Thursday, April 15, 2004

Life Is A Cancer Fighting Cabaret, Old Chum

I want to first add to yesterday's post to give a description of something insane I have created to get my kids ready for testing.

Endurance Writing

I explain that it's like stretching out before a race. On Tuesday, they will have to write for over an hour straight, in silence. We have to prepare for this (believe me, this group isn't used to extended silence) and so have written for the last few days in silence, adding 10 min a day to our time. Feels artificial, I never write in silence.

We will, however, take some time off from our sustained silent writing tomorrow as it is Cancer Fund Drive Day at school.

Every year we engage in a huge fundraiser for Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. We have had restaurant nights and car washes, silly contests and basketball games all in the name of cancer research. We raise more than I make in a year in all of these events and win banners and bragging rights with our fellow schools. It is humbling to see. My school isn't rich but everyone pitches in and there have been years that we raise more money than more affluent schools with 600 more students. The kids are at their best.

I love this day. I have painted my toenails green in anticipation (this is hard to explain, but the Crazy Olympics assembly is taken seriously---you traditionally look and act crazy at this event) but every year I think of a former student.

I had this kid once who hated CFD. A devout pacifist (he would often exclaim while beating his fist on something), Mark claimed that doing anything in the name of competition was wrong. He was a selective deontologist, but became red with anger at why we would work so hard to raise more money than the Seniors, more money than North. He worked so hard to resist it all that I watched him fight the urge to have fun. Last year at the dunk tank, he actually paid his buck to throw three balls at a target and I caught him smiling. He was mortified that he had been caught.

He died on the funniest hills.

I am thinking of him now, though, as I paint my nails green and organize the schedule for the dunk tank. We stand only to break even on the tank this year (last year it was donated) and I agreed to run it more for more activities for the kids than for the money or cause. I wonder what Mark would say about that. Sad to think so hard you miss all the fun.

I hear that Keaton's site got seven hits from this site today to see the silly guest column I wrote. If you liked that column (and Curt, I thought of you the whole time I remembered Oran "Juice" Jones) you will love Speech Teacher, the new comic strip. It happens Friday sometime and although I will check it out, my green toes and I will be at the dunk tank eating bad carnival food for cancer.

Go team take state.

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