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My dad recently sent me an heirloom: A handwritten note from one of my elementary school teachers, written in the early ’80s. The content of her note can be summarized in the phrase “We need to talk.” My dad also included his handwritten notes from the phone conversation.
Here are the highlights, in case they’re hard to read:
- Gives dumb answers to get a laugh
- Not embarrassed by his [inappropriate] actions
- Sloppy attitude
- Mondays are the worst
- Goofing off
- Hiding under the table [to impress] a girl
- Going to the office
- Pushed a kid into the mud
And so on…
I can’t say I remember any of this, but I have absolutely no doubt my teacher was pinpoint-accurate in her assessment of my disruption of her classroom. If I were able, I would sincerely apologize to her for it. As a parent, I can relate. A few of these items could have been written about my kids – except for going to the office, since we’ve cleverly taken that out of the equation by homeschooling. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you might say.
Truth be told, they’re much better than I was. When my twelve-year-old read the notes, he looked at me with wide, perplexed eyes and seemed to feel almost betrayed. “Dad, really? That’s not very good,” he said. They’re great kids, but now we have quantifiable, scientific evidence of their genetic predisposition for snarkiness and it’s mainly my fault — though their mom also speaks fluent snark, so we should’ve known from the beginning it would be hopeless. She also gets credit for their math skills and zero tolerance for excuses.
Need further proof? Let me offer up exhibit (B).
Below you will find excerpts from the self-assessment section of my most recent employee review:
Comments by Vince: It’s safe, sure, but maybe not 100% safe, more like 80% safe. Not for mice though, it’s probably something like 15% safe for them.
Comments by Vince: In the beginning, there was respectful delivery of positive feedback in a timely manner, and it was good. Then they said, “Let there be participation in the performance review process,” and he complied, and it was good. Then began an explanation of his employee’s behavior, and of safe work practices … let us call this The Fall.
Comments by Vince: Meh
Comments by Vince: I make appropriate eye contact with the mirror every day; smile and floss so as not to make things awkward for members, like if I had something stuck in my teeth.
Comments by Vince: I’m always poised for action in case someone jumps over the counter ninja-style. I almost always show up for work, unless a bridge collapses; then I stay home and drink coffee.
Comments by Vince: Oh I’m very thorou
Comments by Vince: Work toward my ultimate dream of our employees being able to proudly and comfortably wear hoodies, no longer a second-class apparel choice.
Plan to Achieve Goal
Comments by Vince: Engage, educate, assimilate
It would be prudent at this point for me to apologize to a number of individuals who have been on the receiving end of my, er, creativity over the years. To my friends on Ricochet, teachers, employers, friends, telemarketers, customers, mailmen, internet form submission recipients, door knocking political candidates, former girlfriends, waiters, policemen, strangers on Facebook, salespeople, drive-through cashiers, former supervisors/managers and crew chiefs, and my wife…I’d like to say:
I’m sorry (sort of).
While my teacher’s note was chock full of exasperated condemnation – and no doubt my dad held me accountable – she also felt the need to mention this:
It reads: Writes beautifully.
So there’s always hope.