Month: March 2018

Reflecting

So, it’s Saturday morning, and I’ve discarded the draft that I wrote yesterday.  I had thought I would click publish this morning and be done.  Then I read entries by some of my “go to” posters here.  They were not the usual.  They were not practical.  They were not pedestrian.  Those are the adjectives I would use for what I had written.  I had reflected on what I would do differently next year to make things more connected between my own journey and my class’s journey.  I’ll keep that draft and look at it, but it’s not for today.

Today I’ll write off the cuff.  Today I won’t compose.  Today I’ll try  to be brief. Ha!

I said when I started my blog in July that I can identify with the Dorothy Parker line, “I hate writing.  I love having written.”  It’s hard work for me, but I enjoy the satisfaction of having done it.  This month, I would say that on several occasions I actually enjoyed the act of writing.  When an idea is bubbling inside your head and you’re rushing to get it onto the screen before that bubble pops, it’s as exciting as watching a great game.  There’s suspense.  There’s anticipation.  There’s a momentary pause while the words are in that ether, between brain and screen.  And occasionally, there’s the swish, as the right words hit their mark.  Occasionally.

I have often wondered if I could live as a writer.  I still wonder that.  This month I straddled two worlds.  I tried to have one foot in the writer world and one foot in the teacher world, and the two worlds didn’t always move in the same direction.  I know that one informed the other, for sure, but they also competed.  I got a sense, though, of how intense a writer’s life can be.  I felt the pressure of deadlines on those days when I had not written the night before.  On those days, I navigated the daylight hours, always knowing that when I got home, and it was dark, I needed to summon some energy and ideas.  There was stress.

Now, however, I love having written.  I love having written because I occasionally hit the mark.  I love having written because I got feedback that I really appreciated.  I love having written because I have saved some moments from fading to oblivion.  I love having written because it has made me attend to my world.  I love having written because I feel like I’m doing what I ask my students to do.  I love having written because I know the struggle better.

I also love having read.  I marveled at some people’s discipline.  I marveled at their consistency.  I marveled at the variety of some people’s entries.  I envied some writers’ ways with words.  I envied some people’s ability to capture emotion.  I envied many people’s bravery.

I am really grateful for this community.  I am particularly grateful for my welcome wagon commenters.  No matter how inconsistent I was with my posts, they were ready to respond.  I loved seeing the little red number in the corner of my WordPress icon on my phone.  The Responsive Classroom belief is true. At the core, “Everyone wants to know and be known.”  That’s how I felt with this challenge.

Forgetting What I Had Remembered

It is  amazing to me how much of our lives we forget.  This occurred  to me today when I reached for a book that I wanted to revisit.  It’s Good Friday, and I’m off from school, but I am feeling tired, mentally tired.  I have physical energy, which means I can do things like hang pictures, run errands, and vacuum the basement, the man cave occupied by two dogs who shed constantly. In truth, though, that “energy” is really just my way of procrastinating, avoiding  the mentally taxing task of scraping two more slices from my brain.  Sorry about that image!

So, in an effort to recharge (and, if we’re being honest, to further procrastinate), I pulled a bright orange book off my shelf.  It’s a book called The Energy to Teach, and it’s by one of my heroes, Donald Graves.  I wanted to reread a chapter about getting energy from the people you work with.  I thought it might fit with what I’m thinking about this Slice of Life Challenge.  I’ve been feeling like this challenge (both the writing and the responses), has presented me with a new set  of colleagues.  I opened the book and found the chapter easily.  It had a bookmark right there.  The title of the chapter is “Build Energy with Colleagues.”  “Wow,” I thought to myself, “you have a pretty good memory.  You probably haven’t cracked this book in ten years.”  I started reading.  The chapter begins with  what we  all hope to get from our relationship with our colleagues, a chance to “swap stories,”  “speak the truth about how you feel,” or  “share books.”  Then it laments the challenges:  “But the increased pressure in schools, especially in the last five years, seem to make quality time with other teachers a fading possibility.”

I read those lines, and found myself struck by the part where he says, “in the last five years.”  Wait, when did he write this book?  I paged back to the front cover to find the copyright date, but I found something surprising instead:  an inscription.

