Hot For Teacher

When Avery gets off the bus in the afternoon, she invariably greets me with an announcement that she has important news. It’s never “Hi, Ron,” or “Salutations, Exalted Benefactor,”—just, “I’ve got important news.” The real letdown, however, comes in the delivery of said “important” news which amounts to such earth-shattering occurrences as some kid dropping their lunch tray or how good glue tastes. Once, Avery told me that her “parts” were hurting, but I shut that story down before she could finish and handed her off to her mother before being subjected to any further unpleasantness.

I’ll admit Avery’s afternoon headlines might warrant air time as human interest stories on FOX News or CNN, but are they worthy of shouting, “Stop the presses?” No, and frankly, I’m tired of having my expectations set so high only to have them go unfulfilled upon learning that today’s big bulletin involved her ground-breaking discovery of bellybutton lint while sitting in math class. Of course, right when I start to remind myself not to get swept up in all her hoopla, that’s when Avery comes up with something legitimate.

“Guess what? I’ve got important news!” Avery said not five steps out the bus door.

“Oh really?” Then I caught myself. Don’t be a fool, Ron. Be strong. “Oh... really,” I repeated but this time with more apathy in my voice, not that Avery cared either way.

“Yeah, they gave us a special note that you and Mommy are supposed to read.”

A special note, huh? Okay, I’m listening… but only because you said it was “special.”

Turns out the news really was special (and good thing too since I planned on giving myself a paper cut with it as punishment for being duped again). Avery was being moved to a new class. Apparently the school’s administration determined three weeks into the academic calendar that the number of 1st grade students exceeded projections, and therefore required another classroom. How it took this long for a bunch of academics with advanced degrees to arrive at such a conclusion baffled me, but I suspected a tie in to the President’s controversial broadcast on education. Bus-stop pundits alleged that the school’s decision to ignore it resulted in classroom behavior deteriorating into scenes reminiscent of town-hall meetings. Furthermore, it didn’t surprise in me in the least to hear that a few kids were spotted with automatic Nerf rifles slung over their shoulders as they heckled some flustered social studies teacher. This is Texas, so what do you expect?

In any case, as far as Avery was concerned, the last several weeks didn’t mean squat: name tags, seating arrangements, birthday charts—all gone, condemned forever to some great art box in the sky. This suited her just fine. As the international poster child for ADHD, Avery thrives on such abrupt changes almost as much as she does overdosing on Red Dye #5. For parents, however, the switch meant going through the whole rigmarole of signing stacks of paperwork, relearning schedules, and getting acquainted with the new teacher all over again which usually requires a Meet-the-Teacher appointment. As a stepfather, I loath these meetings. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if my basic function didn’t consist of me standing around like I’m waiting to catch the 9:15 as the teacher actively engages my wife Ashley and her ex all the while eyeing my name tag suspiciously and playing surname Sudoku.

“It says here that there’s going to be an impromptu Meet-the-Teacher on Wednesday morning,” Ashley said holding the “special” note up to her face. I groaned as an expression my unbridled enthusiasm, but she didn’t hear me. Her eyes were too busy darting back and forth as she skimmed through the rest of the letter. “Mm-kay… alright… ‘kay… and your teacher’s going to be Miss D, Avery.”

“We already met her, Mommy.”

“Oh yeah? I don’t think I know her.” Ashley squinted at the ceiling. “What’s she like, sweetie?”

Avery’s smile opened as if about to giggle. “She’s hot.”

“What time did you say that Meet-and-Greet was?” I asked turning around in my chair. I may not like going to these things, but I still owe it to the children as a good stepfather.

Ashley pressed her lips together communicating to me that the circumstances of my renewed interest in parent-teacher relations had not gone unnoticed. Even so, an investigation into the supporting facts behind Avery’s cursory assessment of Miss D took precedent in my wife’s hierarchy of self-assurance.

“Is Miss D hotter than your mommy?”

“Oh no, Mommy.” But something in how Avery responded failed to convince Ashley. Maybe it was too quick, or too canned to sound sincere; whatever the reason, my wife felt compelled to press the issue like an eager cub reporter smelling a big story hidden in an unspoken truth.

“Are you sure, Avery?” Ashley slid an arm around her unsuspecting daughter. “It’s okay, you can be honest. Is she hotter than me?”

Avery shifted in her seat and glanced around the room. “Well… yeah--but you’re still the hottest mommy.”

Oh look. My schedule for Wednesday is clear all day.

The day we were to meet Avery’s teacher, Ashley got up at 3 AM to start getting ready, and as always, she looked amazing by the time we walked out the door. Still, this didn’t keep her from checking her makeup in the visor mirror every few minutes. On one hand, I understood Ashley’s need to pummel Miss D in a beauty-queen beat down, yet on the other, I wondered how women gauge such a thing objectively. With men, at least there’s a definitive standard based on comparisons against the scientifically proven six inch average of a distinct part anatomy . Women are left with what—the subjective opinions of such “experts” as Prez Hilton and Chris Matthews? Pffft! Please. What’s fair about that?

Ironically, like Avery’s important news con, the hype over her new teacher outweighed the reality. Miss D was blonde, petite, and adorable, but in terms of overall hotness, my wife trounced her in a contest more lopsided than an Andy Kaufman wrestling match.

“She’s very nice,” I said on the way to the minivan.

“Yeah,” my wife agreed “But I wouldn’t call her hot.” Her tone in saying this made me think she might be having a talk with Avery about the elusive criterion for deeming someone a hottie.

“See, I told you. You’re hands-down gorgeous—a smokin’ hot babe. Schwing!” I did an exaggerated hip-thrust to punctuate my assurances which induced a satisfied grin from Ashley.

I thought this was the end of the story. However, during the ride home, Ashley sat quietly. She kept rubbing her hands across the top of her legs, starting mid-thigh and pushing the open palms to her knees, over and over. “Do you think I sounded stupid when I was talking to her?”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh brother, honey. She's a first year teacher; she was way more nervous and probably too self-conscious to even hear anything you said. Stop being so insecure.”

Ashley nodded before resuming her attempts at inflicting a friction burn on her upper legs in silence.

On an unrelated note, I asked Ashley to help me trim the hair on the back of my neck later that night. I now have one of those bowl cuts popular that you see on skater kids… then again, maybe this wasn’t so unrelated after all?

I'm a very lucky man to have such a hot wife.

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