Washington Square Park: More from Pocket Pages notebook #50


This phone number no longer connects to me.

This phone number no longer connects to me.

21 February 1998: My radio-station colleague Cheryl Uitti the other day said how we’re all haunted by the media image of the white woman.

2 March 1998: Symbolism, paradox, irony, appearance/scene-setting: the literary tools of my new journalism. But are these too pat, too easy a set of analytical tools?

4 March 1998: I’m here at the station late again tonight, but this time it was exciting. Talking with [reporter colleague] Rob about stories, about my organic agriculture story, about using simile, about being passionate and using that to pitch public radio. And I got excited about the crack house story tonight on “All Things Considered” — how raw that was, and how incredible. Maria called and I got excited just telling her all the details of the Whitacre sentencing [I attended]  today — how technical the jargon and details, yet how informal the interaction was. And the judge semi-scolded Whitacre before he read the sentence: how Whitacre was unlike most defendants in that he had opportunity, he was a “meteoric” success, but that his motive was “garden variety venality and greed.”

4 March 1998: Taking a shit is an act of health.

6 March 1998: On plane: Substance/denial/meaning: the fallacy of food and material “pleasures.” There’s no meaning for me there, and therefore little pleasure from food these days — so little desire for candy, shrimp, etc. A hollow experience.

How many people are like me? You don’t hear this (old-fashioned) idea in pop culture. But you can’t legislate or really even preach it and have this idea accepted. People have to see the emptiness for themselves.

6 March 1998: 5-ish, Barnes & Nobles near NYU campus, New York City: There are so many people here. Yet they aren’t all famous. A few rise up — maybe there’s hope for me.

Taking pictures of small things as emblematic of the whole is false.

Old wooden water tanks on top of buildings.

I don’t even want to stop and read things now. I’m too dazed and my attention captured by all the sights around me — buildings, people, etc.

7 March 1998: NYC, hotel lounge, near Chinatown/Little Italy: The fruit seller, the bean curd (?) seller, the mob guys I see out this window — I don’t know them, they’re meaningless, they are symbols, objects to me. The “mob guys” outside “Maria’s Restaurant”: old Scorsese-looking guy smokes a cig, puffing it, not really smoking it, his hands in his pockets, standing there while a young, somewhat unraveled-looking Chinese guy talks excitedly to him. Then the younger guy, who is sweeping thru this and ignoring the guy when he directs his talking and hand-slapping to him, this young guy whips out some bills, the Chinese guy takes them, goes on to a retail store down the street, slides in thru an opened door. Those two stay there like they are conducting street business as much as the curd seller and his shopping cart are. Not long after, they went inside (maybe) and closed the garage door. And a kitty there later — too perfect.

7 March 1998: The subway goes below our hotel. Little tremors, sound like thunder, when it passes.

The older buildings here in Chinatown: lots of dirty walls, old water taknks on top of the buildings.

Lots of foreign voices here in C-town. This would surprise me more if I didn’t hear this with some regularity in Champaign-Urbana. See, I am somewhat worldly compared to how I was in high school.

This city is laid out differently from what I thought from seeing it in movies.

Lots of activity at the fruit stand pretty early — at least there was when I got up at 8.

I’ve seen some pics of NYC in movies, etc., but even those establishing shots don’t move. There are hundreds of views of even the same building, and so the one shot you get in a movie is so 2-D, so shallow, unreal. The richness of even just one building in the flesh vs. a single picture of it.

I’m planning on walking the city today. Even I’m a bit surprised at my — what’s the word — brashness? Comfort with the city? I’m not even sure I would do this with Chicago or D.C. Here, the “good” area is lots bigger. When I look outside at the fruit stands, etc., and see all the moving people, going places, I get a little hesitant to go out into that, to fight crowds, etc. But then I know I want to and I brace myself — but not much because I’m not that reluctant.

9:40, The bean curd guy packed the crates and buckets into his shopping cart, strapped it down with a bungee, and wheeled his business away.

7 March 1998, Saturday, nearly 11 a.m., Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village, NYC: I’m writing this note while sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park! That’s the only real point to the message, is that it’s being written in Washington Square Park.

