Tag Archives: school

you can call them “field mice” if you want to

don't fall for it! it is STILL a mouse. i know it's in an orange but it will bite you!

when i was a little kid–i think i may have been in second grade–i did my homework over the weekend and then promptly lost it. i noticed this sunday night, the most dreaded night of school-aged children, and proceeded to have a mini meltdown.  

“i don’t want to tell my teacher i lost my homework!” i told my parents, completely panic-stricken that i was going to get in what us kids called “big trouble.”

“tell your teacher you misplaced it,” they told me calmly.

misplaced, i thought. wow. that sounded so much better. yes, that would work, i decided. i would tell the teacher–actually, i think it was a student teacher–that  i misplaced my homework. it was much more mature and refined. i once knew where it was, but now i didn’t. which meant that i misplaced it and did not lose it like the irresponsible second grader that i was.

i took a deep breath, dislodged my wedgie, and told the student teacher that i had “misplaced” my homework over the weekend. i swear to this day i think i saw her try to hold back a smile. thinking back on it, i’m surprised she didn’t let out a laugh, too. what second grader comes into elementary school saying she misplaced her homework?? me, obviously. but it worked and i felt better. she gave me another worksheet, and i redid it. case closed.

i’m telling you this story b/c i crack up when people change language to make things seem…not so bad. take “field mouse,” for example. now that we’ve dealt w/our fair share of mice, it always cracks me up when people see/find/catch a mouse in their house and tell people that it is/was just a little field mouse.

i used to go for the whole field mouse thing before i moved to a rowhouse that shares walls w/who knows what. but as a tried-and-true resident of southeast baltimore, i’m not falling for it anymore.

i hate to break it to you, but a mouse is a mouse, folks. just like a roach is a roach and not a “water bug.” the mice we occasional caught in picturesque suburban new jersey look exactly the same as the mice we catch here in downtown baltimore (well, except for the gang tattoos…). 

if saying field mouse makes you feel better b/c it makes you feel like it came from a farm or is actually a talking cartoon mouse or just, you know, accidentally wound up in your house b/c it got sidetracked from the field it was crossing, so be it. but i say a mouse is a mouse is a mouse (even if it’s in an orange; see above). ugh, i can’t believe i ever had rodents (hamsters) as pets. of course i used to have lizards (ok, just chameleons), too. i also used to pick up worms. a lot has changed with me since the early/mid 80s.

as for the word “misplaced,” i don’t think i’ve used it since second grade. (if i ever go to england, maybe i’ll use it there. seems like a place where they’d use that word.) and i really don’t get many wedgies anymore either. in case you were wondering. which you probably weren’t. just saying.

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oh fer cryin out loud: i really am old now

b/c i just called the local elementary/middle school “not as a parent but as a concerned member of the community.” damn kids are running wild in the neighborhood! not only walking in the middle of the street–i’m not talking a few at a time either, i’m talking 15-20 at a time; the sidewalks are clear btw, there’s  no reason to walk in the middle of the street–but taking handfuls of icy, sharp snow and scratching cars as they drive by.

this one kid did it to the car in front of us, then looked us straight in the eye and did it to us, too. they all pretty much sh*t a brick when all the sudden holly opens her door and gets out to yell at them, “hey! do you have money to fix the scratches on my car?? do you????” at which point they all started taunting us, shouting curses, dancing and giving us the finger, still in the middle of the street, of course.

look, i’m not stupid. these kids have been cooped up inside for over a week. and a lot of the kids around here depend on school to eat, so they’re probably grumpy and their home lives are probably crap. but: it is DANGEROUS for them to be walking down the middle of the street any time of the year, but esp. when two-way streets are now one-way and there’s ice and snow everywhere and most ppl around here don’t know how to drive in these conditions anyway! half the cars you see every day are slipping and sliding down these narrow sidestreets that a lot of the schools are on. they also shouldn’t be messing with moving vehicles, trying to damage them. these kids are badasses as it is. middle schoolers have actually beaten up full-grown adults in this city. but c’mon now. taunting drivers while they’re slipping and sliding on bad road conditions? plus taunting drivers in general! and destroying property. school administrators should know about that.

then we’re trying to pull in our spot and just as we’re starting to back up we see this woman–i don’t know if she was a mother or just a caretaker/daycare person–but she is beating this little girl that couldn’t have been more than four. i’m sorry but a kid that little does not need to be hit like that. what could she have possibly done?? the woman’s got about four or five kids with her, including an itty-bitty one in stroller. and this little girl is just wailing and now the others that saw her get hit are crying, too. we didn’t know if we should say something to this woman or not. i just kept thinking, if we say something she’ll probably get even more mad and beat the girl some more. yeah, and we’re wondering why kids are cursing us out and destroying property. i’m not saying it gives older kids a carte blanche to do whatever they want to, but it was certainly a cause-and-effect reminder of what some of these kids have gone thru and continue to go thru on a daily basis. it’s funny how you need a license to drive, but anyone biologically able can have a child.

anyway, i’m like, 80 now, calling school administrators. and i know they have enough to worry about. but still, they ought to know what their kids are up to in the neighborhood just outside the school building.