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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Did Either of You Pray for Shoes?

If you're on Facebook, and you "like" my page, you may have seen this lengthy status today (or yesterday, depending on when I elect to post this):


"If you read my posts about Emma and her talent show adventure, there was sort of a post script to the whole Talent Show escapade that "helped". I was thinking about blogging it, but meh. . .


One of the judges approached her at school the day after they announced who made it and asked if Emma had. When Emma told her "no" she looked surprised and then checked through her notes. She said, "I gave you the highest marks you could get, let me see what's going on."


She checked through her notes. I don't know how many kids made it. . . 20 or 30 or whatever, but whatever the number was. . . add 1 and there Emma sat. She's the first alternate if one of the other kids can't make it. She JUST missed out.


You'd think something like that would almost make it worse, having JUST missed, but for Emma it was as if the judges at least thought she was ALMOST there, and this judge in particular had given her the best marks. . . so it made her feel better.


Secretly I think she still hopes that one of the other kids will drop dead and she'll get that last spot."
First, you should know that my daughter didn't really hope one of the kids would drop dead and she'd get the last spot.  At least that's what my lengthy interrogation appears to have turned up.


Honestly, that last line there was my own attempt at a little stab of dark humor.  Who can resist, right?  But it was only a joke.  I mean. . . i didn't secretly wish for something to really happen. . . right?


Do you remember the Simpson's episode where Bart is wearing corrective shoes and finally has had enough of being bullied and teased about them, kicking them off his feet and through Ned Flander's window to land in Rod and Todd's room?


Ned looks at the shoes and says, "Boys, did either of you pray for shoes?" (Ned is the Simpson's resident happy Christian).


Todd says, "I did!"


Emma's 4th grade class was second to last to file into the cafeteria for lunch.  Emma had a chipped ham and pickle sandwich, one of the two types of sandwich that she'll tolerate.  She took her seat with her classmates at a table on the far end of the cafeteria.


The chatter of the excited kids, drowned out the hum of the air conditioner.  They took their seats and began to eat.  Emma took longer than most, a side effect of her 'conversational' nature.  Sometimes she didn't have time to finish her lunch before lunch was over.  We used to get notes at home about it.


Today, the white noise of the lunchtime roar was broken by a sharp crack.  Emma looked around for the source.  It sounded like someone squeezing a cheap plastic water bottle.  And that's when the duct work collapsed.


It was exposed ductwork like 'retro' restaurants utilize and Emma said later that it looked like it was just hanging from wires.  I know what she means, it looks dodgy but it works. . . except when it doesn't, and then how can you ever trust it again?


The duct entered on the near side of the cafeteria where the kids walked in, ran two thirds the length of the cafeteria then made an ell and exited the cafeteria at a right angle.


The crack sounded, and Emma thought in hindsight that it was the duct itself, or maybe one of the 'wire' supports, then a large section of the tubing swung away from the wall, showering the students underneath it with condensed water before the  other end collapsed.  The ell crashed onto a table and a boy who Emma went to summer camp with was trapped beneath it.


There was screaming.  Emma turned and saw the lunch ladies screaming for the kids to get out of the way.  One of the women saw Emma's friend and she shouted "There's a boy trapped under the table", pushing her way through the crowd of now fleeing students, some screaming.


Emma ran from the cafeteria with her friends, beneath the angled overhang of dangling ductwork.


They took the kids back to their home rooms and had a "code blue" for an hour amid whispered conversation as the muffled sounds of ambulances and police dopplered in the background.  A code blue, Emma later told me, means that all the students go back to their rooms and the teacher locks the door and they wait.


When I got the call my wife sounded worried.  She'd heard about it on the news and couldn't get through to the school.  When I eventually did get through, we decided I should pick Emma up and bring her home.  Most kids parents were picking them up.  All of Emma's friends, since it happened during fourth grade lunch, were being picked up.


Eight kids were hurt; four teachers, none seriously.  Of the eight kids, seven were taken to the hospital, and 2 of the teachers, but I'm sure all were scared out of their minds.


Before I disconnected with my wife I said, "before I say this, I want you to know that I find this in no way funny and that YES, it is far too soon, okay?"


My wife, perhaps a bit flustered and slightly wary, said, "okay. . . "


"Do you think any of the injured students were in the talent show?"


There was a brief silence followed by mildly hysterical, uncomfortable laughter, and I told her I'd call her when I'd picked up Emma.