And as I’m writing this, I’m thinking that as I read this some time in the future, it’ll be more like a thing, a souvenir, than a memory, and that it won’t come anywhere near recreating this scene, which is to say, it’s a cloudy, cool but not cold day, pretty much meets expectations for an early March day. There’s a mild wind, and that’s cold, but OK to sit here for 10-20 minutes, but not much longer. There are a fair number of people here, more adults than any park I’ve ever been to, on a day when there’s no festival, anyway.

All ages of people, all manner — old, parents, lots of young-ish types, 30s and such. Guy with his dog on a 3.5- or 4-foot pedestal. Athletic sort of guy. He tosses a blue ball to the dog and it bumps/pushes it with its nose back to the guy in an arch [or “arc”?] People watch and photograph. Somebody said something like “that dog was in People magazine.”

Little pug dogs around me — little guy nosing all around. A younger woman walked by with a smaller, grayer pug — and the two women talked about the dogs — breeding dogs: “What do you do, put ’em together and let ’em go at it?” — the older blonde smoker with baby — almost a Fred Stoller kind of flat, slow accent. Silver (female) pug’s owner — a Latina-looking-but-not-sounding woman.

There’s a real police presence in the park — several cops walking around, a couple vans. NPR last week said they installed cameras to watch for drugs, etc. I haven’t seen any cameras. A woman during that story said she doesn’t mind surveillance cameras because it makes the park safer, able for her to use it. And I’m thinking about that now as I see the people here. Everyone seems upstanding, not even any gruff-looking people.

A park police guy tells the woman to leash the dogs. The blonde shoves her dog into a mesh basket under the baby carriage. The dog lies down, he doesn’t seem to mind.

Writings done at Washington Square Park.

Writings done at Washington Square Park.

How to describe my sitting here: I’m looking at this pad of paper and seeing the dark green bench, the brick and pavement and my red coat and blue-jean’d legs to the periphery of my vision. I look up, people are scattered at various distances — lots of sitting, walking, watching -(lots of cameras — are professional newspaper photographers here just to get slice-of-life shots? I mean, not that they shoot and print only off-beat photos here, but that this is a regular place to start.) There’s some greening grass, not lush or dense yet. Mostly bare trees, but some are pale, yellowish green with buds. At least the tree is that’s between me and the 85-foot tall monument (I remember the height from a tourist book I read last night).

The monument is north-center in the park. Big brick-paved, concrete-benches circle is in front of me, in park’s center  — and another ring in the middle of that, 100 feet across, maybe. It’s sunken a few feet and step-benches line it, an amphitheater of sorts — a magician/performer was drawing a crowd there yesterday. We didn’t see his act but his circulating of a coffee can: “Any Irish in the crowd? Saint Patrick’s day is coming up. Get out your green.”

A dog run to my right — I’m surprised there aren’t more fights there amongst the leash-free animals.

It’s about 11:30 now. About 10 minutes ago, when the ladies leashed their pugs and left, the whole park play underwent a change of characters. The ball-dog guy left, the dog run cleared out, etc.

The mood here is just kinda mellow — it’s Saturday, nice day for a stroll in the park. There are little kids here, too, dad with two little kids 2,3,4 years at most, in a plastic wagon. Are they NYorkers, I wonder, or tourists. Do those kids live fulltime in Greenwich Village? Those kids are loose now, walking around. One of them does that bubbling giggle, up and down, elicits a smile from yours truly.

Lots of cameras here — is everybody watching everybody else?

I’m conducting a survey of the theory that dogs look like their owners. Not seeing much of a positive correlation in today’s research. I’m starting to get chilled — almost time to go. The park’s open “ceiling” is a nice break from the surrounding tall buildings. The giggling kids are both wearing many-colored fleece overalls, like the PJs I used to wear. One, a pink and purple suit, other, green and blue, with hats.

Bunny Modern author sets his first babynapping scene in Wash Sqr Park. In reading that, I hadn’t quite pictured this, though in a strange way, not so far off, either. A group of about 30 or so college or high schoolers, probably, stopped and posed for a pic around the rim of the amphiteather inner-ring. They want a picture of them in Washington Square Park!

In a way, that’s the image/myth/legend I’m buying into, too, at least when I wrote the first part of this note. The park as a celebrity. A brush with fame! This park today seems safe, even dull — not particularly significant, except for its history,  and that wouldn’t draw people. What draws them is the park’s reputation as it has been popularized in books, movies, etc. [and now in my own blog post. 21 Aug. 2016] For example, the Washington Square imprint is using and furthering the park’s countercultural image. From what I had heard of the park before, I thought it would be in a slum, not near university.