IMG-0876

It startled me.  I read it several times.  This is what I mean by the flaws in our memory.  I had, at first, no recollection of Don Graves signing a book for me, and no recollection whatsoever of Don Graves visiting my classroom.  How does one forget something like this?  It’s not like forgetting some random writers’ workshop on a Wednesday in 2012.  This was a workshop where the godfather of writers’ workshop was in my classroom.  Slowly, though, like a Polaroid picture, it started to come into focus, and I could see my old classroom.  I remembered the class I had in 2001.  That was the year, after all, that something all-too-memorable happened on September 11th.  But then I realized something else.  The inscription said, “How well I remember…” so he didn’t sign the book when he was at our school.  No, he was recalling a visit.  Now I know what I was doing.  I was at NCTE, and he was probably doing a book signing.  I think I know what happened, too.  He started writing an inscription and his pen ran out of ink.  I made a comment that with the different-colored ink, it was going to look like I had added the personal note.  That’s why he said, “I really did write this note.”  But that’s all I remember.  I immediately went back to my bookshelf in the basement to see if I had my journal from 2001.  I wanted to see my notes from that workshop.  To whom did he talk?  What was my mini-lesson?  How nervous was I?  No luck. That journal must be in my closet at school, but I found another one.  It was from 2005.  Naturally, I started to read, because, let’s face it,  I really am a hopeless procrastinator.

Again, I was fascinated by all that I had written…and didn’t remember.  That year, 2005 was the year of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  We had thrown them a party, and I had tried to write a tribute.  I don’t remember writing it or sharing it, but I must have.  I flipped more pages and found notes I’d written about our poetry unit.  This could be helpful.  I’m about to start a poetry unit.  I also found an entry about a workshop given by Shelly Harwayne.  My entire reflection was about helping students to slow down, about how you can’t just tell them to slow down.  I wrote, “The thing I have to keep reminding myself is that it takes time to learn to slow down.”    You have to help them, train them.  This, I thought, is what my current class really needs.  I bookmarked the journal entry.

And then I found an entry reflecting on a unit on memory.  I didn’t call it memoir, because at that time I had a real aversion to the word. It seemed too pretentious for 10-year-olds to be crafting memoir.  My mouth actually struggled to form the word without grimacing.  Memories, on the other hand, I could embrace.

This slice is far too rambling, but I think I know where I was trying to go.  I’m wrangling with what I’ve gleaned from this month of “slicing,” and I think I’ve harvested this:  our lives are so fast, moments so fleeting, and our memory so frail that it’s vital to write, as a way of slowing down the world and a way of holding on to what matters.  I’m so grateful for my old journals, 26 years of them, but I need to mine them more regularly.  I’m so grateful for the 30 days of thinking that are now preserved in my blog.  But there’s another thing that I’ve gained from this experience:  I’ve found a whole new set of colleagues, and as Don Graves notes, that’s a lifeline for a teacher trying to maintain energy and sanity.

In my last March entry, number 31, I think I’m going to try to think about what I can do next year  (and next month) to bring more of my students into this world, blending my slices with theirs.

Opening Day

The birds were a little noisier when I walked McGee this morning, so though it wasn’t really warm enough to call it a spring day, or even to say that spring was in the air, there was hope.  The air was damp, and that meant an earthy smell as we headed onto the street, but what really gave me hope was that today, March 29, was Opening Day of the baseball season.  That’s the day of possibilities.  The day when even the mediocre teams start out tied for first, and if your team is from Baltimore, it even looks good in the standings, where they tend to print the teams in alphabetical order when everyone is tied at 0-0.

It’s kind of silly that I still get excited about opening day for a baseball season, but there’s this:  I remember in 1970, yes, 1970 when my friend Charlie got to go to Opening Day at RFK Stadium in Washington.  His dad took him out of school to go to the game.  That’s right, he was allowed to miss school to go to a baseball game.  This was inconceivable to me.  My father wouldn’t EVER have taken me out of school for a baseball game.  This Opening Day thing must have been really important.  The next morning, there was a color picture — that’s right, a color picture on the front page of the Washington Post, showing the Senators and the Tigers playing a baseball game.  I’m not sure they used a color picture the year before when the astronauts landed  on the moon.  So, I guess Opening Day is important.

This morning I looked for signs of good fortune on my walk.  The birds were singing boisterously.  That is a very good sign if you are an Orioles fan.  I chalked that one up on the plus side for my Birds.  We passed two dogs going in the other direction.  McGee refrained from barking.  Another good sign.  It smelled like rain, but it was not raining.  I like the smell.  I do not particularly like getting rained on.  I’ll chalk that up as another good sign.

