Category Archives: Bubby Spamden

Recruit to Deny Guy

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

Hey Mr. C.,

I admit I’ve been a pest when it comes to passing notes in class to ask girls if they want to go out with me. Usually (always) the answer is “no”, because … well, it just is.

But that’s OK. My feelings don’t get hurt too much ’cause I’ve been in 10th grade for about 20 years and a guy just gets used to things over that much time. Pretty much I just do it out of habit.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why some of the girls say (behind my back) that I’m creepy. On account of I’m old enough to be boyhood friends with their fathers.

Anyway, we just had a meeting today with Mr. Norton, the guidance counselor, and he told us about an amazing thing colleges are doing that I think is so inspiring, I’m going to start using it in my personal life because it might help me stop feeling like such a loser.

It’s called “recruit to deny”, which describes the practice of sending letters and e-mails and texts to students who the schools know are probably not going to get admitted, hoping to draw an application so they can say “no” and look more selective, meaning “better”.

Like I say – really cool idea.

So here’s what I’m thinking – I’ll change the notes I’m writing to these girls in my class from “Hey, do you want to go out with me sometime?” to something that’s more closer to a college recruiting letter, like “Hey, I’m inviting you to ask me to go out with you. Lots of really super girls have asked me already, and the ones I went out with thought it was one of the greatest educational experiences of their lives! It’ll cost a bunch ’cause of course I’ll want you to buy, but sometimes it takes a few bucks to learn important things about the world.”

I realize not very many will take me up on this offer, but I don’t get many “yeses” as it is. Even if I got just two to ask me out, I could say “yes” to one and “no” to the other. Then I would both have a date AND feel kinda selective and special!

And I wouldn’t feel sorry for the girl I turn down either, because she be the real winner. For obvious reasons!

What do you think?
Your pal,
Bubby

I told Bubby I found his latest note disturbing on a number of levels. As the oldest high school sophomore in history, it is totally inappropriate for him to be asking classmates out on dates. I’m relieved to hear that no one has taken him up on it. His latest idea to send out insincere invitations and mimic the callous strategy of some colleges to seem more “selective” is simply ludicrous, and I doubt it will bring him anything but sorrow.

On the other hand, it does feel wonderful to be wanted and unobtainable, so I get where he’s coming from.

When has turning down an offer made you feel good?

Window Shopping

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, national poster child for the campaign to end social promotion and a fixture at Wendell Willkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

I know the economy is (supposedly) picking up and people in my age group have better employment prospects now compared to just a few years ago, when the likelihood of finding work after graduation was pretty much zero.

Now they say if you study the right kind of thing you have a good chance of getting hired if your training lines up with all the jobs they say are coming – jobs that have real specific requirements.

In fact Mr. Boozenporn organized a job fair just before the Christmas Break where we had a chance to go to the gym during our study hall hour and talk to experts in a bunch of different fields about what we need to do to get ready.

There were people there from the medical fields to talk about being nurses and doctor’s assistants. There were technology people there to talk about being all different kinds of engineers.

And there was even one who said we could get work right out of high school as long as we were willing to change bedpans and take care of old people, a super-needy and traditionally grumpy group that is growing every single day.

Nobody wanted to talk to that guy.

I took a walk around but didn’t see anything interesting, mostly because I was still holding out for my dream job – being a NASA mission specialist on the International Space Station, in charge of looking out the window.

Seriously – being in space is awesome (I think) but everybody we send up there has a hundred different jobs to do so nobody gets to just look at stuff.

I was super-ready to take that job, but then I got a big disappointment. Somebody already has it!.

Still, I think this is pretty amazing, and when you consider that the universe is vast, there’s lots more to see. Notice he only spent a little bit of time looking out the windows on the other (non-Earth) side!

Now that we know it can be a “thing”, maybe there will be other openings for Space Lookout Observation Boy. My mom says I was born to be a S.L.O.B.!

Your hopeful pal,
Bubby

What can you see out your favorite window?

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?

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?