April 2018

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A few years back, early in the Age of Acronyms, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) was everywhere: bumper stickers, t-shirts, lanyards and so on. I think it's a compelling question.

At my friend Rita's mother's memorial service this past weekend, the minister--having some (but not much) acquaintance with Facebook, asked, "Who Would Jesus Friend?" WWJF. I think this is also a compelling question. I only friend people I already know. Jesus would probably friend everyone, though I think the minister's point was that Jesus would friend Rita's mother.

Now, I want to know WWJS: What would Jason say?

Jason is my new teaching colleague. Picture him: thick wavy hair, a blondish, reddish, brownish color. His hair is parted on the far left, and he swoops it to the right. He always looks like he's just combed his hair: you can see the comb tracks, and his hair stays that way all day. I don't know how he does that. In his thinking pose, Jason tilts his head left and twists it to the right in a sudden jerking motion. As he speaks, his left hand turns in the air as if he's unscrewing an imaginary gas cap. As he concludes his comments, he gestures with his palm up, a welcoming gesture. He rests his hand back on his beard and pulls gently at the beard hairs, doing what Todd calls "the beard scratch." When Jason smiles, he seems so pleased with himself and the world. His blue eyes grin and his dimples deepen. How can you not love him?

Especially, when he talks. Take a listen, and I'm sure you'll agree:

Apropos of nothing I can determine, Jason says, "Strunk and White. I really prefer Strunk."

In a discussion about style, he lets people know, "I don't like it when people bite my style." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I'm guessing I shouldn't mock his tan cowboy boots.

As the teachers snack, Jason poses a question as if he's given it great thought: "Here's a question. Should MSG-toes be classified as tortilla chips?"

Jason pretends that his classes are out of control, though as far as I've seen they are not. Talking about a class that didn't go so well, he said, "I used scream-o at the beginning of class today."

Jason and another young teacher agree about something, and they high five one another with a loud slap. Jason says, "That was a satisfying high five."

Sometimes Jason makes pronouncements, and I think they're funny, but since I'm of an older generation, I never quite know what he's saying: "We're all cyborgs. Who's not a cyborg already? I don't know. Maybe someone in the Amazon."

As this group of Language Arts teachers agrees that they will not prioritize students learning about mode in this unit, one teacher marks through "mode" on their chart. Jason says cheerfully, "See ya later, Mode."

In a discussion with other Language Arts teachers about the last day of school, Jason said, "School's out on June 24th. I'm probably going to be checked out by the 15th."

In class, Jason's student is twirling on one leg of his four legged chair. Jason tells him, "You should have at least three chair legs on the floor at all times." The student, who is bright, hears the humor and attempts to have only three chair legs on the floor, lifting the fourth. He is amused by this. So am I.

Pretending that he's dismissing the importance of his class, Jason tells other teachers that he will instruct his students, "You guys read Elements of Style. I'm sittin' at the back playin' "Call of Duty.'"

The teaching team discusses student motivation, and Jason, furrowing his brow in deep approval of a point a colleague has just made, says, "GP." We elders look at him blankly, and he explains, "Good point."

Jason's humor is like Ellen Degenerous's [sic] humor: it's witty and kind. He invites people in with his humor, rather than shutting them down. I would like my humor to be like that, too. I ask myself, WWJS.

DBMS (Don't bite my swag.) Mary

1 comment:

  1. You captured the essences of my son, Jason, brilliantly! His kind humor as always been one of his best attributes! Thank you for your fabtastic blog about one of my favorite people in the world! He is a gem! WWJS...."Mom, I can't believe you wrote that!"

    Jason's Mom


Please comment: I'd love to hear your thoughts!