It seems a uniquely NYC phenomenon (or at least it happens a lot more often here ) that you overhear some interesting tidbit of a conversation. Do people talk more openly here than other places, or are their conversations more interesting?

This city, at least around here, has the existentialist image down — lots of thin, serious-looking people, quiet dressers, lots of them smoking. At least on a cloudy day like today it looks existential. Not depressing, per se, but mellow, detached.

My impression before coming here was that TV, sports, radio — common interests elsewhere across the country — aren’t as popular here in NYC because what is popular here (at least in Manhattan) are things like theater and books — what the people are into is books, etc., and I like that.

The scene before me is detailed, sharp — I think the overcast light helps that, lights things evenly so they appear saturated colors, etc., lots of detail. 11:50 a.m.

I moved to a new bench. Couple other things: lots of fences here now — unpaved areas fenced off — to save the grass? Snow fences around black metal pipe permanent fences. The statue of Garibaldi at east side of park the frosted-green patina of copper — the statue pedestal below is in poor shape. The statue is drawing a sword. Under that, on the pedestal, it says:

GARIBALDI 1807–1882

and that’s all. No other words, no plaque justifying this statue’s existence. But the concrete below the words is cracked, chipped, peeling.

I just looked up from my new spot — right ahead of me, to south of park, directly up the road, like a path directly there — are World Trade towers. Finally! I see a NY skyscraper.

You know, I want to walk around the city, see buildings and Central Park — but right now I’m waiting for Maria — she says she wants to go to only one Federalist Society [conference] session. “An odd group,” she said today. (I’m not sure if “odd” was her word, but that was the meaning.) And that was what I was thinking, so it surprised me a little to hear her agree. Too many conservatives, too many lawyers, too many men, too many bowties.

So I have another 45 minutes until I am to meet Maria and I’m not sight-seeing, but I’m very happy just sitting in the park this last hour, writing and observing. This is perfect. Nothing I’d rather do.

The mind-boggling thing is that this area has lots of people, buildings, things going on and things to see. And this is only one small part of one borough out of five in one city of (the cabbie said) 13 million people. There’s just so much going on it would be nearly impossible to write about. At least NYTimes does take an interest in the uniqueness of the city, in its style photos and “Living in the City” diary.

I still want to buy a NYTimes for $2.50 tomorrow (the low cost part of the charm, of course) but I don’t really feel much like reading papers this trip, not like I have wanted to read papers in the past, partly ’cause there’s so much else to see here and I have read the Times before but also I think it’s because I’m so sick of all news lately.

7 March 1998, 12:50 p.m., outside in front of NYU law school: It’s hard to believe some of these “Feddies” — more conservative than libertarian, I’d say — but still. This one plump guy who came out, wearing trench coat, hair quite short, glasses like George Will or something, with ear pieces on top — bow tie, white shirt pressed out by belly — pudgy, bland Rush Limbaugh face and smoking Marlboros — jeezus. Kinda like bland arrogance personified in a young body where it really looks affected and put on. Why — and how — would someone try so hard to look like conservatism larvae? I mean, it has to be a put on, right? That can’t be natural, right? I mean, the guy’s not 25, probably.

Synchronized actions: From Pocket Page notebook #50

1 February 1998: I’ve been fascinated lately by the concept of the swiftly, deftly executed move or action, especially when it synchronizes, like gears meshing in time, with other events and times– like stepping to a door, turning knob with hand and pushing the door open, then walking thru the door without pausing, all in one smooth, continuous movement —

And the larger action, walking thru the door, is fully dependent on that little movement — the hand turning the knob and pushing. Sometimes it almost feels like a lock-step, like the hand’s movements are controlled and timed mechanically to function perfectly and be exactly right to not impede the larger machine’s movement, like the knotters on a hay baler. When they are tripped, they seem to act in one quick strike, like the hand on the door. The knotter does its job in a moment and then rests again til it’s called. That’s key to this idea, too. It’s not a constant, repetitive thing. It’s a quick strike, called at any time. But it fits with the larger action — synchronicity.

