#180 – Beating Around the Bush

The only other time I had a conversation as veiled as today’s, internet porn was the topic and the stakes were my continued employment. Pornography did not figure in this afternoon’s chat, for which I’m grateful. Nonetheless, as before, I expected to hear that my services would no longer be welcomed. I didn’t though, and for an understandable reason.

Upon arriving at the elementary school today, I was told there’d be no mentoring this week, but “the Principal would like to speak with you.” The last time I’d been called into a principal’s office was … well, never.  In grade school, I happened to be a model student, and I stood a greater chance of suffering vaginal cramps than disciplinary action.

From the drawing left in plain sight atop the principal’s desk, I could immediately tell this was to be no simple meet and greet. Yet the man, whom I’ll refer to as “Mr. Jones,” maintained a stoic façade and gave no hint of his objective. Though I couldn’t help but glance repeatedly at the elephant in the room, waiting for the axe to fall, Mr. Jones chatted idly without acknowledging the picture or making any accusations.

At last, guided by some internal cue, he interrupted himself: “Ah, I see you’ve noticed the drawing on my desk. A fifth grade teacher confiscated it from one of her students. Apparently, it’s intended to represent a monster in a game called ‘Rockem Sockem Teachers’ – a game which makes a mockery of our entire faculty.  It’s turning into quite the plague here, for students of all ages. Of course, I can’t tolerate this affront to authority, and I’m therefore dealing severely with any children caught partaking.”

He then handed me the drawing in question so I could take a closer look. It depicted a creature with red eyes and two horns spouting from its head. The monster also possessed a disproportionately large posterior from which flames were shooting. Ill-advisedly, the artist had affixed a fitting label to the masterpiece, dubbing the creature “Mr. Enormass,” suspiciously like the hindquarters of the man sitting before me. And removing any doubt as to the authority figure who’d inspired the beast, the letter “P” appeared on its torso.

I would’ve roared with laughter if I hadn’t expected Mr. Jones’ next words to be the accusation I awaited, followed by a call for security to remove me from the building. Instead, he thanked me for participating in the mentoring program and asked if I intended to stay with Ernie throughout his elementary school years.

Needless to say, I felt confused. Mr. Jones obviously knew something about my involvement in Rockem Sockem Teachers, yet he’d intentionally ignored any mention of it. And he’d invited me to continue mentoring Ernie! Why, I wondered?

I found out when I answered Mr. Jones’ last question affirmatively, and he replied: “That’s good to hear. We have a terrible shortage of male mentors, and short of a convicted child molester, we can’t afford to lose any one of them.”

Photo opportunistically snapped when Mr. Jones briefly excused himself

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