Category Archives: Bubby Spamden

The Fake Persona Strategy

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Willkie High School.

Hi Mr. C.,

I don’t get to see much television ’cause there are so many other screens to watch I don’t have enough time for it. But I know things are different for you older folks. You still think we kids spend our nights the way you did – sprawled on the living room floor in front of the tube, with mom and dad sitting on the couch behind us.

That’s kinda sweet, I guess. But why would anyone ever lay down on the floor in front of a screen that doesn’t respond to you? Weird.

Someday you’ll have to tell me all about how it was in olden times. Maybe when I’m your age I’ll have the patience to sit and listen – can you wait that long? I suppose the math doesn’t really work out.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t watched the TV show that’s the big deal of the moment now that “Stephen Colbert” has signed off the air to make way for Stephen Colbert, who will debut a new show on CBS in September.

If I get what people are telling me, “Stephen Colbert” is a fake know-nothing blowhard character made up by Stephen Colbert to poke fun at people who are real know-nothing blowhards.

And for this they say he’s a genius!

He also got rich doing it, and is going to get even richer in the Fall when he replaces David Letterman. But in that job he’ll be playing his real self, not his fake one.

I’m not too keen on all this using media to pretend to be someone you’re not. Does that really work? I’m pretty sure people are smart enough to see through it without much trouble, just by the language you use and the look in your eye.

But that’s just me.

Still, it does give me an interesting idea – do you think Principal Peepers would buy it if I told him that all these years I’ve spent at Willke High I’ve been pretending to be a snotty, selfish, shallow sophomore when in fact I’m really good-hearted, smart scholar-type who’s just been doing a big con, like a performance art project with me as the star? And that next Fall I want to switch back to my real self and get on with my life?

I could use a lucky break like that. And if it can work once, maybe it would again and again! It would sure be a cool way to get out of a bunch of the trouble I expect to get into after I (someday) graduate!

Hopefully,
Bubby

I told Bubby it all hinges on whether Principal Peepers is:

  1. A Colbert Fan
  2. Gullible

As a high school principal, there’s a slim possibility he’s the first, but no chance at all that he’s the second. Still, it doesn’t hurt to dream big.

What’s your best fake persona?

About these ads

Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

Pester Fest

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Willkie High School.

Hey, Mr. C.,

In Mrs. Hecubensen’s “Modern Living” class we’ve been talking about time management skills and staying on-task, which is pretty much the same stuff we covered back in kindergarten but it feels like I have a lot harder time paying attention to it today.

Mrs. H is a real hard-liner when it comes to staying focused. She’s all about schedules and lists, which is why we’re always trying to steal the lesson plan off her desk. If we can get it, it’s like unplugging a machine! She literally slumps down in her chair. Pretty amazing!

Anyway, last week we covered to-do lists and one of the assignments was to ask an older person for some detailed advice on how they keep track of all their tasks, and then write a short report about what they said.

Since you’re old, I’m asking you!

But don’t answer right away, because Mrs. H said “If anybody takes time right then to go into detail with you about time management, listen politely but ignore everything they say because only a poor time manager will accept such a distraction. The right answer is to say – ‘Let’s schedule a meeting to talk about it.'”

So why don’t you think about it and get back to me! I don’t want to have to listen and ignore what you say! I want to be able to write my report and THEN ignore what you say!

Also, I had a business idea about this – there’s this study where parents were sent text messages to remind them that they are supposed to read to their children. I guess people are so busy they don’t remember to do the things they already decided to do until somebody tells them they meant to do it.

I got to thinking, that would be a good line of work for me. I’m already an expert in being nagged about stuff that’s not done. Maybe I could use all that experience to bother other people about things they’ve blown off!

Then my job could be messaging people constantly, which is all I do anyway! I’m thinking I could call it “Pestertext.com!”

What do you think?

Your pal,
Bubby

I told Bubby “Pestertext” is a great idea – so great that I want him to take me on as his first customer and send me a text to remind me to put him on my schedule so we can talk about how I manage my time. He said he would do it, but that was a couple of days ago and there’s been nothing so far. So I think I might be off the hook!

How do you manage your time?

Scary Space Thing!

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, who has been held back so many times, he has more seniority than his teachers at Wendell Willkie High School.

Hi Mr. C.,

Me and my buddies are sure excited about tonight being Halloween AND Friday too!

