Tag Archives: Ramaz

So it’s been awhile…

22 Feb

But do read this! If you’ve already read it, pardon my redundancy. But for those of you who don’t know her, Miriam has the best excerpts of an interview with our high school teacher who recently came out with Hummingbirds, a book about a prep school and illicit student-teacher relations. (Ours was a Jewish co-ed high school.)

My connection is more tenuous than Miriam’s, as this writer was never my teacher, nor did he ever write me a recommendation. But I was in his Literature in Translation club, which I enjoyed immensely. More importantly, the person I believe he refers to here was that English teacher I’m always talking about. The one who introduced me to the New Yorker, made me fall in love with reading and writing, the one who indirectly made me realize I never wanted to be a dentist to begin with:

And the central conflict in the book, the rivalry between two male teachers for the students’ affection—that’s something that was actually born out of my experience. When I first started teaching, I was completely envious of this other teacher who always managed to evoke undying loyalty and adoration from his students. But he was so dynamic that I understood where that adoration came from. I was torn. I didn’t know whether to destroy him or to be his best friend. As it happens, I split the difference: I’ve become his friend, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to destroy him every now and then.

Here are a few gems:

  • As Miriam notes, his next book is about zombies. I can’t get over that either.
  • “The administration, of course, trembled a little at the idea of a teacher publishing a book containing illicit relations between a teacher and student. But because the book is a fiction rather than some kind of scandalous expose, they were more supportive than not. “
  • “I could do a mean anapestic tetrameter.”
  • “So I went up to her afterward, and my opening line was: ‘So you like Faulkner, huh?’ It’s the kind of pick-up line that only works with very particular women. Of course, I immediately adored her, wee and ferocious as she was, but it took me a year to convince her to go out with me.”
  • “Mostly I drink Welch’s Grape Soda.”
  • “I would love to be Miley Cyrus for a day. It seems like she’s having a good time. And a day would be good. I don’t think I could handle much more than that.”

teeth. play. work.

5 Jun

Yesterday I went to the dentist (aka my uncle) for a cleaning and exam. This made me think about my discarded aspiration to attend dental school. Although I was not exactly comfortable, lying on my back, foreign hands in my mouth, a supersonic scaler cleaner brazing my teeth, I became nostalgic for a life I once thought I wanted, if that’s possible. Dentistry itself seems exciting, and a ticket to a secure life. But then I got back to my reading and remembered why I traded physics in for Chaucer.

Then I want to my high school to watch my brother play trumpet in the senior play, Back to the 80’s. It worked because they were playing themselves: high school seniors desperately anticipating prom and the future. There, I had a chat with the English teacher who inspired my love of books and the New Yorker.

Today, I started work at the Forward, a weekly national Jewish newspaper. I’ll be working under the associate publisher two days a week—and I might get to write some articles as well. I enjoyed meeting so many interesting people, and being back inside a newsroom.

A sign that this job is fitting: the bathroom code is the same as Spec’s. Bashert.

The office is beautiful, and located near Wall Street, an area that has renewed my awe of New York city just as I was getting over it. The novelty of the place will wear off, of course, but until then, the narrow streets and cobblestones will please me. In the spirit of learning the lay of the land, Mary met me after work. We had a lovely evening which consisted of wandering, mostly. We wandered into Tiffany’s, because I have been holding onto a $50 dollar coin for that jewelry store for eight years since my bat mitzvah. I figured I would find something cheap and finally spend the gift.

But nope. The cheapest tag charms in the store were $80. So then I thought, okay, well, I’ll buy a ridiculously expensive pen. A telling conversation about the whole business:

me: “Do you carry any pens for about $50?”
saleslady, tapping her feet at my apparent ignorance about her store: “No.”

It was hard not to laugh. I ended up leaving the store with my $50 coin in my wallet, and plan to turn it into a necklace. As Mary noted, though the trip was not tangibly fruitful, it reaffirmed that our life choices—not shelling out $475 for a tiny Elsa Peretti pendant in amethyst—made sense.

Then we meandered to South Street seaport and enjoyed the view:

Seaport with Mary