Trix are for Kids

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs

“Can someone get me on the Firefox?” Senor Thomas would routinely ask the class, as if knowledge on this subject were as crucial as uno and dos. Sometimes he would even comment, “I can’t get on the lappy toppy.”

I wish I was in his homeroom, but I got stuck with the French teacher. There was nothing horribly wrong with the French teacher. She was fluent in French, which is both good and unnecessary for handling a herd of eighth graders. She knew how to teach, but she didn’t have that flare that Senor Thomas just seemed to possess without trying.

So he didn’t know how to get on the internet or use email. But he did know how to show us commercials from the 1980’s that just happened to be in Spanish. Commercials with Hispanic race car drivers smiling that charismatic smile and singing, “Drink, PEPSI!” Then there were the Lucky Charms renditions, back when Lucky Charms were cool. And let’s not forget the Trix are for Kids! The rabbit would dance on the TV screen his little Mexican dance. Not the Mexican hat dance. It was more the shake your tail feather. Or in this case, rabbit tail.

What happened was, I guess he recorded a half hour’s worth of television commercials in the Spanish language one afternoon when he was bored and then decided thirty years later, “I can use these with both Spanish 1 and Spanish II!”

Which was the case.

I guess he did know how to work a computer because he got ants on it. In fact, that’s why he got in trouble. One of those stupid Laptop Initiative  rules. “Don’t eat over your computer!”

I don’t think the eating was the problem. He liked ants. In fact, he fed his ants.

Just like kids these days sing that song, “Pants on the ground,” Senor Thomas had ants on the ground of his classroom. He collected them in a big container of Double Bubble and fed them. I’m not sure what he fed them. Everyone, myself included, seems to remember that he fed his ants. I think he declared that he fed his ants or waved some “I feed my ants” flag at a pride parade, invisible among all those rainbows, just to prove his point.

Speaking of pride, we never really knew about his marriage situation. Apparently, he still lives with the woman he was married to. Only the two have been separated or divorced.

This does not mean, however, that we must exclude the existence of the lady being crushed to death in the pool. Yes, you know what I’m talking about. The lady being crushed to death in the pool.

It was a picture that hung on his classroom wall. Looking back, I wonder how he ever got away with it. But here’s the story regardless:

So there’s a picture of two ladies in swimsuits in a swimming pool. That’s not the weird part. One of these women is morbidly obese. The morbidly obese woman is diving into the water and lands in the lap of the skinny woman, only the skinny woman is being crushed to death because she’s defying physics and supporting a morbidly obese woman in a pool. Cool story, bro?

The picture was a lot cooler.

We were addressed by our last names. But not really our last names. Versions of our last names. For example, a kid with the last name Sherwin was called Williams. Maybe Senor Thomas liked to paint.

Every Fridays were BINGO days. We were awarded candy and Double Bubble. The other days were spent hitting the blackboard with fly swatters. (It was part of a vocabulary game. If only you’d been there.)

Senor Thomas is a cool man. I haven’t met many who say they will go to Mexico to study French and Paris to study espanol. But I guess he’s an exception.

 

Don’t Pass Me By (Part II)

(Part II of my review of Before Midnight)

When it gets more personal–when it gets to fewer comas and more real-life drama–and when it gets to the affable, delightful boyfriend duking it out with his narcissistic other half, there’s an end result: the female is inferior. We love the boyfriend. We think the girlfriend is a bitch.

It’s true. I loved listening to Jesse deliver his lines. It was charm, not content, however, that won me over. Celine, his girlfriend? Too needy?

That’s just how she came off.

But if we think about it from a factual stance, Celine was balancing taking care of her two kids in Paris and working. Jesse was attempting to care for his son, but the details were complicated because of a previous marriage and the son dividing time between the States and Paris and that’s another story.

Celine specifically complained about doing everything for her kids, who were also his kids, but you didn’t see the connection or any interaction–at least among Jesse and his twin daughters.  Celine also mentions that she’s depressed and compares herself to Sylvia Plath, who put her head in the oven to kill herself.

But the moment is lost in translation. To clarify, Celine is trying to say that she feels like Sylvia Plath and that she feels like sticking her head in the oven. Only when she is speaking in English (because her native tongue is French), she accidentally says she wants to stick her head in the “toaster oven”. This is mocked by her b.f., who claims that it’s really an oven. Just an oven. Your head won’t fit inside a toaster. But you can try it.

Except for the “you can try it” comment, all of that was true.

If someone I loved or anyone told me he/she was suicidal, the last thing I would do would be to make light of the situation. But make light of petty women’s comments? That’s the name of cinema…and of the real world.

It should also be noted that we see the woman half-naked but nothing of the man. She is exposed. He is not.

What’s almost comical is the casualness of her exposure. There’s at least five minute’s worth of an argument continuing on. And she’s topless for a good chunk of time. That I just don’t understand.

And finally, let’s examine the ending. It was great how you thought it was going to be a goofy cliche interpolated book inside a book. But when it wasn’t, you thought it was brilliant.

Don’t pass me by.

It’s not brilliant how a woman impetuously gets back together with her long-time boyfriend after a long fight manifests the unequal distribution of power because why? He compliments her ass. Her nice French ass. And what’s better? On that night, he promises her the best sex of her life.

 

 

Don’t Pass Me By (Part I)

(My review of the film Before Midnight)

It started out intellectual, with casual conversations about sex and human beings and men versus women and the author’s perspective and the anthropologist’s dick. Then it transformed. It transitioned from lightly feathered chit chat and food for thought at the dinner table to the bedroom, where the catastrophes unfolded. At first the dialogue was entertaining. It always was, whether we were seeing the beaches of Greece or nipple or an airplane or a half-eaten apple that the protagonist stole from his daughter. But the transition did come, from light to dark, from dinner to dessert.

By this we mean the bedroom.

By this we mean the argument.

The theatre I was at did have an intermission, and I’m glad it did. It made me really develop an understanding for the two halves of the film. At first, I thought the first half was written by one screenwriter, and the second another because there was a change from generalizations to personal situations.

One such generalization was that when women wake up from comas, the first thing they do is ask how everyone else is doing. How’s my husband? How are the kids? Aunt Janet? Dammit.

Men?

Is my penis still there?

Good, it’s there!  Life does go on.

And so does Before Midnight. But the strange thing is, there’s no plot–and it’s not boring! Nothing happens, except Jesse’s grandmother or grandfather (it was inconsequential) dies and the couple has a fight. So do all couples. So why was it so riveting?

Dialogue.

Character is inversely proportional to plot, and vice versa.

But the thing about this movie, no matter how witty it was, regardless of how charming a character was or how engaging, don’t let it pass you by. Don’t confuse a seemingly strong female lead for feminism. More like feminism thrown off a cliff.

 

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