Birthday Present, Carl Sagan, and Greasy Sex – Not Necessarily in That Order

It’s been an eventful week, as one might imagine from the title. Things are all nice and active. Even though I’m not a student anymore, I officially still like the start of semester – yes, even as a teacher. Something nice and fresh about it. Kids wanting to learn, all your books uncreased, pencils unbroken, erasers unblemished from graffiti and general abuse…it’s magical. First day of spring today too, which is nice. There’s a magnolia tree that’s almost bursting into bloom outside our window – I’ll need to take a picture Monday! Oh, and –

Oh fuck it, I’ll just skip straight to the greasy sex, I can’t hold off any longer.


Alright alright, so it’s not actual greasy sex (come on, guys, I work at an elementary school, it would be like 2374928404958 times more disturbing). This is one student’s response to a pop quiz on ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc).

I’m not surprised he didn’t get any right, since most of the quiz results were pretty dismal, but what I’m baffled by is what was he trying to spell?? Because he was trying really hard to get it out, and failed quite consistently every single time. At least he’s a champ for never giving up.

Anyway. Moving on.

Today was Olivia’s birthday, which she told me about a couple days ago. You might remember her from an earlier post, except now she has rechristened herself “Olivia” from her prior moniker “Stable”.

In brief recap, she’s a dedicated student of the English language in a very…stubborn way? Something tells me (and my co-teachers) that she has a bit of a learning/social impediment, though what that might be exactly we’re uncertain. I gather it might be somewhere in the broad range of autism.

Because of this, however, she’s all the more focused and serious about everything she does – most noticeable to me (being an English teacher and all) in her English study. She comes to see me every lunch hour to ask how I am and what I did yesterday and what I’m going to do today, and then again to my office after school finishes to ask the same things.

A couple of days ago, she came to my office to ask about punctuation. I’d gone over commas and periods in class, and she wanted to know what “?” and “!” were called. I told her and she immediately regretted the query when attempting to remember such long names as “question mark” and “exclamation point”.

Before leaving for the day, she also let slip that this Friday (today) was her birthday. I marked it down on my calendar, and made a mental note to make her a birthday card.

Of course, I’m an asshole and I totally forgot.

So today, I got to work, saw my calendar and immediately thought, “Oh shit. Gotta make one fast.”

I didn’t have time in the morning, so I resolved to make one after lunch. When she came to see me in the cafeteria, I told her to visit me after school so I could give her something…hoping to god I’d finish on time.

Thankfully, I did: these are the results.



If it looks like a four year old coloured it, well…I have no excuse. I just hate colouring. Also the only colouring materials I had were fat crayons…but I wanted to do Angry Birds for her, because in the beginning when she’d come to see me, her answer to, “What did you do yesterday?” were always, “I played Angry Birds”. Don’t know if she remembers that, but hey.

In case she doesn’t, I added an awesome dinosaur to the interior. The hangul after “Happy birthday” is her Korean name, Im Yubin



When she came to visit, I gave her the card and I could see the terror in her eyes as she saw all the English. She thanked me quickly and ran to my co-teacher in the next room to have her translate.

All through the translation process, I heard exclamations of…well, I wasn’t sure what emotion, but I was fairly certain it was happiness. I was really happy about this, especially because she’d told me she was having a bad day when I asked her how she was during lunchtime.

Once finished, she came back into my office and gave me a big hug.

I don’t like hugs from children though, so this is kind of what I felt in my desire to hold her at arm’s length. Still, I sucked it up cuz it was her birthday.

“Happy birthday,” I smiled. And she said thanks again, and ran off. Yay to brightening a kid’s day! Angry Birds and dinosaurs work every time.

And to finish off this post, because it says so in my title, Carl Sagan decided to drop into my Grade 3 textbook for a cameo.

Carl Sagan in my textbook

I swear to god I can’t see anything else when I look at this worksheet page.

So happy Friday – and first day of spring! For those of you in Canada, make a snow angel in your bikinis.


For the rest of the world, be thankful you don’t live in Canada.

I’m heading to bed now because I’m hiccuping compulsively. Man, and I only had three drinks…

7 thoughts on “Birthday Present, Carl Sagan, and Greasy Sex – Not Necessarily in That Order

  1. thanks for all the great cards you gave me. good to know you don’t shirk to everyone you know. btw we are now in the midst of getting 4-6 inches of the white stuff to prepare us for going out to make snow angels in our bikinis. Welcome to Spring mes amis (French: my friends) from The Great White North eh!


  2. I tried to figure out the Greasy Sex…but am clueless. Thrilled that Carl Sagan made it into the book…there is NO doubt that it’s him…I think the artist has a crush on him and used that photo as reference. NO doubt about it.
    And bless you for the card. That is the stuff of tears for me. Those moments of kindness when you make a difference to someone…even if just to make a bad day better. You will always be special in her memory for taking time for her.


  3. I’m thinking “exercise” might have been the word. I know it’s not quite logical, but that’s the vibe I got from it.

    And if you think about it, maybe both interpretations work.


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