Kirt Douglas Purdy

A Peek at Kirt's Writings
(Just a peek, mind you...)

The Teacher's Tripe

This is the very first "Tripe" that hit the internet way back in 2011. 
It is rather short, but rest assured, as soon as I heard that "the sky's the limit" on word count, I upped my game!  

The Teacher's Tripe - Volume I  Issue One

On Friday, August 31st, I had the pleasure of joining fellow educators in the wondrous task of judging the inmates’ submissions for this year's Literacy Day writing contest.  It was a joyous occasion, to be sure, and many a laugh punctuated the halls of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. 

There were more serious moments as well.  The discovery of plagiarism brought about a swift end to our tumultuous revelry, and many a brow became furled.   But we quickly restored the levity of the situation by tossing the work into the dreaded "centre of the table", where prose and poem go to their eternal banishment, never to be seen again by innocent and unsuspecting passers-by.  There were many instances of this ritual, mainly because some of the offerings began with "It was a dark and stormy night, Ishmael, indeed, it was the best of times, and not only that, but also the worst of times, too."  (It must be noted that having a veritable pit of despair saved a heap of time.)  But alas, Dale would say, "Aw, c'mon, Tony.  It can't be that bad", and retrieve the doomed writing in order to dignify it with another perusal.  Never have so many people worked in unison to restrain a man for his own benefit.

I would like to thank Graeme and Peter for attending the event, and for the sumptuous lunch that was provided.   The soup was a most wonderful experience for our taste buds.  Unfortunately, I must point out that even though we had all read the writings of federal inmates for three hours straight, the folks who made lunch didn't bother to read "no onions" for my roast beef sandwich, and laced it with the hideous weed.

