I have to run some paperwork over to the old Southtown Middle School. We’re coordinating some middle school to high school curricula. Southtown is a venerable, late 19th century building. Right on the river. A lovely place, except when it rains.
I figure I’ll drop in on Arthur Riddlesinger. I taught middle school with him for years over at Central. I love the guy. (A remarkably talented figure skater, by the way.) Normally, he’d be too busy to talk much, but today I catch him during his planning period.
Or rather his mopping period. It turns out that his planning period today is devoted to mopping up his basement classroom.
In fact, he keeps handy a dozen mops, he tells me. And I’m like, ‘Huh?’
“Oh, you think this is because of the recent spring floods. No. The basement floods because it rains.” He just leaves off like that explains everything.
He keeps a dozen mops handy, and deals with these inundations like it’s a regular part of his lesson plan for 1st period. “OK, kids. Get out your books, turn to page 23. Do questions 1 – 3. But first, the mops.” Except today, for who know what reason, he’s got to do it himself.
So I figure I’ll help. I open up the mop closet, and, may Sweet Jesus gouge out my eyes, there’s the World’s Hugest Extension Cord In The Whole Universe. It’s like the extension cord equivalent of the Guinness Book Of World’s Records Largest Ball Of Twine In The Whole Universe. The thing is a thousand feet long.
‘Riddlesinger, what the fuck? Dude!’
He explains that he has the only functioning wall socket in the basement, largely because it’s halfway up the wall, and the water seldom gets that high. (Which is when I notice that everything, books, pictures, maps, all that, everything is halfway up the wall. Because of the inundations.) Everyone else’s wall sockets are near the floor and silted in. His words, “silted in”.
And this is how you show a video in the basement at Southtown Middle School. The basement folks contribute a dozen extension cords each to Riddlesinger. He, in turn, makes the World’s Hugest Extension Cord In The Whole Universe, which can, when needed, reach from his far corner to the other far corner of the basement half a mile away. When it’s not raining, of course.