Emma was fine. . . maybe a little animated with adrenaline. . . we talked about her adventure and she fired words at me as quickly as I could absorb them.


I had her sketch the cafeteria for me. . .which I then annotated.


All is well.  Hopefully the kiddos and teachers will be alright. . . cuts and bruises from what I've heard.  (Two were in "fair" condition. . . my wife thinks that means "worse than cuts and bruises") I hope that's accurate.


Emma went to softball practice.  MAN, kids are resilient.
The actual duct

47 comments:

  1. Whew, glad everyone was (mostly) okay! And you are so right about how resilient kids are. And, um, were any of the in the talent show?

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  2. First, I am having a hard time getting past the chipped ham and pickle sandwich. I don't even know what chipped ham is. I don't think I want to know.

    Second, hopefully nothing super historic happens soon, warranting the need for updated text books, b/c I can just see the slew of lawsuits now...sooo...good luck getting your kid a quality education NOW.

    Third...they locked themselves in? Did they think gremlins had come and chewed through the duct work, necessitating them locking doors? Or, I guess schools are just overly cautious these days. Or Gremlins

    Fourth...I am glad everyone is OK.

    Fifth...maybe you will luck out and one of the kids was in the talent show, OR one of the kids there was too traumatized by the event to go on (in the talent show...not life).

    Sixth...we are all going to hell.

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    1. chipped ham is just sliced ham sliced a micron thick. It's SUPER thin. . . you can see through it.

      Save me a seat. But not under the ductwork.

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  3. She handled that with more aplomb than I ever would have. Cool under pressure, that girl of yours! Wow....glad everyone is ok, even if there were some injuries...

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    1. one of the kids. . . the one Emma knows, has a fractured skull. His injuries were the worse. Emma said he was knocked out and his hand was pinned under the duct. . . scary stuff.

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    2. Holy CRAP! A fractured SKULL?! Wow. Very scary. Glad Emma was okay and not too traumatized by the event. Very scary stuff.

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  4. I am glad all are ok, but have to admit that at first I thought those little circles were talent show kids' seats...and I wondered how you diplomatically got that info, but then I looked closer. How scary!

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    1. haha. . . nope my research skillz aren't that spectacular.

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  5. I'm so glad there will be other hilarious people in hell with me. Its going to be hot, but so funny.

    And worth it!

    I pray that one of those kids is in the talent show, was not hurt but is so traumatized that they have to be homeschooled until after the talent show.

    In Jesus' name, amen.

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    1. in hell there IS no ductwork. . . so at least we'll be safe from that.

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  6. OK - so DO you know if any of those kids were in the talent show and you're just trying to create a cliffhanger and get two, no make that three, posts out of this?? Because I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sleep well until I know if Emma's in. Do you want to be responsible for that??

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    1. I don't think any of the kids were actually in the talent show. . .

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  7. I dn't know what to say Jim, but I can't help but think you're responsible. Just kidding. It would be great if Emma got in though. I mean, as long as no kids were seriously hurt.

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  8. Chipped ham and pickle sandwiches = one of my favorite lunchroom lunches as a kid, too. YUM.

    First, I'm so glad everyone's ok. Holy CRAP, that duct! It's huge! Those poor kiddos!

    Second, more so than all the other kids, I'm glad Emma's ok. Yes, yes. I know. ALL THOSE OTHER KIDS. Well, I'm biased, and Emma's my priority in that room, so suck it, other parents.

    Third - yep. Straight to hell with me. Because even before I got to the part of your post where you asked Leslie about the other kids being in the talent show? As soon as I realized Emma was ok, I thought, "HOLY CRAP SHE'S IN. IT'S A SIGN FROM ABOVE. A LITERAL SIGN! FROM ABOVE!"

    Going straight to hell, no stops, no exchanges, down elevator for me.

    Glad she's ok, though, sincerely. Give her extra hugs from me tonight.

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    1. another interesting "sign":

      Before they started the 4th grade lunch, they had to rope off at least one of the tables because a little girl from another class had gotten sick and they wanted to disinfect it after they had cleaned it up. If that table would have been open, more kids would have gotten hurt.

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    2. One of the kids has a fractured SKULL? Good grief! I think your school's about to see a lawsuit. We answer for a lot of the local ambulance-chasey lawyers at my weekend job, and this kind of thing is what they LIVE for.