Back at the house, I grabbed my lucky Orioles tie.  It’s really quite ugly, with diagonal orange and black stripes and  cartoon birds inside one of the black stripes.  I was scheduled to have my last parent conference in the afternoon.  The parents might think less of me, but I had to risk it.  Opening Day takes precedence over dignity.  I couldn’t find my Orioles socks.  This concerned me briefly, but it might have been overkill anyway.

Throughout the day, I was generally able to focus on school.  I had a few lapses.  “I’m sorry.  Were you talking to me?  I was just thinking about Opening Day.  Of course you can go to the nurse for that compound fracture.”

After school, I had to do more teacherish things, like meeting with that last set of parents, a rescheduled conference from our snow days last week.  What was I thinking?  I rescheduled a conference for Opening Day?  At 3:00?  The very time that the first pitch was being thrown?  “Well, that shows tremendous dedication to your work,” I rationalized.  At 3:40 I checked my phone.  No score in the third inning.  I went over a math problem with my fifth grade team. We were planning to give it to our classes on Monday and my teammates thought it might be a good idea to know how to solve it.  After that, I scurried around my room, picking up papers and pencils, erasing white boards, putting up the Monday schedule, and grabbing all of the things I’d bring home and ignore for the weekend. I scrambled out of the school at 4:35.

By five, I was where I was supposed to be, at my dining room table, in front of my iPad, watching the last innings of Opening Day.  The O’s took a 2-0 lead in the 8th, gave it up in the ninth, and won it with a walk-off homer in the the 11th.  Victory on Opening Day!  Still in first place.  Only 161 games left in the season.  It’s amazing how important that first game seems to be. Perhaps I was a little too pumped for that game.  I promise to be less obsessive…until the next game.

Religious Education

This year’s convergence of Easter and Passover has my students engaging in serious discussions about the  nuances and varying beliefs of their religions.  It’s an interesting time to be eavesdropping. It’s requiring some restraint to keep from jumping in.

First snippet:

E:  Are you Catholic or Christian?

L:  Neither.  I think I’m Methodist.

 

Second Snippet (joined in progress)

D:  So, let me get this straight, you’re saying Jesus was Jewish, right?

J:  Yeah, he was.

D:  Then, if you’re Jewish, how come you say he doesn’t exist?

J:  I didn’t say he didn’t exist.

D:  You said you don’t believe in him.

J:  Right.

D:  But that doesn’t make sense.  If you don’t believe in him, how could you say he was Jewish?

J:  I know he was a person.  I just don’t believe he was God.

D: Ohhhhh!  I get it.

M:  (Jumping in)  But he was God, because you don’t just get born from a virgin unless you’re God.

J:  That’s the part I don’t believe.  I mean really.  How could she be a virgin and have a baby?

M:  Well, God did it.

J:  Well that’s just weird….No offense.

Third Snippet (Same day)

A: Which do you think is better, Easter or Halloween?

O:  Definitely Halloween.  Why? What do you think?

A:  I’m going with Easter.

O:  (dubious)  Why?

A:  Just as much candy, plus, they bring it right to your house.

This concludes today’s episode of Religion in the Schools.  Tune in tomorrow as we explore Maundy Thursday.

Watching Wonder

I heard from a parent at a conference last week that her daughter had seen Wonder three times already.  “I think she really feels like she wants to be Summer, the girl who does the right thing,” said the mom.

I was happy to hear that kids had connected with this story, and happy in this case that that was how some were making the connection.   I’ve noticed in my class, that several of the kids have gone out of their way to show understanding and forgiveness for classmates who they sense have need of some slack or support.  When I read the book, not surprisingly, I wanted to be like the teacher, Mr. Brown, showing patience, understanding, and an ample repertoire of profound precepts to guide the spirits of my students.  The story has plenty of characters we want to emulate and a few who we want to avoid.

What makes the story and the movie work for me, though, are the characters who are real.  I don’t see myself in Mr. Brown or Mr. Tushman, who stand more as paragons.  In reality, I see myself in Jack Will and Via and her friend Miranda.  Jack Will, we know, has a good heart.  He wants to be a good friend.  He has an open mind.  He’s capable of seeing beneath Augie’s disfigured face.  For a while, he’s brave, and he’s a faithful friend.

And then he’s not.

