May 20, 2008

Ranch Pants!!!

So, I am sure you are wondering about this one!  

I teach at a middle school, and used to be the self-contained Learning Disabilities teacher.  I had a good rapport with my students and we were pretty comfortable with one another.  I know way more about their personal lives to this day than I care to ever remember.  Anyway, I had a student, we'll call him 'Joe', and he wasn't feeling well.  It was about the end of lunch time, and he had been in the nurses office all morning due to an upset stomach.  

Being the caring person I am, I went in to check on him and see if he wanted anything to eat.  He wanted a banana.  I said, "sure, that is easy, I can go get you one".  Oh, if only that were true!  I get his lunch number, head downstairs to the cafeteria for his lunch.  The cafeteria is almost empty, classes are leaving, lunch is about over.  I grab a banana, take it to the cashier, plug in the number and wait for it...... Get yelled at!  

Why you ask....  well, in our building, most of our students are on free and reduced lunch.  Students who receive this, HAVE to get an entire meal even if they aren't going to eat it!  Sounds assanine right? 

Anyway, I say 'Joe is sick, he just wants a banana'.  
Response: 'He has to get a whole lunch, I can't give you just a banana' (By the way, the rest of the meal options are put away, and the staff are running frantic doing the lunch clean up.  Getting a meal isn't even an option because there is nothing there!) Don't get me started on how long this conversation went on!  
Next, I say, 'well, how about this, I will buy the banana for myself and we won't worry about Joe'.
Respose:  'I can't let you do that, I know it is going to a student and this cannot happen'. 

By now, I am out of wits.  I don't know how to reason with this person and feel the urge to take the banana and run!  This whole time the cafeteria staff are scurrying around trying to clean up for the day.  I open my mouth to make my last ditch effort to get this God D**N banana when I hear this from behind:  "OH, SHIT!!!"

Then I feel it.....  The backs of my legs feel like someone drove through a mud puddle and it splashed up all over the back of me... My pants, shirt, hair covered in this heavy substance  that is starting to drip. What was it you ask?  An industrial sized (GALLON) jug of RANCH DRESSING!!!  It slipped out of someone's hands because as she put it "it was slippery and I lost my grip"  (That's what she said)

So, now what do I do?!?  I stand stunned, speechless, unmoving for what felt like five minutes while my brain tries to processes what has just happened.  I turned around, walked directly to the woman's bathroom to see the damage, and yes I took the banana with me!!!  I lock myself in, face my back toward the mirror, turn to look over my shoulder and see the effects of that much ranch on my BRAND NEW PANTS & SHOES!!!  In a word my pants were completely covered in dressing, my shirt and hair were lightly splattered.  Ranch had dripped into my shoes. 

Now, here's where my judgement comes into play.  Do I go home and change my clothes and come back?  Do I rinse my clothes out and stay for the rest of the day in soiled and oily clothes?  Either way, I have to get the bulk of the ranch off.  I strip down to my skivvies and start rinsing off my pants because there is no way that paper towels were going to work on this mess.  I rinse them out, wring them as dry as much as I possibly can and put them back on!  It was gross, I repeat GROSS!  My shirt I was able to spot clean with the paper towels as with my hair.  The shoes I just rinsed and dried with a towel.

From here, I march to the nurses office, banana in hand and give it to 'Joe', who responds with the statement:  "What is that smell?"  Great, I smell now too!!!!!  I march over to the associates office and say:  "I need to go home and change my clothes"
"Why, is everything o.k.?"
"No, its not!"  And I proceed to explain the ranch explosion all over my clothes.  I can tell she was trying not to laugh at the incident, but she was able to maintain composure.  

I get the approval, tell my para educator to conduct the lessons until I return, go out and get into my car.  I am ready to leave.  I drive down the block when it dawns on me... I live over a half hour away.  I have to go home, wash up, change clothes, drive back and teach for the rest of the day.  That would put me back to work with less than a half an hour left in the day.  I turn the car around, drive back to school, explain the situation to the associate and went to my classroom to teach for the rest of the day.

I sat in my chair behind my desk as much as possible.  My para knowing the situation was quite kind in taking over the group work and I called individual students back to my desk.  Each one of them commenting on the unusual smell.  By the way, my classroom has no windows or good ventilation so the smell wasn't going anywhere.  I decided to tell the students what happened, they smiled, but none laughed.  Our room was about mutual respect and they were very understanding about the whole situation and didn't laugh.  (although, much laughing took place later in the year!)  I was o.k.  I made it through the school day with one period to go.....

Two student (who I only saw at that time of the day and didn't know the situation) walked in the room....  "Wow, it is pungent in here.  It smells like rotting food, like ranch dressing"  That was it, I lost composure.  I started to cry!  Not a little sniffle, I CRIED!  The kids came over to me.... 
"Miss H, are you o.k.?"  They sounded so genuinely concerned.
At this point, I was done.   I couldn't stop crying, no mater how hard I tried.
"Oh, my god Matt, you broke the teacher" was the comment one made to the other.

The students who had been in the room explained what happened to me, and they all seemed to understand and sympathize.  I taught the lesson, they actually paid more attention than usual. The bell rang for the end of the day, students dismissed, I sneak out of the building as quietly as possible.  The day is over, I can go home and shower, get the stink off, and relax.  Pants and shoes are ruined and get thrown away, shirt was salvageable.  

Next morning, I woke up ready to face the day (barely).  Drive to work.  Only a few people know what happened to me, I don't have to worry about being embarrassed.  No one knows, right?!?  I get to my mailbox.   There's something inside.  A bag of carrots with a note that read:  Can I dip these on your pants?  I look towards the associates office to see her smiling at me, and give me a head nod.  I can laugh about it now and not focus on the negativity of the incident.  That helped me get passed it and share it with the staff at one of the next meetings.  The best thing that came out of that: veggie snacks hidden in my mailbox every once in a while through the end of the school year.

I was never questioned about a banana again!


  1. So...I just laughed my ass off at your story. I have had a day like that teaching, but never that bad. Thank you for sharing it. You should check out my blog (I don't think anyone reads it)

  2. I totally need to go back and read your archives. This is hilarious. I would have totally been one of the people that put veggies in your inbox!


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