There’s just something about running from house to house to fill up a pillowcase with teensy candy bars and then bingeing on them until you feel sick! And it’ll be even better because I don’t have to get up and go to school in the morning!

The biggest problem is figuring out how to dress. People say teenagers are lazy when it comes to Halloween. The guys I know make a big deal out of Not Trying Too Hard.

Last year my pal Willie got a roll of fifty “Hello, My Name Is …” tags, wrote a different name on each one, and then stuck them all on the front of his shirt except one, which he put in the middle of his forehead.

When people asked, he said he was dressed as “Identity Theft”.

That’s super cool, and also really lazy. But people seemed to like it, and a lot of them asked if he thought up the idea himself, which he didn’t, so he said “No, I stole it,” which made them laugh even MORE!

I had a great idea for a costume last night – A Comet!!! And here’s the reason. They’re bright, scary and FAST!

But the thing that really sealed the deal for me was this article. It says that probe that’s about to land on the comet called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has some kind of electronic nose, and it did some sniffing tests and radioed back that the comet smells like combination of horse urine, vinegar and rotten eggs.

Ugh!

But also … Sweet!

I was hoping to get my mom on board with this. I know we don’t have any horse urine but I asked her if we had some vinegar and rotten eggs, and she said she wouldn’t help with that part because it’s gross.

And as far as the costume goes, she looked up some instructions online and said it’s just too hard for ordinary people to make. I guess I can’t complain but how can it be harder than landing on a comet? I mean, c’mon!

She also said some pretty mean things about papier Mache. You make the comet’s head by mixing newspaper and paste and then layering it on a beach ball.

“It’s too fussy”, she said. “We’d have to wait at least three days to let it dry and by that time it would be Sunday.”

So I guess I waited too long, once again!

But I did find a great big Sun mask, so I suppose that’ll have to do.

People will say I’m the Sun, but I’ll have to argue with them. “No, I’m a Comet!” A stinky, rude one!” I wonder if they’ll buy that? I’m fast, so that’ll help. And maybe I’ll throw some handfuls of glitter behind me. Until it runs out anyway. Hope I don’t get arrested for littering, but my excuse will be “Comets are dirty.”

If people don’t like it, they can tell it to the Comet Head.

I wish it weren’t smiling, though.

Your Pal,
Bubby

What’s your best last-minute dress-up idea?

Skipped a Step!

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, who, as the poster child for the campaign against social promotion, has spent 20 years in the 10th grade at Wendell Willke High School.

Hey Mr. C,

Did you see what Microsoft did yesterday?

It’s awesome, and it fills my heart with hope. They decided to introduce a new version of Windows – “Windows 10″! But here’s the cool part, and believe it or not I first heard about it on your blog when “Happy Valley Steve” made this comment –

Screenshot 2014-10-01 at 6.54.55 PM

How about that – ME learning tech stuff from YOU! Pretty amazing. I guess old people aren’t a total waste after all. Who knew?

That’s almost as amazing as the other part of the story – Microsoft totally disrespecting the number 9 by jumping over it! A lot of people are upset about this, but I think it’s cool because skipping steps is why I keep getting held back.

Like in Mr. Boozenporn’s history class two years ago. I was just barely making it. Everything was riding on the grade for this class, and Mr. B had everybody do a final project, which was supposed to be a six page, single spaced, typed report about a historical event or thing or person, and I chose William Henry Harrison who was the first U.S. President to die in office (after only 32 days!) and whose brief term helped people work out all the rules about what to do when the president dies in office.

It was actually a pretty good report. I worked kinda hard on it, which is strange for me! But then I didn’t hand it in. I don’t know what happened. As soon as the report was finished I kinda lost interest and I never even brought it to school. I’ve still got it in my room – it’s under the goldfish bowl where it soaks up condensation that drips off the tank sometimes.

Anyway, not handing that in got me an “F” and another year as a sophomore at Willke. My folks complained but Mr. B was firm. “Bubby skipped a step,” he said. “Giving him a passing grade wouldn’t be fair to the other students who completed their work.”

I tried to argue that not handing the paper in was really a clever way to mirror the Harrison presidency – all potential with no actual follow-through, and a sense of disappointment all around. But Mr. B. saw through that one. He told me to quit trying to sabotage myself.

So here I am trying to pass my sophomore year again. I’m not saying I’ll do the work and not turn it in, but I wonder if he’ll let me write a report on Windows 9?

