My throat was sore, I was exhausted, and my legs were killing me. I don’t recommend anyone doing what I did this past week, certainly not at my age: teaching high school for one day.
I returned to New Rochelle, New York, where I had taught English at my alma mater from 1969 to 1978. I had to teach one more day in order to satisfy a new state requirement for earning the pension I had failed to collect almost 35 years ago.
I already had a history of a few other failures at that school, although history was not one of them. In those days, in order to graduate you needed 20 credits. I asked my guidance counselor if I had enough, and she said, “All you need is five a year, do the math.” That was the problem: I couldn’t do math, which is why I was two credits short.
Because I love comedy, I talked to each of the four classes about the importance of humor. GSOH (good sense of humor) is a common acronym used on dating site profiles. Interestingly, women want men who make them laugh. Men want women who laugh at their jokes. This seemed like a great topic for a class, and it turned out to inspire some lively discussion among the 16- and 17-year-olds. So lively, in fact, I decided to bring it up at dinner that evening with my siblings, who still live in the area.
Mary Ellen and I stayed at my sister’s house in New York for a few days. I made this arrangement because I cherish my relationship with Linda, and I tried to spend as much time with her as possible … and I wanted to save $1,500 on hotels.
My sister cooked dinner for us one night, and we were joined by her boyfriend Kyle, my brother Peter and my niece Ericka, all of whom are single. We went around the room discussing deal breakers — personality traits or habits listed in a personal ad that would immediately eliminate someone as a potential mate.
My sister was denied membership several years ago in one singles site because applicants are allowed to pick only five of these disqualifiers. Linda had checked off so many on the list that they considered her “too picky,” which is another trait she can’t stand in men.
In our discussion, Mary Ellen said the guy could not enjoy killing animals for sport. My brother would nix a woman without a job. Ericka would say no to someone who hated kids, and Kyle wouldn’t tolerate a smoker. When it got to me, I kind of panicked, so I simply said that any woman I picked had to get along with Mary Ellen. Everyone laughed, except my wife. I think she read too much into it.
Talking about deal-breakers reminded me of my friend Heidi, who once went out with a guy she met online. She said he seemed very nice, and apparently they had a lot in common. But after the first date she wrote him off because he ordered two Chinese dishes to share, and they were both all chicken. She thought this reflected someone with a total lack of imagination. Plus, she complained, it was hard to eat while riding in the hot-air balloon.
My sister wasn’t sure what we’d like, so she prepared two entrees: chicken parmigiana and chicken piccata. They were really delicious, and we all had a great time; but I don’t think Heidi would have enjoyed the evening.
Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.