After I graduated from college, I never really got used to living on a traditional calendar instead of an academic calendar. Sitting in a cubicle as the months of March and April rolled by without a break nearly killed me. So, when my mentor teacher told me that she never takes summers off--that she’s worked through the last ten years or so of summers--I did not get her at all.
I love summer. I look forward to all my summer habits: sitting on my butt, reading in the sun at the park, seeing friends, driving around listening to music, sleeping late and eating ice cream for breakfast. If I hadn’t had that down-time in the summer for the last two years, I don’t know how I could’ve gone back in the fall.
Then the realities of family life finally hit me right in the face. And who’s the guy throwing the punch? Let’s call him "The Antichrist."
I got my first credit card when I was sixteen. It had a limit of $1500.00, which I promptly spent on shoes, music and trips to New York City. I’ve always had money coming in because I’ve worked since I was thirteen. I paid my bill promptly, and by the time I was eighteen, Dumbo Credit Co. had increased my limit to $9500.00.
I remember feeling stunned by that number when I saw it on my statement and dumbfounded as to how I could ever amass that amount of debt. Then I went to college. I always worked, but somehow groceries, gas, and even tuition (once) ended up on the card. One day, I received my statement and saw that my limit had been increased to $11,500.00.
I called Dumbo Credit Co. because I didn’t want my limit to be increased. The madness had to end. A customer service representative answered the phone and started asking some questions to verify my identity. Finally, she came to the end and needed my password for the card.
“Yes, it is a word or phrase that you use to identify your card for security purposes.”
“Gosh, I don’t know. How about [mom’s maiden name].”
“I’m sorry ma’am. That’s not it. Is there another word that is perhaps special to you?”
“Well, not really. Try [name of city where I was born].”
“No, I’m sorry. That’s not it either. Maybe you could try a less traditional password that you may have chosen for this card?”
“Less traditional? Oh, god, did I pick something really weird?”
“Yes, ma’am, I guess you could say that.”
“Well, I’m not trying to get past your security or anything, but could you give me some kind of clue, like a category or something?”
“No, ma’am. I’m not at liberty to do that. But I have been wondering if you’ve been to church lately?”
“What? Church?! Jesus, did I call the card Satan or something?”
“Yes, ma’am, something like that but not that exactly. Would you like to try again?”
“Yeah. Is it The Antichrist?”
“Yes ma’am. Very good. How may I help you today?”
And do you know that after that ridiculous conversation, after calling them The Antichrist for god’s sake, they wouldn’t let me decrease my credit limit?
That was, oh, ten years ago, and me and the antichrist are still battling. This summer I’m at least going to get him down on the mat, if not knock him out completely.
So, now I have three jobs.
- I am teaching a one week workshop that I will create on digital literacy for high school and middle school kids that will teach how to use blogs, wikis, pod casting, social web pages, etc.
- I will be farmed out to tutor writing and vocabulary with struggling high school students--mostly kids I have already taught.
- And, last but not least, I will be teaching fifth grade (!) for seven weeks in a summer program for at-risk kids from low-income families.
So watch out Mr. Antichrist-pants. The hurricane is coming.