I break my rule too often. I say I’m not going to get in a hot discussion with people who
I can often tell when they’re yards away that they’re going to land on me. The ones who don’t like the period and want a question mark are easy to spot. They give off an air like Peterman. I just tell them I like the dot. Or I tell them a question mark would change the meaning. They don’t accept that for a second, and strut away. Haughtily. Like Peterman would. Though he’d be cuter doing it than the people I’m talking about.
‘It’s the parents' fault’ is the one I hear the most. As many black people say it as white people; maybe more.
‘It’s all about money’ a lot of people say, some doing the Johnny Football thing.
The ones who get the most worked–up about it when they say it are the ones who say, ‘It’s the teachers union.’ Delivery guys will sometimes holler that from their trucks.
Now and then someone who works for the Dept. of Ed. whose building I’m standing in front of will come up and say they‘ve seen me there every day. Do I think they’re not teaching the kids to read well? That can get me going. I should just hold my sign up in front of my face then. I should just say you should see the smiles I get from poor people, the thumbs up I get from black kids on skateboards in flat-brimmed red Yankee caps, the Amens I get, the cars that honk, the cars that stop and roll down their window to take a picture of the sign.
This morning though I talked too much. I can tell that I over-reached, still, five hours later.