Inventory: Kevin

Inventory is a series of posts where I talk about those items that serve no practical purpose, but that I am strangely attached to.

The school district that I used to work for did this thing that was awesome, and then they kind of made it weird.  They used to have a gala that was a really nice shindig complete with awesome silent auction items–the first year I went, I paid $20 for a chance to win an iPad…and I won a motherfucking iPad!  If you came early there was an open bar, so my friends and I always came early.  Our principal used to buy tickets for anyone who wanted to go, which was a nice gesture since tickets weren’t cheap.

What made it weird is that they got high school students to work the event as volunteers or performers or whatever.  Teachers + open bar + students is weird, especially when they were my students.  At one point one of my students from the previous year walked by our table and noticed that there were at least twice as many empty glasses as their were people and gave us a knowing grin.  But since drinks were only free for the first 90 minutes, it behooved us to drink quickly.

Anyway, the last year that I went to this gala, our place settings at the table contained Thank You notes from elementary school children thanking us for supporting their education (because the event was a fundraiser for the district.)  The first one I turned over cemented where I would be sitting that night.

Here it is:

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You guys, we need to talk about Kevin

In case you have trouble reading it, the note says: My name is Kevin I like science I plan to make a poison Thank you for supporting my education

Immediately, I love and fear Kevin.  The underlined bits indicate that this kid was given a sentence stem.  He took boring sentences and with just a few words, he turned a series of statements into a gem.  I turned over others, and a girl name Susan liked art and other straightforward things, but it became clear that no one was quite like Kevin.

Three years later, this note is still hanging on my fridge.  I still talk about it, and I wonder if Kevin still wants to make a poison.  What does he want to make it for?  Are there good, socially useful kinds of poisons that Kevin might create or is this just evidence of a comic book super villain in the making?  One of my favorite things about working with kids is that they have the ability to surprise me and make me laugh.  When I taught 10th graders, I referred to them collectively as “my little weirdos,” and I meant that as a term of endearment.  So, even though I never met Kevin, I am actually quite fond of him.

I hope he remembers that if he ever succeeds in making that poison.

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