Mentoring resumed today. As expected, Ernie didn’t take well to the Principal’s ban on our new game, “Rockem Sockem Teachers.” I tried to console him by pointing out the obvious: “Just because you can’t work on the game at school anymore doesn’t stop you and your friends from playing it at home.” Though I doubt that’s what the Principal intended when he put the kibosh on our faculty mocking vehicle, I felt glad to see my mentee smile again.
With Rockem Sockem Teachers off the table, I again face the conundrum of what to do with the boy. I suppose we can try traditional games once more, like most mentors and mentees, but I’ve yet to find one that’s mutually satisfying. Undoubtedly, I’ll go back to the drawing board next week, since I have no wish to repeat today’s performance of “Hangman.”
Ernie knew how to play, of course, and he wanted to guess first. Recognizing that a word like “supercilious” would probably exceed a third-grader’s vocabulary, I instead chose one I felt sure the kid could deduce: namely, “green.” At first, it appeared he’d guess it easily. He picked “e” and “n” before I’d drawn the hanged man’s neck. With “_ _ een” showing, I figured the rest would be a snap. It wasn’t. Ernie never guessed “g” or “r.” He did, however, select “w,” “y” and “z,” leading me to question anew the state of our educational system. Despite insisting that I draw the deluxe version of the hanged man – replete with eyes, pupils, ears, nose, mouth, hair, hands, feet, pants and shirt – he never completed the word.
My turn proved equally dissatisfying. When the kid selected a three letter composition, I understandably anticipated an easy go of it. As I saw it, there had to be a vowel. Once I picked it, I figured I couldn’t fail to get the other two letters. Yet I flopped even worse than Ernie, despite demanding the same additions to the hanged man which I’d allowed him. Shockingly, I didn’t guess even one letter correctly!
By the time Ernie drew the last portion of his hanged man, I felt like an idiot. But then he revealed his word: “xxx.” The only triple-x I’d ever heard of signified the hardest of hard-core adult movies or the largest women’s breasts. Though Ernie refused to explain what his xxx meant, his shit-eating grin told me he too knew at least one of those definitions.