Saturday, April 5, 2008

Comfy's the Key!


It all started with a chair. No, not "Juno." The eclectic, non-Martha Stewart-like makeover of the Journalism "Department" of Our Humble High School.

We live in a Prosperous Suburb. People put not-so-bad-looking Stuff out on the curb. Sometimes the garbage man hauls the Stuff away--in fact, one time we saw our local sanitation workers plop a not-so-small and oh-so-heavy hide-a-bed in the back of their truck and witnessed as the Jaws of Junk ground it into pablum. Sometimes, we intervene before that happens, and acquire what others want to throw away. And deposit it in the Journalism Room.

A recent trend called McMansionization has come to our PS. Old ladies in even older, ranch-style homes are selling their tiny houses on gigendous lots to developers for mucho dinero. The developer, craving cash but not so much style, bulldozes the petite manse and constructs two $1.2-$2.4 million McMansions in its place.

Somewhere in between the old lady selling out and the new owners taking up residence is where we come in.

Long about 1997, someone put a relatively decent-looking Comfy Chair on the curb. Since we were possessed of a Mom Car--93 Taurus wagon, many mucho thousand miles from hauling our own personal cherubs to and fro--we stopped, looked both ways, popped the tailgate--the Coast was Clear!--and plopped Comfy Chair into the car. We bopped on down to school, corralled a couple of Pimply Young Men, and soon said CC was ensconsed in style in the Newspaper Office..

The chair was brown and vinyl and had some 60s-era straps/buckles on it. We soon discovered that high school students have an inate desire to destroy things. After all, they're not even allowed to sit down in their Pottery Barn-esque homes. First, they started writing on The Brown Chair. Next, they started picking at the tiny little holes in its veneer. Then, they tried to put TBC out the window, onto the roof. It got stuck, of course, and remained hanging precipitously wedged in a casement window for at least a week. The same PYM who had helped us transport the chair from car to classroom later were employed to dislodge TBC from the window. From then on, the cherubs put desk chairs outside to loll around in the sun on the roof. The skeletons of these plastic shells remain on the cinder and tar surface outside a 9th-grade English classroom.

We've been through several incarnations of Martha Stewartization since that nascent attempt. TBC soon disintegrated. We went to the Salvation Army and found a Big Blue Chair to take its place. BBC (and you thought it was a preeminent broadcasting network!) soon became butt-sprung, but hung on for another decade, anyway. We later found a futon, but that didn't last long, since the kids wanted to lie around on it, instead of sit. No Sex in the City in our pristine PS! What followed next was tres Juno-esque: Small couch, coffee table, end table, floor lamp, BBC, all resting on a quaint circular area rug in the Newspaper/Yearbook Office (Yes, we have a kingdom, of sorts at Our HHS. But during the era in question, we had four rooms--three classrooms and a darkroom. The darkroom and Newspaper Office were later taken for Special Ed classrooms--you can appreciate the irony in that. We now reside in two side-by-side rooms, Newspaper and Yearbook staffs quasi-peacefully co-existing, connected by a door--the Journalism Kingdom of Our HHS). We imagined at the time of that Livingroom Suite that we were better-decorated than Martha's Prison Cell!

We had one ugly, green-plaid, three-cushion, nubby-fabric 70s-era couch from 2001-2006. It got so disgusting from Smelly Students lounging on it, eating on it and generally crapping it up that we put it in the hall for anyone to take. Two mellow--but not too discriminating--freaks grabbed it and kept it in a basement for part of the summer. When the Mellow Mom found it stinking up her living space, she ordered it out. The couch sat on the road for the rest of the summer, ignored by the garbagemen, but visited often by the monsoons that frequent our area during that time of year.

The Class of 07 had no couch their senior year. The Old Woman in Charge (that would be Melissa B) decreed that they were slovenly, sluggish, lazy louts--and that The Couch did nothing to break them of Bad Habits. Which brings us to our new Couch, a Tasteful Couch with Green & Blue Stripes about 10 years old which has, thus far, survived the Slings and Arrows of our Boyz and Girlz. TCWG&BS is hanging in there this year. The two-cushion affair has only one modest hole so far in its left arm. Considering the abuse it undergoes daily--jumping, plunging, accommodating more than 10 SS at once, dropped French fries, capsized Capri Suns, and Sickies who Spread Their Germs While Snoozing--it's in pretty good shape.

What does all this have to do with Scholastic Journalism? You decide. All we know is that Juno would be proud. And BTW, for those of you who don't remember Martha's Fall from Grace, check out this video: http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-US&brand=&vid=f7a60bd5-d4e1-40b0-b73e-1f0279714e5e . Thank you for your support.

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