To me, while Summer, who doesn’t care what others think, is an ideal for kids, she’s also a less realistic paragon of friendship.  The reality is that most of us are basically good people who occasionally falter.  Sometimes, we falter with someone we barely know.  Other times we hurt someone we care about.  If we’re lucky, we get a second chance, a chance to repair a friendship and redeem ourselves.  One quality I appreciate in Jack Will is that when he gets that opportunity, he seizes it.

When I was little, I didn’t, and I still think about it:

Conscience

Once, my friend,

We roamed my backyard decked in combat green.

We waved imaginary guns,

Launched grenades, leaped from helicopters and

Stalked the enemy.

We played army,

We were loyal allies,

Saving the world,

Dougie and me.

But then first grade began.

“Doug’s weird,” the other kids said.

“He looks like a gorilla.”

“He’s so dumb.”

I was a different kind of dumb,

Saying nothing.

You said, “Hey, wanna play war?”

“Naw, I don’t play that stuff anymore.”

I left you on that battleground

And joined the other side.

One day after recess

You locked yourself in Mrs. Garwood’s closet.

Everyone laughed at your tantrum.

I wasn’t brave enough to defend you.

Dougie, I wonder if  you made it out

Happy and free.

My friend, you deserved better

From me.

A Prince – By Many Other Names – Part 2

This is the second installment of the two-volume biography of  the dog with whom I am permitted to share a house.  The life of Boo.

Chapter Five:  Hiking Misadventure

Boo, it turned out, was a born hiker.  In the Adirondacks, he found his natural element: long, steep trails, wide-open spaces, wildlife to chase, and swampy puddles through which to wade.  Heaven.  Humans in the high peaks region have taken to tracking the peaks they’ve ascended, the goal being to reach the top of all 46 high peaks.  Boo cared little for these feats.  In fact, on a typical hike he would probably go up and down the mountain three or four times, with zero concern for how many checks he received.  His only challenge was keeping track of the humans.  On one occasion, on a small mountain called Rattlesnake, Boo had ventured close to the top, hundreds of yards beyond his snail-like humans.  The humans, reaching a trail junction, called for the wayward puppy.  Hearing their voices, he hurried down the mountain, not realizing that he must have passed them.  They, assuming he was up ahead, proceeded up the mountain, calling ever more frantically.  Where had he gone?  Had he fallen off a ledge?  Had he encountered a bear?  Was he hopelessly lost?  Wondering all of these things, the humans reached nearly the top before venturing back toward the junction.

Meanwhile, on another part of the mountain, Boo wondered, “Where have they gone?  Are they still at the trailhead?  Just how slow are they?  Are they lost?  Are they taking a nap? Wondering all these things, Boo ventured toward the bottom of the mountain and then started back up the trail.

Somewhere around the original junction, the two sets of wondering wanderers reunited.  The humans, oddly hysterical, clamped a leash on Boo’s collar, hardly the reward he expected for rescuing them again.  New Nickname:  Mis(ter) Understood

Chapter Six:  Politics

In 2008, Boo is gripped by the presidential election that captured the nation’s imagination.  It’s not the message of hope, nor is it the youthfulness of the Democratic candidate that seizes Boo’s attention.  He finds himself obsessed with the polls (even more than telephone poles) and later the election returns.  The humans are puzzled by the attraction, wondering aloud if it could be something as superficial as the color of the candidate’s skin.  Boo, after all has black fur, and has always been suspicious of light-furred retrievers.  “God, I hate those entitled Goldens,” he has been heard to grumble.  It turns out this has nothing to do with Boo’s political or social leanings.  Sadly, it also turns out his allegiance stemmed from a misunderstanding.  As mentioned before, Boo’s decoding is not quite at grade level, and he was disappointed to learn, AFTER the election, that the President-elect’s name was Barack, not Bark, and he was in fact, not canine, but rather yet another human.  Disgusted and a bit chagrined, Boo has since washed his paws of the American political scene.

