A First Time for Everything

This past week marked several firsts for me:

– A first time to substitute teach a PE class.  I’ve done this several times now, in fact, and it’s quite enjoyable.  I even managed to convince one class that the proper way to count-off stretches was by counting up to 85 by tens.  This left them very confused, but none the worse for the experience.

– A first time to make bread from scratch.  Here it is in all it’s glory:

It did not come about, though, without some agony.  As soon the flour touched my hands, cold shivers shot down what remains of my spine (all of my spine remains, actually, I was just trying to modify the cliche to make it less of one).  Andy (known to you, perhaps, as “Jafar”) and I both have this weakness.  Peach fuzz, flour, or anything with that same questionable texture is enough to keep us out of the kitchen for weeks at a time.  Until I tasted the stuff that came out of the over, I had sworn never to put myself through such chills again.  Now I have unsworn.

– A first time to feel an earthquake.  That’s right.  In the middle of second period today, the room swaggered and swayed.  The portable whiteboard in the corner turned topsy-turvy on us, and the students said, “Can you feel it, Mr. Halbrooks?  It’s an earthquake!”  And then another said (mockingly), “Stay calm!  Everyone STAY calm.”  I, meanwhile, watched the ceiling closely, fearing yet another cave-in.

When all was said and done, my students informed me that such jolts are common around these parts, and rarely dangerous.

Me: How often, would you say?
They: Oh, I’d say once every two weeks.
Other They: No, Joey, not that often.
They: Ok, once every month.
Other They: Noooo.  Once every two months.
They: (silence)
Me: So… are we right on the edge of a plate, then?
They: We’re in the Ring of Fire, Mr. Halbrooks.
Me: Right, but are we on the edge of a plate?
They: The Ring of Fire, Mr. Halbrooks.

Though some diabolical thoughts did cross my mind, you’ll be happy to know this did not result in yet another first.

And, for your edification, we are not (in fact) on the very edge of a plate, just mighty close:

7 thoughts on “A First Time for Everything

  1. Alan, you don’t know how much fun I have picturing you teaching PE to high schoolers. Apparently UAB thinks that PE teachers all over the world are being let go of, so they have a class required for teachers in training that is strictly teaching PE. As a teacher, I apparently need to know how to make a ball out of yarn… I’d be happy to teach you.
    Oh my gosh, an earthquake!! I am freaking out here. That’s SO exciting!! And the bread looks fantastic! You and Jafar aren’t the only ones… your other goofy brother has the same problem – boy can hardly pick up a peach!

  2. this saddens me that the halbroox bros are unable to pick up a peach, seeing I’s eaten about 10 of ’em over the last weekend.

  3. It’s true! I had quite forgotten that that other brother of mine suffered from the same disease. ‘Tis a hard life, let me tell you.

    What madness – 10 peaches in one weekend? Did watching that weird “James and the Giant Peach” movie not teach you of the dangers of such over-consumption?

    And what, pray tell, would ever call for a ball of yarn in PE class?

  4. Plate tectonics aside, your track record for collapsing ceilings is nothing short of legendary. This is not a good thing for your current locale. You should consider ordering one of those wireless emergency response pendants…..or at least an avalanche beacon for your backpack.

  5. I don’t have any fears of peach fuzz, but I won’t go anywhere near flour! I also don’t like super soft sand – the stuff gives me goose bumps.


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