There were a number of disagreements between the judges as to which offering deserved to be proclaimed superior to all others in its category.  This demonstrates that although some of the entries should have never leapt free from the pen (not the institution, I mean the actual writing instrument), there were many more noble efforts enjoyed by the judges.  The inmates displayed remarkable attention to detail, and the proper use of "there, their, and they're" proved that their paying attention in class. 
Well done, teachers!
Here are some selected "Tripes" from earlier days.  If you enjoy these, then you will want to get my book!
(If you don't enjoy them, perhaps you should buy the book anyway and see if I got any better.)
A Second Helping!
Here's an offering from the second volume of "The Teacher's Tripe".  I'd put more on the site, but, well, I'm lazy.  Read on...
Teacher's Tripe Vol II Issue Eleven
Let's face it - we're lazy.  And we're getting lazier.  And for all the denouncing of our lazy lives, we continue to come up with more ways to ease our 'suffering'.  We need to realize, however, that this is not a new phenomenon.  We've been lazy for many, many years.  It's why we came up with unique human inventions, such as the chair.
Think about it for a second, why do we have chairs?  The quick answer is: "to sit on", and, in some cases, "to eat upon while we watch pro wrestling in our underwear".  But did we not sit before the chair?  Of course we did.  But it was usually on a big rock, which could be rather cumbersome to drag from place to place.  Some enterprising people tried to sit on a variety of lighter objects, such as bushes, piles of bones, and armadillos, but these all proved to be too difficult in their own ways.  So, an even more enterprising person came up with the stellar idea of making someone else invent a chair.  See?  Lazy.
So we have improved on the human condition with a piece of furniture that is so prevalent in our world that everywhere you look you see these icons of comfort.  In fact, you would have less chance finding a room without a chair than Rob Ford at an AA meeting.
But what about other devices we have made in order to make our lives less strenuous?  The phone has allowed us to annoy people who are far beyond our standard vocal chord range.  The miracle of e-mail encourages us to send messages and images to people who really don’t want them.  Even taking a brief glance at the comments made on news stories online will show you that our society is far, far stupider than you ever suspected.  Not only do these people demonstrate their fragile brain power with copious spelling errors, many of them seem intent on proving that the ‘Shift’ key on their keyboard is broken.  This is an actual example: “i gone to chicago and it wuz rad.”  And social media sites allow us to share the slightest thought that goes zipping through our brains with countless people who then agree with those thoughts by clicking “Like”.
Ah, yet another example of our laziness.  Instead of filling our conversations with meaningful banter, we add pointless words that do nothing to prove we are more intelligent than a box of leaves.  Even my 14 year-old son knows when people “talk stupid”.  A normal, average conversation in the 1980’s would sound like this: “Hello, Bob.  Good party last night!  It looks like a fine day, today.”  Bob would then reply, “Get your car off my lawn, Dan.”  Today, we have replaced this friendly exchange with the following: “So, like, hello, Bob.  So, like, that was, like, a great party, like, last night.  Like, it, like, totally looks like, like a fine day, like.  Like, like, like.”  Now Bob says, “So, like, I have, like, a gun.  Like.”  But, let’s be honest, today’s conversations can be as senseless as “I was like, yeah, and he was like, yeah right, and I was all like, uh-uh, and he was all like, not even, and I was like, whoa.  Like, random, right?”  Thumbs down from, like, me.
Of course, speaking proper English and avoiding certain technology-based bad habits doesn’t automatically make you a saint.  My mother would play solitaire with real cards all the time.  When it was then offered on the computer, she tried it a few times, but then went back to the real deck of cards.  When I asked her why she preferred the actual deck to the computer one, I thought she would give me the ‘old-timer’ speech of doing the hard work of shuffling, or how she likes the look and feel of the real cards instead of some Godless image on a screen.  Her response was something less noble: “The computer won’t let me cheat.”
But as I sit in my comfy, high-backed, wheeled office chair, I do take solace in this thought: if this trend of laziness and incorrect grammar keeps up, most of today’s teen generation won’t be able to make war, and someday my son will be Prime Minister.  And that will be, like, totally cool. 
Just in case you wanted more...
And now, for dessert!
This Tripe offering is from February of 2014.  If you are like most other people, you have valiantly tried to make changes to your life at New Year's.  And, if you are like most other people, you failed.
Welcome to the club.  Have a cookie.
Teacher’s Tripe Volume III Issue One
Yes, it’s true.  You are now reading the opening salvo of the Third Volume of this writer’s longest running column.  The fact that it’s my first column is irrelevant, and should not be mentioned.
Happy New Year!  As is the custom in many countries, people in Canada celebrate the coming of another year by consuming copious amounts of alcohol, hugging and kissing loved ones (i.e. anyone within reach), and making grandiose resolutions to improve their lives, if not the entire world.
Ten hours later, they awaken to a 4-alarm headache, a mouth that tastes and feels like a grade 10 science experiment, and a memory that has tremendous gaps in it.  At this point, they begin searching for their pants, which are presently being used as a flag at the local courthouse.  Ah, good times.
Although there are numerous ways for us to improve our lives through New Year’s resolutions, we tend to steer towards two main areas: fitness and money.  We pledge from the mountain top that THIS YEAR will be THE YEAR we lose weight and gain money.  By Groundhog Day, we are well aware of the futility of such dreams, and chalk it up to too much booze and/or the government.  It’s not as though we ignored the resolutions on purpose.  Indeed, the targets remained the same, but we switched the direction of travel – we gained weight and lost money.  Some of none is better than all of nothing, right?
For about five months, I have been going to a twice-a-week ritual called “the workout”.  It is run by a guy who was born ‘in shape’ and figures everyone else should be able to perform the ridiculous exercises he can because “y’all are people, ain’t cha?”  Even the warm-up stretches are tough.
He says, “Okay, feet together and touch the floor.”  I do so.  He yells, “Don’t bend your knees!”  Uh-huh.  I straighten my knees, and my body automatically stands tall.  He encourages me to try again.  “Touch the floor while your legs are straight, fatty!”  No, he doesn’t actually say ‘fatty’, but the implication is clear.  As I am making a heroic bend at the waist, I plummet to the floor, gracefully landing on my face.  I reach over and touch my toes, which, oddly enough, are located beside my ears.
“Okay, good work, people.  Now we’re gonna spread our legs and put our palms on the floor between our feet.”  Uh-huh.  As I move my feet further and further apart, a strange sensation begins in my groin-al (not a real word) region and moves towards my extremities at an alarming speed.  That sensation is not pleasant.  I try to rectify (a real word) the situation by moving to a more comfortable position, such as the exit.  “Don’t bend your knees, fatty!”  I nod my understanding and agreement, and struggle into the proper position with my feet spread wide apart and my hands dangling helplessly below, just out of reach of the floor.  It’s at this point that I wish my registration cheque had bounced.
Then the exercises take on a more complicated tone.
“Okay, good work, people.  Now stand tall, stick your right hand out straight in front of you.”  I’m thinking, “I can do this!”  Then he says, “Now kick your right hand with your right foot.”  Uh-huh.  Well, I did play a lot of soccer, and I was a great kicker in football, so I muster my strength, swing my foot back and bring it up with tremendous force, smashing my knee into my forehead.
“I said ‘right’ foot, fatty!”  And the fun is just starting.
“Okay, good work, people.   Now take your left elbow and put it behind your right knee.”  As I gaze at my body wondering how to do this, he continues to bark out instructions like a drill sergeant.
“Now take your right heel and push it to your left armpit.”  How the people around me continue to do these weird positions, I’ll never know.  I don’t recognize any of these from the Yoga program on my Wii.
“Now put your ears together.” 
To be honest, I do enjoy the workouts, and I even bring my son along so he can see what will eventually become of his athletic ability if he gets a job in retail and eats A&W every lunch for two years.  By the end of the first workout, as he watches me struggle for life, he asks, “So, can I ask you a question?”  I can’t really speak at this point, as I am laying down, wheezing with enough force to rip the carpet from the floor.  I make the “what is it, son?” motion with my eyebrows, as they are the only muscle group currently responding to signals from my brain.
“Can we get Slurpees?”
I have been told many times that the best short-term help for aching muscles is ice, and I figure that getting ice inside the body must be the ultimate choice, but because my eyebrows are fatigued now, I give an affirmative answer by making my pupils dilate.
Hopefully you are able to stick with your New Year’s Resolutions this year, whatever they may be.  But, if the surveys are correct, you have already wandered off the path and are heading into 11 months of denial.  If you have somehow managed to stay true to your goals, then congratulations!  Keep the faith!  Fight the good fight! 
And, at next New Year’s party, wear a belt with a lock.
But don't eat too much...