Last week I assigned my TA the tedious task of scanning old documents (of which I have no digital copies) and purging, then recycling, my paper files; I'm moving at the end of the school year and I'll be damned if I'm taking 14 boxes of vocab quizzes with me. Perpetually agreeable, my TA fell to this task with her usual good cheer. At one point she came across a typewritten overhead transparency and asked me what I wanted her to do with it. "Toss it," I answered, to the shock of a nearby student. "Why would you throw away a perfectly good transparency?!" he demanded, plucking it from the trash. "Have you EVER seen me use the overhead?" I countered. Nobody has, not since my first year of teaching.
Why anyone -- let alone a high school student -- would want a used overhead transparency is beyond me, but this kid did. He kept holding it up and laughing. "What the hell is so funny about a transparency," I wondered to myself, even after I noticed that he'd drawn thick, dark wavy lines in its blank spaces.
He kept laughing and I kept wondering. Soon all the kids around him were laughing too, some uncontrollably. (Oh, and PS, was this disruptive to the learning environment? Answer: yes.) I looked more closely at the transparency. "Mustaches? You drew mustaches?" I hypothesized, which only served to move the mirth-o-meter up a few notches. I remained puzzled. I mean sure, mustaches are funny, but not THAT funny. So, "What's so funny about mustaches?" I asked dismissively. My kids were now laughing so hard they were practically falling out of their seats.
And then, finally, I got it. Behold:
"The first mustache is my favorite," Mr. Transparency Plucker announced. "I like the second one better," another kid responded. They examined me, alternating mustaches. "Yeah, if she had a mustache she'd definitely have the second one," Plucker finally agreed, "it's snooty." "You think I'm SNOOTY?!" I demanded. They thought about it for a minute. "Well no. You're smart, not snooty. But most smart people are snooty."
So. What did we learn in class on Thursday? That mustaches are funny. We might also have learned why developing countries just can't catch a break, but I can't be positive. Oh, and I bet those pictures are all OVER MySpace.