Your pal,
Bubby

Ever skip a step?

The Scottish Ploy

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Willkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

Well, school has been going for a couple of weeks now and so far no real surprises, except that Mr. Boozenporn moved his “Nations of the World” unit from January up to Right Now.

It ends with a “Nations of the World Festival” in the gym. We get assigned a country in a random drawing and we have to write a report about it, and make a display, and dress up in a traditional costume and then all the parents (well, not ALL) come on a Tuesday night and they poke around and kinda quiz you about your project while you stand there, sweating.

But I don’t worry about it too much because I’ve been a sophomore for a lot of years and I’ve done enough nations that I’m starting to get them a second time, which is really cool because you can kinda re-use your work and who’s gonna know?

Except last year I got Egypt again so I handed in the report I did back in 2005 and Mr. B gave me a “D” and held it up for the whole class to see because now they have a different president and everything else I said about Egypt was pretty much wrong too, except that they have pyramids and the Nile.

“Follow the news!” Mr. B. said. “If you don’t know the latest happenings in your country, you will get a ‘D’ for ‘don’t know anything’.”

So this year I drew Scotland.

I’ve never done Scotland before, but I took Mr. B’s advice and checked the news, and boy was I ever glad I did! It turns out they’re having a vote (today!) to decide whether or not to be an independent country. Which is funny because I thought they already were! (And so did Mr. B., I guess, because otherwise why would it be a choice?)

Doesn’t matter, though, because I feel super lucky. The way I see it, Scotland is a free pass on the “Nations of the World” assignment since the Festival is next Tuesday night.  I’m counting on Scotland to vote for independence so the festival will happen on what will only be the fifth day of existence for their country.

That means I get to make a super short report.  Maybe I could get away with just a shrug! Who coulda guessed that Scottish independence would set me free, too?

After all, it’s not like the Scottish people have history that goes much past last week, right? So it should be smooth sailing for me – nothing to worry about unlike those guys that drew places in, like, Africa. I hear some of them are going to have to wear dresses!

At least Scottish guys don’t wear silly clothes like that, just goofy, poofy hats. As far as the rest of the wardrobe, somebody told me anything with a pattern would work. Is that true?

Your pal,
Bubby

What is your greatest miscalculation?

Excavations in Education

Today’s post comes from perennial Sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Willkie High School.

Hi Mr. C.!

Well, today is the re-beginning of school, and in spite of everything I’ve thought and felt over the past few months and the complaints I’ve made and the different ways I’ve tried to get out of returning to Willkie High, I have to say I’m excited to be going back!

Why?

Well, people like making connections and having routines and seeing old friends and making new ones. And the daily rhythm of being a high school sophomore is a pattern I have perfected! I’ve got my backpack and my notebooks and all my pens and pencils and stuff and I’m ready to go. I’ll collect all the papers my teachers hand out and I’ll take their assignments and bring them home. By this time I know them all by heart. My favorite one is the unit on Stonehenge. We do it every September and I get a real kick out of the idea that Druids dragged huge heavy rocks hundreds of miles to make something big that we still don’t understand and when we look at it all we can do is scratch our heads.

The lesson? People have always done stuff that’s kinda weird.

Anyway, I’ll really try to play by the rules this time and get my work done and handed in on time, but before long I know I’ll start to wonder why I have to study so hard for all these standardized tests and I’m sure I’ll get tired of it, because that’s what I do.

And then around the middle of October, I’ll go into my backyard at home, sneak behind the equipment shed where we keep the lawnmowers and rakes and stuff, and I’ll dig a deep pit.

And then I’ll dump all my assignments and papers and materials into the hole and I’ll cover them up with dirt. And I’ll do this every single week all the way through to the end of school, so when Mr. Boozenporn and all my other teachers ask “Bubby, where’s your homework,” and “Bubby, didn’t you take that assignment home?” and “Bubby, why don’t you get things done?”, I can shrug and say “Oh yeah, it’s probably just buried under some other stuff somewhere.”

That’s how I manage to stay a sophomore year after year at Willke High!

I know it seems like kind of a waste, but the way I see it, someday some cultural archaeologists will come along and dig up all that stuff so they can piece together the history of education in America! Or at least the history of education during this particular time in America, which is bound to seem as strange and mysterious to them as Stonehenge seems to us today.

Your predictable pal,
Bubby

How does your routine change after Labor Day?