Tag Archives: 80’s

Equations with the Stubbly Good Witch

“Think about what things mean.” This was my advice to my son as I drove him to his little slice of hell — school.  That particular day would be more hellish than usual as he had both his Geometry and Science final exams.   Like me, he would almost rather have a colonoscopy, including the dreaded prep, than be forced to learn math or science.  I felt for him, so I offered him the words of advice that got me through high school math.  Mr. Scott said them almost daily.  Whenever he would write a super long equation on the board and look out at sea of confused dog looks, he would simply say, “Think about what things mean.”  This simple philosophy has gotten me through a lot more than math.

 Mr. Scott was my favorite teacher even though he taught my most hated subject – math.  I had him for Algebra in ninth grade, and again for Integrated Math my senior year.  As a teacher, he was the perfect combination of firm, professional, and funny.  He knew his subject, but he didn’t just stand there and drone on and on about variables and the order of operations.  No.  He always kept our attention, even if he had to wear a dress.

 Yes, I said a dress.  No. Mr. Scott was not a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  He was a Vietnam veteran with a permanent five o’clock shadow who usually dressed like a gas station attendant.  I’m serious.  He had a bunch of gas station attendant shirts with his name, Frank, on the front.  They were from all different stations.  I used to sit there and try to imagine where he got them.  He couldn’t have just ordered them on Amazon because it was 1987 and Amazon, or the Internet, or laptops, or iPhones, didn’t exist yet.  No.  He would have had to work at all of the gas stations to get a shirt. Either that or he toured the country finding gas station attendants named Frank who needed some extra cash.  No matter how he got them, I wasn’t sure why he wore them.  Maybe it was to remind himself that no matter how horrible high school students were, teaching was still better than pumping gas.  (Young people, gas station attendants used to pump people’s gas for them.) Whatever the reason, he wore them almost daily, except, as I mentioned, when he wore dresses.

 One particular Halloween (See, I told you he wasn’t a drag queen.), I remember walking into his class on the second floor of the old 600 hall at South Broward High School and almost walking right into his magic wand.  That’s right.  Mr. Scott, Frank from the Shell station, was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  I couldn’t help but laugh all the way to my seat.  He just stood there and looked at me like, “What?”  I took my seat expecting an easy day of not really doing math.  I was wrong. 

 Mr. Scott began class by walking carefully across the classroom in his sparkly shoes and shiny dress, and pointing to the board with his wand.  He called on me, of course, and said, “Lisa, what is the quadratic formula?”  I looked at him like he was nuts, but he insisted that I say the formula out loud while he grabbed a piece of chalk with his wandless hand.  I’m happy to say that I got it ALMOST right.  I forgot to say “the opposite of” before I said “B.”  I’m sure at age 41 I still know MOST of the quadratic formula because of this experience. 

I never grew to love math, but I sure remembered it better after watching a man with a five o’clock shadow in a dress teach it.  Over the years, Mr. Scott donned many costumes, some of them dresses and some of them more masculine, like when he was Vince Fontaine in the school’s production of Grease.  No matter how he was dressed, he always took the time to slow down and show us HOW to think about what things mean.

 I kept that in my head during the SAT and I actually scored higher in Math than in English.  (Note: I ended up becoming an English professor.) I kept thinking about what things meant through college, marriage, caring for a baby, a divorce, a new marriage, moving across the country, and a host of other experiences.  Basically, whenever I was getting frustrated or taking things too seriously, I would stop and think about what things really meant.   Usually, they weren’t as bad, or as serious as I thought, once I really THOUGHT about them.  Sometimes, all I needed to do was put on a sparkly dress and laugh.  That always helps.  Thank you, Mr. Scott, wherever you are.

 

The Jordache Smell

“You’ve been wearing those same pants all week,” Dickhead (not his real name) said to me in front of everyone in the hallway right after sixth grade math. Until that moment, I had a crush on him. I looked into his smirking face and hated him and his dark good looks.

“Um, no I haven’t. I have a couple of different pairs, and anyway I washed them.” I stammered, trying not to cry.  This was total bullshit, as I had only one pair and we did not own a washing machine.