And it comes about either thru computation and methodical engineer-thinking, like the baler, or thru practice, like me and the door.

The door is the door to my office. But there are other things at a radio station that remind me of this idea/principle/phenomenon. like how most of the time you aren’t under pressure to perform precisely and perfectly, but there are moments with that’s required, when swift execution is needed, like when producing a piece or combo-ing the air product, when numerous little operations on the mixing board are required, hitting of buttons in certain sequences, doing little “procedures” (in a programming sense) that require several steps.

‘Trump’s an asshole,’ sings Denis Leary, 2016 asshole update

Since this post of Denis Leary’s song seems popular and pertinent, I’ll add the updated, 2016 version, done by Denis Leary and James Corden:

Here’s the original:

Radical openness, part 2: Weds. 30 Dec. 2015 journal

Continued from previous post.

In essence, there is nothing that I have to say to others. There’s nothing I need to say, and what texts I’ve created, these don’t need to be published. These are not vital info for others, not all that informative nor all that entertaining. Yet, maybe I’ll publish them anyway. Maybe I put up a few things on my blog, things whose value isn’t argued for or explained. Yeah, I may look a little weird doing that, but I want to know what these other forms would look like — can these be done?

The value for me is in the act of publishing is in the doing (if someone likes what I’ve done, that’s just an ego stroke for me). I don’t learn much or have new ideas from having others read my work (though I guess it’s possible someone could read my work and give me a deep analysis from which I could get insights).

(These lines make some sense to me now, but I recognize that this text may not make sense to me later, once the ideas are gone from my mind. The ideas are in my mind now, so they do seem normal now.)

If you are to retain open-mindedness, you just gotta trust that new learnings, new experiences, will come. You can’t know/predict what these are, or else it wouldn’t be new learning. You gotta have faith in the process of letting go, having an open mind!

I may publish a text that isn’t clearly trying to communicate, but is conveying the message, “I’m alive, here’s something from my mind.” It’s not what I say that matters, but only my voice — that I’m writing — that matters? My experience of writing and editing? Of course, these don’t matter to others. But new ways to be, to write, can indirectly communicate, but this doesn’t need to matter to others — a near paradox.

I’ve written for a couple hours, and I may not have said anything of interest to anyone but me. But the point is, I like to write! I like spending time that way! Any value for others in my texts is nice but incidental.

2:55 p.m. — An implication of radical openness: I may just remain silent. I may not have anything to say! I will likely try publishing things. I won’t take “radical openness” as a restriction. Don’t take this idea too seriously, either!

I don’t want to have to put on a persona, do a performance, as most writings and art made for others are. there’s writerly ego there in making the performance pleasing to others.

When a nonfiction writer dramatizes his role as an observer or participant, that’s a layer of fakeness, because one can’t live (do things other than writing) and write at the same time. [see another example here] To pretend in an article to do so is to make artifice. Writing is done after the experience. Why not be more natural, less self-aware, self-dramatizing, portraying self-as-character? To be less aware of writing to/for others might be more authentic.

4:10 p.m. — Writings — texts — do not represent life or physical reality or experience. We may try to represent these in words, but it doesn’t work well. Writing is writing, representing only itself. The mind uses language — that’s it! Experiencing and writing are two different things — it’s inauthentic to both to elide that distinction.

The way we teach students to write — say, the Personal Narrative, the Research Paper — is filling in a form, learning to put info in a format that others people can easily recognize. This teaching has students learning to do a specific type of thinking and language use, but it’s not a type of writing that reflects authentic, spontaneous language use, as a freewrite can.

The criticism that certain narratives aren’t realistic doesn’t make a lot of sense from this perspective (that writing doesn’t represent reality). All stories use language — there’s no way to compare language to reality.

I seem to be making a claim here, though I don’t want to, because my larger point about radical openness is that I don’t need to make points. Claims are made as compared to some sense of reality — that’s one definition of truth: something is true if it matches or adequately explains some aspect of reality. My point here is that there is no truth, there’s just language, and looking for truth in language may not be possible or even useful. Of course, the trap here is that I’m making yet another claim about reality. An expression of language is just an expression of language.

