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Friday, May 12, 2006

Agony, Ecstasy, Etc.

Normally I'd be in a much better mood on a day when I had two gigs. Yesterday found me performing two shows, one at a Catholic school, and one at a far south side Lions Club event. I was and am still extremely grateful for the work and, aside from the amount of time was stuck in traffic, I really only had one complaint about the day.

The first booking, in the morning at the Chicago area Catholic school, was quite frustrating. I did a very good show so far as I could tell, but the audience tried my patience considerably. All grades up through 8th grade were in attendance and since my show has appeal for all ages there was no problem for me. However, the kids from about 6th grade on up took it upon themselves to be "too cool for school" and looked at the program as an excuse to get out of class and nothing more.

There was lots of background noise, surface chatter, and a total lack of respect for the person performing the show, if not the folks around them who were genuinely interested in seeing the show. These things happen, more frequently every year I'm sorry to say. I don't really take it personally as there's only so much I can do to maintain a level of sanity within the situation, which I did very well in this case. I mean, it is the fault of the parents for not teaching their children some etiquette or manners, and certainly a problem of the faculty for not maintaining order within their school parameters.

A lot of performers fail to realize that they can simply stop the show and explain to the students that their time could be better spent back in the classroom instead of enjoying the presentation their school chose for them to watch. That usually stops the nonsense. Unfortunately I had to make several such stops along the way.

The truly frustrating part was that NONE of the faulty, no teachers, nuns, nobody did anything to either discipline nor stop the students from acting out. There was nobody taking the time to reminded the classes that they are representing their school in a poor manner. Noone removed any of the more serious trouble-makers. Not a soul in this Catholic school felt it necessary to show any sort of authority in any way. THAT was disturbing to me.

At one point I actually made some of he teachers go into the stands to sit among their students (something that they should have been doing in the first place) in order to be "on the scene" and police the situation better. This quieted the crowd initially, but the nonsense started up almost immediately afterwards and what did the teachers do? NOTHING! I shudder to see what the classrooms are like.

I was fortunate enough not to attend any Catholic schools as a kid, but I sure have worked at many of them in the last 21 years. I usually look forward to these places as I know that the students will be well behaved for fear of Sister Mary Confusing (Thanks, Bud!) reigning hell upon them. I wasn't asking for a full-on holy ass-kicking. A "SHHH!" would have been nice, though.

Yesterday, I saw just one more example of the AWFUL parenting present today. Behavior like this starts at home.

I was also privy to just how little authority the educators have anymore within the schools. I'm sure this has a lot to do with frivolous lawsuits, the need to coddle kids, promote self esteem above all else, and of course the ever-present budget cuts. However this also has a lot to do with the quality of the teachers inside these schools. I know that it is a very difficult profession, filled with challenges at all levels. Many of these challenges , coupled with the large amount of politics involved among the administration and the parents are responsible for teachers being broken to the point of total ambivalence, as in yesterday. Still, you knew what the job entailed when you made the decision to go into a thankless profession with precious few benefits and even less pay. Suck it up and get control of your students. I needed the money, but I'm not the one being paid to take crap from kids. That would be YOUR job.

Anyway, after the show, feeling considerably angry and something less than proud of my ability to make a living that day, I did the only logical thing that could brighten my day and raise my spirits.
I went to Superdawg!

Among the BEST Hot Dogs ANYWHERE!

I was in the neighborhood.

I'm sure I'll have more to tell you about Superdawg later. Just know that I felt all better afterwards!


Blogger Gordon said...

You know, one of the things that I miss about Chicago - and that has me sorely tempted to move back - is that you actually have to travel for a frickin' decent hot dog in STL.

At least in Chicago, there's one greasy burger/hot dog/junk food place on every corner. I mean, come on, STL, what's the deal????/

9:44 AM

Blogger Bud said...

Oh I could write dissertation about Catholic school, you know that. I actually taught in one right out of college because even then, Catholic schools would hire anybody. Even me. A long haired draft dodger who hadn't been to church since high school. Here is what I believe to be the situation you were in. Catholic schools exist as a place to keep your kids away from the "riff raff" in public school. So if you have enough money, you send them there. The faculty is under trained and just not very good or they would be working for a decent salary in Public school. They let the kids do whatever they want so as not to piss off the parents who would just as well take them to some other private school. I'm speaking from long hard experience. I'm talking from long hard experience on all sides of this issue, believe me.

11:03 AM

Blogger golfwidow said...

Superdawg is on the list of places I must visit before I die. I'm jealous of you.

1:41 PM

Blogger Amanda said...

I don't blame you one bit for being pissed! That is ridiculous. I would be kicking ass and taking names :P (kindly of course)

2:01 PM

Blogger Andy Land said...

Yeah, St.Louis has some excellent food...but they have not a clue about good hot dogs or pizza. Well there's some good pizza there, just not quite the same.

Yeah, Bud, I guess that's the norm these days. Most of the Catholic schools I've worked at had a better system in place, but these days...not so much. Why should the facutly give a crap I guess?

GW, come on out to the Chicago area and I'll give you a guided tour of Chicago hot dog joints, pizza places, and of course, a trip to Booby's for the greatest steak sandwich on Earth.

Superdawg makes my FAVORITE Chicago hot dog. They are unique as they are the only place on the planet that sells thosespecific dawgs (their own recipe). If you want a traditional Chicago hot dog made from Vienna beef , Red Hot Chicago, or Best's Kosher, then I choose Portillo's every time.

Amanda, I'm pissed...but today it is for a whole lot of other reasons. I'm sure you'll hear about them in tomorrow's post.

2:48 PM


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