I teach high school now, but when I taught middle school, many people hearing it for the first time would widen their eyes and say, “Wow. You must be a saint.”
I hated that. Not because it was rude — because it was wrong! I am nowhere near a saint, and middle-schoolers are the icing of the cupcake that is school — the very best and most delicious part. Overflowing with wacky ideas, irrepressible, and often surprisingly uninhibited, they touch my heart with their turns of phrase and always make me laugh. Best of all, they throw themselves into projects, like Dasha did on this thank-you note for my Skype visit to her school about Nice and Mean:
Holy cabooses! I can’t imagine how much work went into that. And it’s just like the 1991 Egoiste commercial*, but without the scary screaming women and with the phrase, “Signed, your admiring readers.” I enjoy my high-schoolers, but they would never reveal themselves enough to say anything like that, even in jest.
How about this one, from Emma? Her little book with the words “Video Nightmare” and “Black Book” showcase the official documents of Nice and Mean’s main characters, Marina and Sachi.
Now, the piece de resistance, from Kyra:
Man alive! That’s my cover, recreated! As you can see, it’s no Fault in Our Stars cover (in case you have been living under a rock, that book, by John Green, has three colors and some clouds.) The Nice and Mean cover features lots of lines and squiggles, and she captures them all perfectly. Who would have the focus and talent to apply to that? A middle-schooler, that’s who.
I’m so glad that Laurie Morrison, teacher, writer and awesome blogger, invited me to Skype with her class, and that she was thoughtful enough to shepherd her students through the thank-you note process. It reminded me of everything I love about the age I write for.
You’re still wondering about the Egoiste commercial, aren’t you? Does this jog your memory?
My friend and I spent an entire weekend jumping out of the laundry-room door at my mom, inspired this commercial. I’m sure she’s so grateful to Jean-Paul Goude. Click the link to re-live it in its glory: ”Egoiste! Egoiste!” C’est catchy, non?