6:30 p.m. — I think what I want to say is that this idea (that writing represents itself, language use, not physical reality or experience) can be interesting, useful — but that my point in writing isn’t to make claims but just to write because I like to write. There’s no point where I will or could be done. There’s no idea/claim argument endpoint. What I was writing earlier in today’s journal is that a topic or point, to communicate that is to communicate, when that’s kinda flawed. (Why? because of reasons I gave earlier today, which I can’t quite recall …)

9:12 p.m. — well, because of radical openness! Because nothing I can say will be as cool as what might be said next — and because whatever I’ve already said in the pile of writings isn’t as important as what I might learn from the next editing session! Old thoughts are old, existing thoughts are old, but the experience of reading old texts is new!

Radical openness, part 1: Weds. 30 Dec. 2015 journal

At home, 9:10 a.m., really light flurries, 24°F — It’s funny how tempting it is to jump into meaningless arguments — the more meaningless, the more people seem to get riled up (myself included at times). How people argue which band is best, for example. My motivation to jump in is, I guess, to share my own subjective experience.

Radical openness: maybe I don’t really need to publish — don’t need to advocate — any idea at all.

As I emailed my friend Doug yesterday, I thought about how, even though Doug is a friend, and even though I’ve emailed him literally hundreds of times, I was still adopting a sort of narrative persona as I wrote to him — a bit jokey this time (and it’s not always the same tone). I realized how often I do that, particularly in my nonfiction, how, like a journalist or columnist or personal-essayist, I adopt a voice that makes me seem reasonable, normal, unexceptional, trustworthy, reliable — salt of the earth. In other words, I adopt a persona that is NOT unique. I want readers to see me as reasonable, as if I’m concerned about my reputation, and my online reputation isn’t far removed from my professional reputation, as students, colleagues, and administrators can read what I put on the blog. So, no, I don’t want to adopt a weird perspective. But there’s a space through which to pass between these two, perhaps a kind of radical honesty, posting pocket pages or journal text without context, without polishing.

I don’t want to publish ideas that are not situated in time. I’d prefer particular texts, so include times and places in which texts were written.

Radical openness: not publishing, not having any message to tell others, as if the message I’d have would be important or even entertaining — that’s probably the reason I post so many student quotes, the message being “read these, and you’ll laugh” — the implicit purpose I have for communicating to others. What if I give that up, that feeling of having something I want to say to others? Radical openness — not being judged by what I’ve said, because it’s already in the past. I’m not sure I even understand the implications here.

Maybe, with editing, the experience, the mental engagement, matters far more than the publishing of texts. Publishing is basically a mechanical process, and that’s what I fall back on when I don’t have the mental energy to engage in editing.

Maybe we as a culture ignore experience all too much in favor of the material product, the physical evidence. But what good is it to have published in the past, as I have? What good does having published do for me, at least, as compared to the unique learning experiences I have when I can really engage?

Reading some of my own personal writings, I no longer felt that these ideas were as important and urgent as I must have felt when I wrote them. Not that all ideas feel urgent at the time of their writing, but these writings really didn’t feel that way on the re-read. Maybe that’s brilliant, in a way — it goes against the idea that what I would publish should be urgent, should have a news peg. How many times people (including me at times) write things that are connected to news events, people writing about externals such as artworks or political or social issues. It’s Not that these issues don’t matter, but to write about issues or news or externals is to adopt a position, a persona, toward both the topic and toward the reader.

Even here, today, I’m writing about a topic, though I’m not writing to anyone [which is why this post may seem more blunt than if I rewrote it specifically for readers], so there’s less persona interfering with or guiding word choice.

Letting go of whatever ideas come to mind: for example, expressing to my wife my frustrations with how we don’t have extra money. But I’d just be kvetching about a circumstance of long standing, something not easily changed, and frankly, that’s just a background condition. I don’t need to have no debt or lots of cash in order to keep living, thinking, writing, teaching, etc. So why say my complaint at all? And I didn’t. I didn’t go dwell in an abstraction (wishing I had more money) when instead I could let go that idea and be open to new ideas — that’s also radical openness.

You don’t have to come up with “others will like this”-type ideas, ideas that I have where I think, “hey, I could package this idea, explain it, justify it, for others.” That’s so limiting. And it is easy to living within the mental world of known ideas, especially when I’m stressed, say. It’s hard to let go when I’m stressed.

Continued in next post.

