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December 17, 2012

I subbed in Jane Agren’s class today; the mother of one of my old teammate-friends, Jane teaches high school math. The plan for the day was to watch episodes of “Numb3rs” and have the students work on their worksheets, if they had not already finished. Easy day, right? All of her classes were great: well-behaved, friendly, fun, relatively quiet. During fifth hour, meaning I was on my third episode of Numb3rs (one hour for prep and one hour with a team-teacher, i.e. actual teaching going on), I sat in the back of the room and corrected papers. My involvement in the episode varied as I had to monitor the class, write down notes for Jane, answer phone calls, etc. But when I moved to the back of the classroom, my attentiveness heightened. I’m not sure if it was because I had something else I should have been doing or if it was because I could essentially see all of the students before me without taking my eyes off the screen; whatever the reason, I was IN THE SHOW (literally, that’s what it felt like).

The episode was this: a crazy, serial-killer, Jesus Christ wannabe was re-making, in Los Angeles, the path of Christ to his crucifixion. His victims? People who had the same name as Jesus’ disciples + Mary Magdalene, each of whom he killed the same as depicted in the Bible (or so the show said, I didn’t cross-reference). So this guy was making his way through Jesus’ modern-day, unsuspecting L.A. peeps and he gets to Matthew, who was burned to death (or something like that). The cops on his case, thanks to the math nerd brother, pick up the pattern and figure out where “Matthew” is located. Fast forward to them busting through a lot of doors in slow-motion with rad background music, and there’s Matthew, laying in a tanning bed (where he had apparently been for the last two weeks), crispy as a pork rind. Hot cop brother leans over the tanning bed to shut it off; the camera is zoomed in on this guy’s charred face and my eyeballs are looking at charred guy’s eyeballs.

AND HE OPENS HIS EYES.

I KNOW.

Without shame or inhibition, I scream. I literally, scream out loud. And jump out of my seat.

No one, no one, not one other person in the class reacts. Just me.

The laughter begins. Howling, howling, howling. I have tears running down my face, in laughter. Oh, it felt so good to be saved from the terror of the over-baked disciple, my heart was punching my ribcage. And perhaps I should have felt more embarrassed in my reaction, but I wasn’t – not at all.

“Miss Youngman,” a student laughs, “NOBODY else jumped, Miss Youngman.” They said I was behind the times: “Miss Youngman, everybody knoooows that when you see a dead body on this show and they’re zooming up real close, that person ain’t dead!”

Lesson learned: I love laughing with my students. Especially when it’s at my expense.

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