Come on over to Knot So Subtle and read about my middle school fashion disasters.

jordachecorporate.com
jordachecorporate.com

Translated 80’s Songs

Young people, in order for you to understand this blog, you need to be aware of a dark time in human history.  There was a time, brace yourselves, when people did not have smart phones or even regular cell phones. No, not even flip phones. I know.  I know.  Imagine a time where you couldn’t check Facebook every 19 seconds, or Instagram your lobster mac and cheese before you even took a bite.  Dark times.  Brace yourselves again.  Not only were there no smart phones, but there was no internet.  So, humans had no email, or social media of any kind.  We, gulp, had to call each other on archaic devices called home phones.  They hooked into our walls with wires. WIRES!! We had to sit or stand near the phone, and we could only move as far as the telephone CORD would allow.

When I was your age, back in the 80’s, there was music on MTV. Odd, I know, but stay with me. A lot of the videos showed people getting emotional about phone calls. These songs also talked about people meeting in person rather than on Facebook as nature intended. There were even lyrics about people reading paper magazines. What a waste of trees! Why were there no iPads?

Even though there was a shocking lack of technology back in the day, there was some great music. I wanted to share some of my favorite songs with you, but I realized they would probably not make sense to anyone born after 1992. To make them more accessible to those younger than me, I have updated the lyrics so you can understand and appreciate them.

 

Huey Lewis and the News, “If This Is It”

Original: I’ve been phoning, night and morning. I heard you say,”Tell him I’m not home.”

Translation: I’ve been texting. It says you read them. You keep letting me go straight to voicemail.

 

Duran Duran, “Girls on Film”

Original: Wider baby smiling you just made a million. Fuses pumping live heat twisting out on a wire

Translation: You used the right filter and got a million likes. You went viral on Instagram and Facebook, too.

 

Wham, “Battle Stations”

Original: You don’t know how much I hate that answer phone. Are you standing there? But – you won’t pick up the ‘phone. Why lie to my face? When you can buy a tape machine to give me bullshit in your place

Translation: I hate when you reject my call. I know my picture still pops up on your iPhone. You don’t even have the balls to Facetime me.

 

Ratt, “Round and Round”

Original: Out on the streets; that’s where we’ll meet. You make the night. I always cross the line.

Translation: In a Facebook group, I will see you. You post the best cat videos. I post politically incorrect jokes about Republicans.

 

Midnight Star, “Operator” (Young people, there used to be a person called an “operator” who used to help you make phone calls. It’s kind of tough to explain, but just think of this person as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.)

Original: “Operator, can I help you?”

“Yes, I’m trying to, uh, reach my baby, and I dialed 6-1-6”

Translation: “Hi. You sound lost. Do you need a new iPhone?”

“Yes, I’m trying to text this hot chick, and I dialed 567-443-8671.”

“You didn’t dial a 1 first, doofus.”

 

Tommy Tutone, “Jenny 867-5309”

Original: Jenny don’t change your number
I need to make you mine
Jenny I call your number — 867-5309

Translation: Jenny, I’ve been tweeting you. Please retweet or reply. Jenny, I follow your Twitter — at sign J-e-n-n-y

 

J. Geils Band, “Centerfold”

Original: Years go by I’m lookin’ through a girly magazine
And there’s my homeroom angel on the pages in-between. My angel is the centerfold.

Translation: A long time after school, I was flipping through Instagram, and there’s my ex in a bathing suit with lots of tats. My bae is a suicide girl.

 

The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Original: One day is fine and next is black. So if you want me off your back. Well come on an’ let me know. Should I Stay or should I go?

Translation: Your Facebook statuses are funny but sometimes you vaguebook. Your relationship status says complicated. Should I comment or should I unfriend?

 

Prince and the Revolution, “When Doves Cry.”

Original: How can we scream at each other?

Translation: How can we all caps text each other?

 

Blondie, “Call Me.”

Original: Call me (call me) on the line. Call me, call me any, anytime

Translation: Snap chat me (or text) on the iPhone. I won’t turn it off at night.

 

Stevie Wonder, “I just called to say I love you.”

Original: I just called to say I love you.

