In the beginning was the Word. And the word was strange and new and unknowable-like becoming a teacher. And the Word grew and took on importance and the Word began to reside among my classes and on my whiteboard and in my quizzes. And I began to speak of the Word and I began to explain and define and show how to use the Word. And as I preached the Word, those to whom I preached did not always appreciate the Word or my enthusiasm for it. But I preached evermore loudly and I extolled the Word and I believed the Good News that the Word was power and the Word, wielded correctly, could change lives and governments and attitudes…and the people cried out to me and said, ‘Mister, what does wielded mean’…and I said that’s my point exactly.
I continued to extol the word, despite the loud cries of my people, despite the grumbling and the teeth on edge and the bitter herbs of poor spelling and confused usage. They cried out, NO MORE, we suffer much under thy heavy hand. The oppression (a word we learned last week) is too much. We say cease. We say cease!
I did hear the cries of my people and turned my ear to their suffering. I reduced my vocabulary list to ten Words a week. The growling did subside and we gave thank. But the Word that had set me free, which had become my shield and my sword and my yet-to-be-realized-gravy-train did not let me rest. I wanted the Word to move them like it moved me; like an old tree moves anew when the wind doth blow from another direction. The Word did come amongst my people, but they knew it not.
I did suffer at this moment. I did question vocation and call and duty and all that. I wondered aloud. I wondered in silence. I wondered in digitalia. Then a voice came; a voice so strong and so bold and so pure of heart that I did bow to its direction and did implement that long-overdue moratorium (‘Mr. Isn’t that where they burn your body into ashes after you die?) on the technological appendages that do grow out of my people’s personages like well-tended weeds along a sewage ditch. They cried out, “NO! This will not stand. We cry foul.” I replied, ‘Nice, but you’re really utilizing an idiomatic expression rather than improving your vocab. You hear ‘foul’ everyday with sports, etc. You can do better.’
The new year arrived, my people returned, I entered the class with fear and trembling, and my new B.O.C.A assignment. Beginning of Class Assignment. I did direct myself to my people and did beg their indulgence whilst I explained that given the ‘moratorium’ on their social technology, they have a ‘word of the day’ assignment. The requirements are henceforth and from now on to define the Word (today’s words: epidemic and abolish) according to the dictionary and to use the Word in a sentence. But the people did cry out, ‘no bricks without straw?’ ‘Surely you jest.’ (Jest is getting there. Nice. Now do you get where the word ‘jester’ might come from?) ‘We have no phones. How are we to look them up?’ The bitterness subsided not.
I did hear their misery and asked them to pass the dinky and few, tattered and torn dictionettes, to one another. Again, their voices rose up against me, ‘Mister,’ they said, ‘the word’s not in here. The Word you’ve assigned, no esta pendejo.’ (Pendejo? I don’t think you’ll find that in the dictionary, mi amigo.)
Yet my people spoke truth. They did suffer mightily without adequate Word accessibility. But the Spirit, the same Spirit that from which the Word did emanate, did inspire me and give me direction. I will solicit dictionaries from digitalandia and make my plea. My people need Words! They wander in the wilderness. They cry aloud for Pharaoh’s old yoke! How can I liberate them with the Word if they have no access to the Word?
The Angels shined their light. Others heard my plea. They did respond and sent Word Abundance to my land and to my people. I live satisfied and content with the marrow of sturdy binding; with the spring water of a sturdy binding. How grateful I am. I do sing your praises to my people and remind them that my friends saw fit to drop $17 a pop on you guys because they give a shit about you.
It will be my legacy to the educational system I have criticized so often and accurately. In only another few months I complete my fifth year of teaching and consider other options for my salaried pursuits. In an institution that spends so heavily on testing paraphernalia and consultant programs that suggest we should be kind and supportive of our students, perhaps my one contribution to this flawed education system is the Word. I love the Word, illusive and sneaky as it can be. It doth long to be discovered in the right place and time. On behalf of my generous Facebook crew, I do bequeath the word to the young ones I so love.
Dear Ones, Do find a place for it in your minds, speech, and writing. Play with the Word, tease the Word; even invent a few if you like. But never underestimate its ability to transmit your heart, soul, and mind to another. Children, in doing so, you bridge the gaps of eons and erase alienation. You find voice and with that voice, you’ll find a satisfied mind and a full heart.