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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 3, September 2014

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Thomas Chockley
Plainfield, Illinois, USA


Toxic and a Cure for Cloudy Eyes

I’ll call her Argemone Mexicana, not her real name of course. She had a shiny, new doctorate and was new to high school administration. I was a dinosaur in my 30th year at the high school. She was my new boss. We were not friends. While we used the same English vocabulary, we talked past each other. For example, when she talked about a summer project for our counselor group, she meant shepherding in-coming freshmen through a series of counseling activities during July and August. When I talked about shepherding in-coming freshmen during the summer, I meant getting paid for non-contractual work. I knew I was in trouble in the second semester of our first year together. In explaining to our group why I was wrong in my thinking, she inadvertently called me by her husband’s name. It happened three times in a two week period. I knew I needed to change that evolving problem as quickly as possible. I took to bringing a big, blue coffee mug with my name, TOM, in bold, white letters to all our counselor meetings. Whenever I commented in a group meeting, I casually held the cup up in front of me. She soon returned to using my name whenever pointing out my faulty thinking to my colleagues and me. I often wondered if her husband had the reciprocal problem.

prickly poppies
you’re grumpy I tell her
looking in the mirror

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