‘I try not to pay attention’: Quotes from Class of 2016

Here are statements made by my students in the graduating class of 2016, which statements I’ve recorded over the last three years. There were plenty of characters this year.

Hussein Abdallah:

It’s really quiet in here without the lights,” said Hussein during a class period where the electricity was out. 20 Nov. 2013.

Half of the things you do are only funny when you’re under 18,” Hussein said, explaining that certain pranks students could do to at school might get them arrested once they got to the age of majority. 22 May 2014.

Hussein yelled “Humble Genius!” at me after school in the hallway. I answered to that. 13 Aug. 2014.

Humble Genius, party at my house for spring break,” Hussein told me, using the annoyed-teacher voice I’d used in his class the year before. 20 March 2015.

Hussein told a story in the hallway about some other guy saying “she’s not worth cheating on Alexis for.” 22 April 2015.

Abdallah, ‘cuz I make you wanna holla,” Hussein explained his name-rhyme. 22 Sept. 2015.

As another class worked on their comic strips, Micah asked, “Do zoos have moose?” “‘Do zoos have moose,’ said Doctor Suess,” I added. Later, Micah said, “Gooses are called ‘geese.’” Student Gabby Villalobos said, “Why can’t ‘moose’ be ‘meese’?” Hussein answered, “Because they’re all whores.” 13 Nov. 2015.

He WOULD be the person to just type in ‘dicks’,” said Hussein of Tyler Ryan, who was telling a story about looking for the sporting goods store Dick’s but got organs while his mom was looking at the computer screen. 4 Dec. 2015.

How does this thing work?” asked Tyler Ryan of a long-necked stapler. “Just push it down,” Hussein said, demonstrating. 16 Dec. 2015.

Hussein, are you good at tiny, small objects?” asked Tyler Ryan as he tried to tie string in the punched holes of his portfolio. “No, just big stuff,” Hussein answered. Then Tyler said, “This might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” 16 Dec. 2015.

That’s not going to fit,” Micah Davidson said. After a perfectly timed pause, Hussein Abdallah quipped, “That’s what she said.” I laughed. 17 Dec. 2015.

Many more quotes by Hussein here.

Alec Beach:

She’s talking poop about golf, Mr. Hagemann,” tattled Alec to me of some other student. Alec used one excretory term to avoid using the less-appropriate word, it seemed. 20 March 2014.

Alec, who was 15 or 16 years old, said he wanted to die in his 40s. “By the time you’re, like, 70, all you’re gonna do is suffer,” he explained. 2 April 2014.

Presleigh “Presly” Belt:

The brain named itself,” said Presley Belt in study hall. 21 Oct. 2013.

My feet are hot. I’m not ready for boot weather,” said Presley in study hall. I said, aren’t your feet hot all the time indoors? Apparently not. 25 Oct. 2013.

My birthday is next semester, so when should my birthday be this semester?” Presley said, in response to a system set up in my study hall for bringing treats on one’s own birthday. 25 Oct. 2013.

Now you’re writing just like teenaged white girls talk,” said Presley as I noted something Presley or a classmate had said. 31 Oct. 2013.

I can’t read your cat-scratch,” said Presley of my handwriting. 31 Oct. 2013.

You go to bed at 5:30. That’s what I got out of that story. You go to bed at 5:30. … Second thing I got out of that story: you only shower a little bit,” Presley responded after Megan Renick had complained about having cheerleading practice til 6. After another Presley “that’s what I got outta that story,” a younger girl said, “Do you have to get something out of every story?” “There usually is,” Presley answered. 6 Nov. 2013.

You’re the Queen of Sarcasm, I tell you what,” Presley told me. I’m not sure why she called me “Queen.” 4 Dec. 2013.

Mr. Hagemann, do you like bacon?” Presley asked me, apropos of nothing during study hall. “Nope,” I said. “Me, neither,” Presley answered. 12 Dec. 2013.

“Liam is a guy who looks like Justin Timberlake and David Beckham,” said Presley of the One-Direction band member. “Gross — he has 2 heads and 4 arms?” I replied. 12 Dec. 2013.

Do you have to take four years in math? Why am I in math?” asked Presley. 17 Sept. 2015.

You have friends — question mark, exclamation point,” said Presley to Shauna Childers. 8 Oct. 2015.

