Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Germ-X, Mints, and Water

I went to the store today to buy some things I thought I might need for the beginning of the upcoming school semester. As I went down the aisles, I made an internal list of items I would need to purchase in my head. First and foremost, I went straight for the Germ-X. I could horrify even the most vulgar of men with my tales of high school boys – even the girls can be disgusting. A girl once asked me (without showing me, mind you) if the ever-growing sore on the back of her upper leg could be from sitting directly on the toilet seat. I’ve even taught holding back the vomit forming in the back of my throat desperately trying not to notice as a boy picked his nose for no less than 10 minutes. I’ve seen things – awful things.

Next on my list were some breath mints. I’m not vain enough to believe that I can’t be gross as well. While I don’t pick my nose or let porcelain touch my skin, I can imagine on a bad day that maybe there might be a piece of a rotting something stuck between my molars. In middle school, I had a male teacher that was pretty notorious for having a mean case of coffee breath throughout the day. It didn’t smell like normal coffee though; it smelled like it came from the half digested pinto variety rather than coffee beans. As a student, I knew when he needed something from me because he’d get within four inches of my face and hold me hostage. As blood starting dripping from my tear ducts and the pores on my face began to sizzle from his dragon breath, I’d have chewed off all the gum underneath the desks had he asked. I would have done anything for him to just move two more feet away from me. When he finally moved away, it was like coming out of some stupor or trance. There would be this overwhelming feeling of What did he just make me do? Did I quack like a duck? As one would imagine, I only remember three things about him, which is more than I can say for most of my middle school teachers so maybe it’s a backhanded compliment. He taught me the conjunctions (the Russian dogsled Captain Andor Fornorbut and his dogs So and Yet), his dog-with-several-rotting-teeth breath, and his name was Mr. Fuchs (comically, like a cuss word – giggle, giggle).

The last thing I picked up was part of my weight loss initiative: bottled water. Surprisingly, I don’t mind drinking water, but in the past, the inconvenience of the whole thing has bothered me. For example, the squirt bottle I bought initially for this purpose several years ago just sat in my room. Eventually, the water inside must have collected dust and became stagnant (I’m sure). The idea of stagnant water sickens me. I imagine there are little mosquito nests forming inside and little maggots crawling up the sides just waiting to slither down my throat. 

The other option is to go to the water fountain, which isn’t that bad. The problem with this is that the one right outside of my room only shoots up high enough so that I can’t help but have my lip touch the actual metal. I have quite a bit of experience in drinking from fountains but the teenagers in my school don’t. I can just imagine a kid’s lips completely engulfing the spout as he uses his tongue to lap the water down (Yeah, I’m imagining a boy doing this). The fountain that shoots up high enough is too far away, so – you know.

This leaves me with the last option – bottled water. I’m pretty cool with this idea because I have twenty four bottles before I’ll need to reload; that’s a month of school days. I suppose I could just use a bottle and refill it until I eventually lose the bottle. I’ve thought this whole process through; I figure I could just drink the contents of the bottle and at the end of the day, put it next to my computer. I could come in the next morning and just fill it up. This was a perfect plan until the idea crossed my mind that the janitors would probably drink from my bottle. I could just see them all hanging out in my room, eating some student’s half eaten, discarded food from my garbage can, laughing it up, and sipping on some of my sweet water. Well, I’m not a fan of this, so I’ll stay with the conservative one bottle a day idea.

I think I’m ready for tomorrow, but who knows? It seems like the cosmos are against me in every way, shape and form. I just have to accept there is nothing I can do.


  1. Bottled water is indeed a great factor to weight loss. If you always have one at hand, it will help keep your from snacking in between meals.

    I get the impression that French high schoolers aren't as digusting as American kids, but I could be wrong. I'm sometimes in a class in which I have boys who still have not discovered the joy (and necessity) of using deodorant. Stuck inside a stifling classroom for one hour without being able to open the windows because of the winter weather is a nightmare!

    I wish you a great start to this new semester, especially with your Germ-X and mints!

    -Barb the French Bean

  2. I would never had thought a teacher would be so full of various neurosis. Bottle water is a great idea although I have the Diet Coke monkey on my back and it just won't let me go, man.

  3. To French Bean-

    Uh, no deodorant is a problem. Nose picking and stuff is bad but putrid smell might be worse. I guess it's what you're used to. I have students that stink, too. I'll be in my first period class thinking, what the hell? Did you just eat 4 lbs of curry for breakfast?

  4. To Life's Highway-

    The Weird part is that I'm not a germ-a-phobe! I've just seen enough to make even me queasy.

    I'm with you. I have a mini fridge of Coke Zero in my coaching office. I would drink it constantly if I didn't have an overwhelming feeling my teeth were rotting with every sip.

  5. I carry a 1 liter refillable bottle with me everywhere I go. It never leaves me so I don't have to worry about other people drinking from it and I refill it constantly at work.

    I love it so much. Best two bucks I ever spent at Wal Mart. <3