the room, immediately dissolved into a puddle of giggles before the poor man ever opened his mouth. We all looked at the floor, bit our lips and tried to suppress our laughter as tears streamed down our faces. It didn’t work. One of us would start giggling and the others couldn’t help but join in.
We couldn’t look up, we couldn’t look each other, we couldn’t look at the speaker, no doubt a very nice man who was speaking on a topic that none of us can remember.
But we all remember his tie.