After Presley said “can’t” as a three-syllable word — “ca-ca-hant“, Angel Fulgencio said one syllable just wasn’t enough. 8 Oct. 2015.

Presley told me to not ignore her when she’s talking. “Then stop talking to me when I’m not looking at you,” I said, and Kaylie Clark said she quoted me saying that. 8 Oct. 2015.

I AM a crowd,” said Presley, after I’d said something about getting suggestions from “the crowd.” 20 Oct. 2015.

Presley came into my 10th hour class late today. I asked if she had a pass, or if she were tardy. “No, it’s a long story,” she said. “So you’re tardy?” I said. “Yeah,” she said. 21 Oct. 2015.

Later, before we read our poems, Presley said, “I need to reprint my thingies real quick.” When I started writing down this quote, she told me, “I’ll let you know when it’s good,” when a quote of hers is good enough to write down. 21 Oct. 2015.

I wonder if animals have internal monologues,” Presley said randomly. 29 Oct. 2015.

I don’t remember that. Now I do, though,” Presley said about something I’d quoted her as saying 2 years earlier. She added, “Do you remember the baby me and Devyn stapled to your wall?” She was talking about a drawing of a baby — I hope. 5 Nov. 2015.

Somebody give me a type of handgun,” Presley said as she was writing a story. Not in a classroom, I said. Presley then called me a weirdo, and I corrected with, “I’m MISTER Weirdo.” Then Presley said, “I’m Mister Belt.” 6 Nov. 2015.

Presley told Angel Fulgencio, “I feel like you’re an Angel of Darkness because you wear a lot of black.” 6 Nov. 2015.

You’re so happy — what happened?” Presley said as she looked at a picture of me from high school. 10 Nov. 2015.

After a group of students complained that our school’s library aide had teased them, Presley said, “She’s steady-roastin’ you guys.” 13 Nov. 2015.

As she worked on a creative writing project, Presley said she wanted to watch a movie about aliens. Some classmates suggested some movies such as “Alien,” but she said, “I want a real one, a documentary” about aliens. I said, “that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in two weeks.” 13 Nov. 2015.

This is due today,” said Presley Belt of some project we were doing in class. “-ish,” corrected Kaylie Clark, recalling my lenient late-work policy. 13 Nov. 2015.

Presly said she will be “a little bit less lot-behind” when she gets caught up on writing her journals for my creative writing class. 19 Nov. 2015.

“You have a gluten allergy. Just sayin,’” said student Presley to me, as she wrote a story in which I was a character. She had earlier asked if I had an allergy, and I had said, “like I’m tellin’ you.” 10 Dec. 2015.

I’m a human banana with an iron-deficiency,” siad Presley, of how she runs into stuff and bruises easily. 16 Dec. 2015.

Brandon Benge:

Brandon said of Julian Hernandez, “He has moments of brilliance, and moments of ‘you are dumb.’” 5 Feb. 2015.

Blaine “Blayne” Bolin:

Do it on me. It doesn’t work ‘cuz I’m double-jointed,” Blaine said to Damon McKenzie after she had done something to his hand. 22 April 2015.

I don’t know which one to call you, so I don’t talk to you,” said Blaine to Emir aka Eddie, after asking which name he preferred. 20 March 2015.

I like your shoes but I hate you,” Blaine said to Alex Patterson. Later Blaine added, “I don’t hate him, but he is annoying.” 9 April 2015.

Blaine told me about her school lunch, that she had “... a steak quesadilla, which was OK-er [compared to some food that wasn’t OK].” When I started to write that comment down, she added, “Put my name. ‘Blayne,’ please put ‘Blane,’” said Blaine. 4 Feb. 2016.

“Everything I ate today I mooched,” said Blayne after lunch. 25 Feb. 2016.

Look at the weird squad,” Blaine said of some younger students, all in hoodies, looking out a a window. 8 April 2016.

When Tyler was out of the classroom, someone noticed that he’d left a cup on his desk. Students aren’t supposed to have cups in the classroom. A student said someone should spit in Tyler’s cup. Blayne looked at me and said, “Look! He’s gathering his spit in his mouth!” I wasn’t, actually. Then Blayne said, “Is it a group spit?” Then, maybe when Tyler came back, Blayne added, “It was. It’ coulda been.” 20 April 2016.

