Way to Go, Roy!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!  Top o’ the blog post to ya!

Today marks a very special anniversary for me and my good buddy, Roy.  It’s our 10th anniversary to be exact – oh how the time has flown.

It was my first year working at my new school.  Back then we worked on teams and I was told at my very first team meeting the most important thing about being on the team that I was on – parties were the most important order of business.  Every birthday would be celebrated, Christmas would be celebrated, and whenever someone felt like celebrating extra celebrations would be observed.  Basically, we used every excuse we could to bring food to meetings.  Everyone had a job they were expected to perform: someone would get the treat, someone would get the card, someone would get the drinks, someone would get the plates and stuff.  My job?  The birthday hat.  Now, what they meant was for me to get those cheap little cones with the elastic strap under the chin – but they didn’t say that.  In my mind I thought everyone was supposed to get a “special” hat to wear and, since it’s my mind, I figured it had to be big and gaudy (usually one or two neon posterboards were used in the construction of these ungodly masterpieces).

The history teacher got a 2-foot tall, neon yellow, Abraham Lincoln-esque stovepipe hat.  The Spanish teacher got a humongous sombrero.  One of the teachers had a Halloween birthday so a massive witch’s hat was a must.  At one point there was a need for a crown of ferrets…don’t ask.  So, when it came time for my birthday, I was bracing myself for what this team of creative individuals would come up with…

They forgot my birthday.

In their defense, my birthday falls on a day over our Christmas vacation and we had planned our Christmas party for the last day before break.  It slipped their minds until we were enjoying our holiday treats.  They apologized profusely and said that we would celebrate my birthday after we got back from vacation.  So, while we were on Christmas vacation, I was bracing myself for what this team of creative individuals would come up with…

They forgot my birthday again.

A couple more months passed and we found ourselves on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.  I was told that we were going to celebrate my birthday on March 17th and since my birthday was forgotten twice AND because there was a half-day of school, we would skip the normal birthday treat at our meeting and we would go out for lunch instead.  It sounded awesome!

Until I woke up the next morning and I knew right away that something was terribly wrong with me.  Sweating, chills, light headed, nauseous, aches from head to toe…bad news. But, I was a first year teacher, I had a young child, my teammates had made big plans for me, and it was only a half-day – I wasn’t going to spend a sick day.  I could muscle through this.

As soon as I got to school I realized that this was not a good idea.  I went from bad to worse before the students even showed up for the day.  Fortunately, there was going to be a teachers vs. students basketball game that took up most of the half-day.  I brought my students down to the gym, excused myself for some lame excuse, and hoofed it back up to my empty wing of the building.  I certainly needed the privacy because I made a beeline to the men’s faculty room and threw up like I never had before.  And that is saying something, because I have violent vomiting sessions – I scare myself!  It’s like someone is trying to exorcise a demon out of a rabid gorilla!  There is much growling and wailing and thrashing and noises that were sampled for Jurassic Park…it’s ugly.  At one point, when I was trying to brace myself, I grabbed ahold of the toilet paper dispenser as another wave overcame me and I ripped it out of the concrete wall.  So, A) yup, confession time, it was me everybody – I broke the toilet paper dispenser 10 years ago and B) they replaced it with a much better, plastic encased, dual roll dispenser – you’re welcome.

I slowly regained my composure, cleaned up, popped some gum, and made my way back to the basketball game.  As soon as it ended, one of my teammates asked me if I was ready for the party.  I nodded and mumbled something incoherent.  I totally forgot about it to be honest, but I wasn’t backing out of this at this point.

Being that it was St. Patrick’s Day, we decided to go one of the best Irish bars and restaurants in our town.  However, being that’s where we went and that’s the day we chose to go – the place was absolutely jam-packed with people.  I staggered in, pale, blurry-eyed, foggy-headed, sport jacket and tie all discombobulated.  I found the table with my teammates and made my way over to them and that’s when I saw it.  My birthday hat.  It was an actual football helmet, but they had attached antennas to it on the tips of which were mounted little blinking lights.  The helmet was blank, so on the side they had written R.O.Y. – Rookie of the Year.

The vast majority of the St. Patrick’s Day revelers had let me pass through without so much as a glance in my direction – however, when a guy is wearing a helmet like The Great Gazoo with multicolored strobe lights on top starts having a table full of people belting out “Happy Birthday” at the tops of their lungs, folks start to take notice.

Looking like I did and acting in the manner that I was, the people at the bar (who had started pounding green beers at sunup) figured I was either a fellow drunkard or someone with some mental deficiencies – in either case, most were convinced my name was Roy. And the strangers rejoiced for today on this glorious emerald holiday, Roy joined this jolly bunch of honorary leprechauns to celebrate the day of his birth.  Strangers from all around the room cheered for him, “Happy birthday, Roy!”  “Congratulations, Roy!”  “Way to go, Roy!”  And all Roy really wanted for his birthday was to go home and puke.

“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.” ~ Irish Proverb


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