Chapter Seven:  Big Brother is Watching

Sarah decided in 2010 that Boo needed a companion.  The family agreed, without consulting Boo.  When the tiny maniac arrived on the scene, Boo assumed the role of tutor, patiently explaining  that we do not use the kitchen as a bathroom, crates are for puppies, and there’s a proper way for a male dog to relieve himself.   The rugrat caught on to many routines, but was woefully slow to learn the leg lift.  This caused a great deal of embarrassment on walks, but Boo tolerated his attempts.  New Nickname:  Sensei

Chapter Eight:  Hiking Misadventure II – Adirondack Squirrels

Adventures on the trail now involved the wily veteran and his faithful rookie sidekick.  On a mountain known as Jay, the boys decided that the trail was not wide enough, and they headed off on a bushwhacking expedition.  Sometimes they followed interesting scents, while at other times they chased noises or motions.  In one particular case, it was the latter that led them astray.  A flash of fur toward the left of the trail sent big brother Boo off in a flash, with McGee trailing behind, wondering what big brother had seen.  Boo was sure that it was a squirrel and that it must be chased with haste.  The duo was in hot pursuit, when, surprisingly, they caught up to it.

This was not your ordinary squirrel, as they soon found out.  Boo, as a rule, only enjoyed running after things that were actually running away from him.  Any creature with the nerve to face him, gave him pause.  In that event, he generally tried to pretend that he didn’t notice the creature.  In this case, however, Boo had a sidekick.  He suggested that Tonto investigate first.  McGee dutifully raced toward the “squirrel,” barking lustily.  As he reached biting distance, however, he made a shocking discovery, which he announced in horrified yelps.  “It’s sharp, Boo!  It’s a really sharp squirrel.”

Boo, embarrassed by McGee’s display, charged in to see for himself.  The “squirrel” turned and whacked Boo upside the head with his tail.  Boo felt stabbing pain in his muzzle, yelped, and reluctantly admitted that these Adirondack squirrels were indeed sharp.  Humbled and pained, the two hunters retreated to their humans.  Seeing them, the humans gasped and said something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, they got in a fight with a poke-you-pine.”

“Yeah, and they lost.”  The humans attempted to help.  The male pulled out some instrument of torture that he referred to as a Leatherman and attempted to extract the painful pokers.  Both dogs protested mightily and had to be transported to a nearby veterinarian.  For Boo, a new understanding:  Adirondack squirrels deserve respect and personal space.  New nickname:  Knucklehead.

Chapter Nine:  Chopped Livers

Through the years, Boo develops disdain for kibble, the food of mere dogs.  By comparison to the rugrat, he becomes convinced that he may have some superior breeding.  Eating and napping become higher priorities, and his expectations rise.  In part, this stems from the humans’ lack of discipline or limits.  Boo finds that he has access to every piece of soft furniture besides the living room couch.  He routinely shifts napping spots, from soft mattresses in bedrooms to den and basement couches, often with an eye toward optimal sunbathing.  He turns up his snoot at mere dog beds, (clearly beneath him).  Similarly, by avoiding his food bowl in the morning and appearing lean and malnourished by evening, he finds that the humans bestow cutting boards, table scraps, and giblets at meal’s end.  Eventually, this becomes routine.  Though he would prefer the livers with a bit of sherry reduction, he suffers the rustic presentation of liver a la kibble.

One day, however, Boo wakes up in distress.  Lacking energy and feeling feverish, he flops on the floor with drawn-out groans.  When he can’t muster the strength to mount his favorite couch, his humans rush him to the vet.  He is about to become the world’s most expensive rescue dog.

It turns out he has a significant abscess on his liver, which will require surgery.  Given his fitness and vibrancy of two days prior, the humans cannot imagine declining the procedure.  Boo endures several days of pain, torture, and mind-altering medication.  He emerges without one-third of his liver and with an expensive regimen of liver-supporting medications.  He also emerges with a new appreciation for the finer things in life.  He learns that an exaggerated groan before reclining often tugs at the humans’ heartstrings.  He comes to expect meat drippings, bacon, and eggs as regular supplements to his dining experience.  Recently, the female human is overheard apologizing for overcooking his fried eggs.  Boo groans, but manages to force it down.  New nickname:  The Prince.

Works cited:  None

The author would like to acknowledge the help of Boo’s mouthpiece, the human named Nancy, who faithfully and creatively translates most of his noises, gestures, and facial expressions into intelligible English.

A Prince – By Many Other Names

I’ve written several entries about my delusional maniac, McGee.  It has created some resentment in the household.  It’s more than rumblings of discontent.  Boo is pissed.  Last night, I promised that I would make it up to him by making him the protagonist of a novel.  That sounded about right to him, though he saw no reason to fictionalize his remarkable life.  He proposed a biography.  Something along the lines of the Truman or Adams works by David McCullough.  I informed him that I was not David McCullough.  His response:  “Duh.  Not even close.”  Fortunately, Boo’s reading level is low (or low-average, depending on which norm we follow), so I’m hoping he doesn’t notice the page differential.  Here is Boo’s biography in two parts.