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    3. ACTION news will tell us!

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  9. Oh My God. I know this is totally inappropriate in light of the rest of the conversation, but did you just say CHIPPED HAM? You did. Ohmygod you did. And I just drooled on the keyboard.

    Yes, I admit it. Born and raised in Pittsburgh. And REALLY hurting for a chipped ham sandwich right now. Dammit.

    P.S. I'm really glad to hear that Emma is Ok!

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  10. Hey guys! I'm new around these parts. Can I stay if I promise to keep my feet off the sofa?

    I had to stop by and say that's my favourite Simpsons bit of all time (except it's "did somebody pray for GIANT shoes"... so so sad that I know this...)

    Freaky story about the ceiling. I hope someone yelled DUCT!

    Must get back to reading all your archives. What am I doing wrong that I can't find you on Facebook?

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    1. I don't know what you're doing wrong. . . I actually have a facebook widget on the right hand side of the blog that says, "like me on facebook"

      Heh.

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    2. I know :) But for me in that box all I see is "to use Facebook's social plugins, you must enable platform applications".

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  11. Okay so that was me being too private with my Facebook settings. Doh.

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    1. haha. . . i saw you "liked" the page. i assumed you cracked the code, whatever it was.

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  12. A duct walks into a bar...
    Too soon?
    I just want to say that my way to eliminate winners did NOT involve a huge duct falling on children.

    I'm evil but I'm not THAT evil

    Glad Emma was safe. I'm so grateful she was hurt. And that explains what I assumed was a hooky day for you on Tuesday.

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    1. HAH! I think because no kids were killed, we're okay with the joke. But we did stop short of divulging to Emma that her friend from summer camp had a fractured skull. I'm pretty sure that would freak her the fuck out.

      Yup. . . that explains it!

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  13. Wow! That's one big duct! Glad everyone is more or less ok, could have gone really badly.

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    1. Yeah, i'd like to climb through it. . . but it falls down, so maybe that's not so safe.

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  14. Replies
    1. the part where I made the joke. I KNEW you'd judge me!!

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  15. If the fates saw fit to let the ductwork collapse on poor little children, why wouldn't the fates have made at least one of those children one from the talent show?? I mean, it makes sense. Stupid fates.

    Hope no one was seriously injured. Scary.

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    1. some broken bones, apparently. Nothing TOO serious.

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  16. HOLY CRAP!!!! There is a small crazy-hermit part of me that really wishes I could become a stay-at-home-mom and homeschool Gabe when the time comes. This story HAS NOT helped me embrace school outside the home, thanks so much for that.

    And yes, kids are amazing and bounce (physically and emotionally) so much better than we poor "adults" ever will again.

    And I'm sorry for the people who were injured, and sorry that this coincided with your joke (which I totally got). Awwwwwwwkward!

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  17. That's quite a sequel to the original post! I am glad that Emma is okay but really? How long was that noise that everyone just ignored it?

    And I couldn't help myself here - Why does everyone have to pick on the lawyers? How about the school inspectors or whomever is supposed to make sure the building is safe for the children to eat their lunches?! Let the lawsuits fly... a fractured skull is messed up from going to the cafeteria to eat lunch and whoever is responsible will have insurance for their mistakes but the parents who have to pay the medical bills and therapies may not. :(

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    1. Oh Karen. . . not YOU. . . OTHER lawyers.

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  18. I'm glad Emma and everyone else seems to be ok. I have to admit, I would think the same thing you did - humor is the only way I know to make anything feel better.

    And I think it's so great that Emma was approached by one of the judges like that. It's a good feeling to have someone looking out for you in that way.

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  19. I'm glad no one was seriously hurt--how odd that that happened during that particular lunch.

    I think that if you can find something to laugh about, even in the darkest of times, it's all good. People will understand that you're not wishing anything ill on anyone.

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    1. They better. . . or I'll hurt them.

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  20. I'm glad Emma wasn't hurt. The big question is, why is the school in such bad shape? Is maintenance ever done? Inspections?

    It reminds me of the bridges in Montreal. Clinging by fine wires and crumbling concrete, ages old, but construction is run by the mafia and the government is in their back pocket. No maintenance, bridges come crashing down, people get hurt.

    This shouldn't happen in schools.

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    1. it was a fluke. The ductwork was modified three years ago during a remodel. It should NEVER have fallen.

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