In the last few days I’ve been cleaning a large, empty section of our office. Two things I have noticed consistently…
- People constantly joke about having me come to their houses to clean.
- The stuff I am cleaning should have been trashed the day it was used up, but instead it was shoved to the back of a drawer or a cabinet and left to gather dust mites and roach eggs for, in many case, 25 years or longer.
I’ve come across some truly amazing and amusing artifacts. One that particularly summons a long-ago memory was several sheets of reinforcers, round stickers about the size of a dime used to reinforce the holes in paper that goes in three-ring binders. I’ve used these once in a while in adult life, but when I was in seventh grade, they were a big part of what I can only describe as the sh!ttiest idea I’ve ever seen in education: having 12 year olds work on math without much supervision on “practice sets,” then line up in another room to take tests on what you were supposed to learn from the practice sets. The teachers sat in the front of the room “in case you need help.” It seemed to me at the time and to this day that the whole thing was engineered so the teachers would have as little work as possible.
The reinforcers were used on the holes in the practice sets, and the requirement for using them was almost fetishistic.
Speaking of seventh grade fetishes, I once saw a science teacher tie up one of my classmates, a guy. It was supposedly a prank, but I guarantee that teacher was getting off on it.
Today’s cleaning and moving also reminded me of eleventh grade, when I was on staff of the Talon yearbook. That year we included a special feature, a cut page which, when your turned it, worked into the theme of the article. The printer couldn’t cut it, so we did, using straight-edges and Exacto knives. One of my duties that day (and into that night) was to carry all 1200 yearbooks from storage into the yearbook classroom for the staff to cut.
I find that cleaning out stuff is very satisfying. Most of the paper products are going into the huge recycling bins in our parking lot. The rest of it is rat trash that no one wants, so it’s going to the dumpster. I also feel like hauling all this stuff around is really good for me, making my back stronger and my heart healthier.