Translation: I tagged you as my Woman Crush Wednesday on Instagram to kind of claim you.

What do you think, young people? Are you still thinking about the wired phone? I hope you don’t have nightmares about that. It was super frightening. Your mom could pick up at any time and tell you to get off the phone. Super embarrassing. Be glad you don’t have to go through that. Maybe you can translate your favorite songs for me now, or at least hand me the lyrics.  I can’t understand what the heck anyone is “singing” now with all of the yelling and growling.  Oh, shit.  I’m getting old.

 

 

Equations with the Stubbly Good Witch

“Think about what things mean.” This was my advice to my son as I drove him to his little slice of hell — school.  That particular day would be more hellish than usual as he had both his Geometry and Science final exams.   Like me, he would almost rather have a colonoscopy, including the dreaded prep, than be forced to learn math or science.  I felt for him, so I offered him the words of advice that got me through high school math.  Mr. Scott said them almost daily.  Whenever he would write a super long equation on the board and look out at sea of confused dog looks, he would simply say, “Think about what things mean.”  This simple philosophy has gotten me through a lot more than math.

 Mr. Scott was my favorite teacher even though he taught my most hated subject – math.  I had him for Algebra in ninth grade, and again for Integrated Math my senior year.  As a teacher, he was the perfect combination of firm, professional, and funny.  He knew his subject, but he didn’t just stand there and drone on and on about variables and the order of operations.  No.  He always kept our attention, even if he had to wear a dress.

 Yes, I said a dress.  No. Mr. Scott was not a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  He was a Vietnam veteran with a permanent five o’clock shadow who usually dressed like a gas station attendant.  I’m serious.  He had a bunch of gas station attendant shirts with his name, Frank, on the front.  They were from all different stations.  I used to sit there and try to imagine where he got them.  He couldn’t have just ordered them on Amazon because it was 1987 and Amazon, or the Internet, or laptops, or iPhones, didn’t exist yet.  No.  He would have had to work at all of the gas stations to get a shirt. Either that, or he toured the country finding gas station attendants named Frank who needed some extra cash.  No matter how he got them, I wasn’t sure why he wore them.  Maybe it was to remind himself that no matter how horrible high school students were, teaching was still better than pumping gas.  (Young people, gas station attendants used to pump people’s gas for them.) Whatever the reason, he wore them almost daily, except, as I mentioned, when he wore dresses.

 One particular Halloween (See, I told you he wasn’t a drag queen.), I remember walking into his class on the second floor of the old 600 hall at South Broward High School, and almost walking right into his magic wand.  That’s right.  Mr. Scott, Frank from the Shell station, was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  I couldn’t help but laugh all the way to my seat.  He just stood there and looked at me like, “What?”  I took my seat expecting an easy day of not really doing math.  I was wrong. 

 Mr. Scott began class by walking carefully across the classroom in his sparkly shoes and shiny dress, and pointing to the board with his wand.  He called on me, of course, and said, “Lisa, what is the quadratic formula?”  I looked at him like he was nuts, but he insisted that I say the formula out loud while he grabbed a piece of chalk with his wandless hand.  I’m happy to say that I got it ALMOST right.  I forgot to say “the opposite of” before I said “B.”  I’m sure at age 41 I still know MOST of the quadratic formula because of this experience. 

I never grew to love math, but I sure remembered it better after watching a man with a five o’clock shadow in a dress teach it.  Over the years, Mr. Scott donned many costumes, some of them dresses and some of them more masculine, like when he was Vince Fontaine in the school’s production of Grease.  No matter how he was dressed, he always took the time to slow down and show us HOW to think about what things mean.

 I kept that in my head during the SAT and I actually scored higher in Math than in English.  (Note: I ended up becoming an English professor.) I kept thinking about what things meant through college, marriage, caring for a baby, a divorce, a new marriage, moving across the country, and a host of other experiences.  Basically, whenever I was getting frustrated or taking things too seriously, I would stop and think about what things really meant.   Usually, they weren’t as bad, or as serious as I thought, once I really THOUGHT about them.  Sometimes, all I needed to do was put on a sparkly dress and laugh.  That always helps.  Thank you, Mr. Scott, wherever you are.