Chapter One:  Halloween Surprise

It was late October when Nancy, on a drive home from Stop ‘n’ Shop, felt her vehicle suddenly jerk to the right, a function of powerful animal magnetism emanating from an animal rescue trailer in the Toys R Us parking lot.  Rather than bail out of the van, Nancy allowed it to drive her toward her destiny.  She entered the trailer, cooed at the puppies, and locked eyes with a particular fellow who sported floppy ears and large brown eyes.  Forgetting planned parenthood and all promises to wait while we respectfully mourned the loss of our beloved Willow, she vowed to return to the rescue mobile with her husband.  This, of course, was a mere formality.  Love had already claimed her heart.  Thirty minutes later, an exuberant puppy burst into the house, surprising two unsuspecting girls, and earning him the Halloween-inspired name, Boo!

Chapter Two:  The Play Drive

Boo had what football coaches refer to as a powerful motor.  Later, a trainer who helped with a neighbor’s dog referred to him as having “a strong play drive.”  In layman’s terms, the boy was hyper.  From his earliest days, he enjoyed toys only when they were in motion.  He would fetch tennis balls, frisbees, ping pong balls, sticks, soccer balls, and small neighborhood children, whether the humans invited him or not.  He didn’t so much think of it as play.  He always approached these tasks with great seriousness. Among his first toys was a stuffed football that cheered when he bit into it.  His love for the pigskin, running style, his athletic form, and the need for a more sporting identity,  earned him a new nickname, an homage to the wide receiver from the Redskins, Laveranues (pronounced La-ver-knee-us).

Chapter Three:  A New Camp Activity

In the summers, Boo’s family worked at a sleep-away camp in the Adirondacks.  While he loved the fresh air and the mountains, he was disappointed to find that his family often had to work and left him in his cabin during the mornings.  He expressed his displeasure by bouncing off the cabin walls and, with his excessive energy,  dangerously dragging his humans down steep paths decorated with roots and rocks.  Nancy noted some similarities in energy level between the pre-teen boys at the camp and a certain year-old puppy.  She had an idea.  At lunch, she described to the campers an afternoon activity called “Attempt to Tire out Boo.”   The activity, extremely popular with the boys, consisted of taking Boo for lengthy runs and engaging him in relentless games of fetch played all over the camp’s hundred-plus acres.   “Attempt to Tire out Boo” later found a catchier if less-original title,  “Mission: Impossible.”  Boo’s new name:  Indefatigable.

Chapter Four:  What Kind of Dog is He?

Unlike with humans, where a question about a child’s heritage might be taken as intrusive or rude (What kind of a kid is that, you’ve got there, some sort of Scandinavian mix?), with dogs the question arises on a daily basis.  “Hey, cool-looking dog, what is he, some kind of Labrador mix?”  Not having much information on Boo’s past, other than that he came out of a trailer and had been rescued in North Carolina, his humans did what all good parents do, they made stuff up.   Putting together his merciless treatment of pillows, stuffed animals and chew toys, with his floppy ears and soulful eyes, the humans decided he was a batting hound.  This didn’t quite sound authentic enough, so they incorporated his North Carolina roots.  Now, whenever someone pointed at him and asked the origin question, they received a quick and confident response, “Oh, he’s a Southern Batting Hound.”

“Cool. I’ve never heard of that.”

“Mmm.  They were bred to remove the stuffing from old furniture manufactured in the Carolinas.”  After watching the Westminster Dog Show one year, the humans embellished the name.  Having noticed the trademark feathering of the fur around his hind quarters, they now referred to him as a Shepherd-butted Southern Batting Hound, the SBSBH, for short.  They made up a speech for the announcer, when the breed was introduced, “Known for his high play drive, his long ears, and his distinctive gait, the SBSBH is not for the slow or lethargic family.  Though not blessed with  strong reading skills, this breed is distinguished by the cranial nugget, a small bump on the top of his head which is said to contain the minute SBSBH brain.  He nonetheless will destuff any chew toy within seconds and makes a fine companion for the hyper-active child.”

 

Congratulations if you made it this far.  Stay tuned for part two as tomorrow’s slice.