Sooooo, you might be thinking, “WHERE IN THE SEVEN KINGDOMS HAVE YOU BEEN, VALERIE?!?!”
To which I can only respond:
But seriously, I’ve been doing some more top secret writing for a bigger project. More on that in the future. For now, enjoy one of my favorite stories.
Only, this isn’t one of my stories.
My good friend Ashley once told me the following story about life as a high school teacher in Los Angeles. I’ll try to do it justice below.
As a fresh-faced college graduate starting her new teaching position for a high school government class, Ashley began class as all teachers do: the dreaded roll call. Before this story, I had always assumed it was worse being on the receiving end as a student whose name was butchered in front of the class. Now I’m not so sure.
The first names thankfully weren’t difficult to pronounce. Nothing like a curveball to make you choke through the rest of the session (I’m looking at you, Brazil. Ayooooooo!)
Then Brain appeared.
“But Valerie, you mean Brian. Quit being so bad at spelling!!!” you’re wondering.
No no, I meant what I said. Hey Brain, lookin’ good.
Ashley stared at the attendance sheet and saw what clearly said Brain, but gave it her best guess anyways. “Brai-ayne? …Bray-en?” she called out to her brand new batch of 35 students.
35 students exploded with laughter.
A boy toward the back sighed, raised his hand and said quickly, “It’s Brian. I know. But it’s Brian.”
Ashley nodded and called him Brian from then on, feeling like she was missing the joke as the students began settling down from the instant uproar.
It wasn’t until later in the week while in the teachers’ lounge that Ashley got some answers. (Side note: Ash, is the teachers’ lounge as cool as I always thought it was? If not, pretend it is so I’m not crushed.)
Ashley introduced herself to her fellow teachers. When they asked how it was going so far, she said, “Pretty good, there was this one kinda weird thing, though…” as she explained the Brain/Brian situation.
“Oh….well, here’s the thing…” a colleague sympathetically began. Turns out, poor Brain’s parents misspelled ‘Brian’ on his official, one-and-only birth certificate. So every new year and for every new teacher Brain’s had for the past 12 years, he’s had to correct each and every one.
But on standardized test forms and official documents, he still must write Brain. Because Brain is his name.
I take back what I said about not being sure who roll call is worse for. Definitely students.
That’s right, kids. Go hug your parents and say thank you for getting your name right.
Before you feel like a horrible person for laughing at poor Brain like I did, Ashley assured me that Brain/Brian is a happy kid. And he has comedic gold for life, unless he decides to eventually fix that little snafoo.
You go, Brain. You can be whatever you want to be.
And that’s why What are Arguably the Worst Parents in the World were my least favorite people of the day.