After class, Blayne asked to stay in my classroom instead of going to her study hall. “Can I just stay in here ‘cuz I’m funny?” she asked. 20 April 2016.

After Tyler Jennings announced he was willing to strip his way through college because “I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” Blaine said. “Your personality.”  21 April 2016.

Blaine said Mallory Mershon had said she was cold. Mallory said, “oh, you heard me?” “I’m not sure no one didn’t hear you,” Blaine said about Mallory’s loud voice. 21 April 2016.

It dropped me from an ‘F’ to an ‘F’,” Blaine said about some project she didn’t do. 11 May 2016.

It smells like bacon,” said Blaine. “‘It smells like bacon,’ said Blaine,” as she was wearing a K.E.C. Police Academy shirt, I pointed out. 12 May 2016.

Myah Braden:

KA-ra, DO your JOURNal,” said Myah, sing-songy, as if she were the teacher. She and other students started using this voice as if repeating my tired-of-having-to-say-this voice. 20 March 2014.

Nobody cares,” said Myah. “Myah, shut up,” said Kara Thomas (see below). 20 March 2014.

She said she didn’t care but it kinda looked like she cared” because as “she was calling me out, she had tears in her eyes,” Myah said. I’m not sure to whom Myah was referring. 10 May 2016.

Cheyann Brewer:

Some of these quotes would be famous someday … but we’re in Rochelle so it might not happen,” Cheyann said of the students’ statements I write down. 22 April 2016.

Ethan Brockwell:

As he and I walked down a school hallway after school, Ethan pretended to trip a girl whose age I didn’t know. Ethan said she was a senior. “That’s a SHORT senior,” I said. “You’re a tall OLD guy,” Ethan told me. 2 Nov. 2015.

Sharday Brown:

I’m never chugging 2 Monsters again,” said Sharday. 11 March 2015.

Mr. Hagemann, why do you look like that?” said Sharday. “I was born this way,” I said. 20 March 2015.

About Emir Fejoski’s clicking pen, Sharday said, “I want to shove it down his throat [here was a pause while others in class reacted negatively] in the nicest way possible.” 31 March 2015.

I’m not a ho. If I had time, I still wouldn’t be a ho,” Sharday explained. 13 April 2015.

You’re irrelevant. I an’t got your stank pencil,” Sharday told Alex Patterson, at least the first sentence. The second may have been said to someone else. 22 April 2015.

Sharday said if she would start to plan a murder, she’d “just give up because it’s too much work. I’m serious, honestly,” she said. 30 April 2015.

If you want a job, you’re gonna be a nerd,” said Sharday to Rachel Larsen, who had said she had an job interview but didn’t want to tuck in her shirt because it made her look like a nerd. 8 May 2015.

Taylor Buckwalter:

Death is for the living,” said Taylor, because dead people don’t need words or ideas — dead people are already dead. 3 Sept. 2015.

Mister I-forgot-your-name,” Taylor said to me on entering classroom. 25 Sept. 2015.

Um, his name is Dally,” said Taylor, correcting Angel Fulgencio about a character in The Outsiders, which turned out to be one of Taylor’s favorite films. 15 Oct. 2015.

Taylor asked if the assignment she turned in the next day would be late. Well, yeah, I said, but I won’t take off points for that. On the other hand, I said, I COULD take off some points. “Let’s stay friends,” she said. 21 Oct. 2015.

“I like footnotes in comics,” I said as I read Taylor’s “Spedirman” (speh-DEER-man) cartoon. “I like footnotes in life,” Taylor said. 11 Nov. 2015.

After I asked Taylor why students don’t seem to like a certain teacher, Taylor explained that it’s because “she’s a crazy bee-otch.” 13 Nov. 2015.

Apparently I put severed heads in there. That’s what Doctor Perrin says,” said Taylor of her dufflebag as described by another English teacher. 17 Nov. 2015.

When Taylor turned 18 on Tuesday 24 Nov. 2015, she said. “I can smoke and date old people.”

“It looked exactly like you. It didn’t have a face,” Taylor told English teacher Mr. Perrin about a cartoon character used for reference in a 3-D drawing program. The character was dressed in khakis and a sweater as Perrin sometimes is. 30 Nov. 2015.

After junior Marco Penaran told Taylor, “You remind me of someone,” Taylor said, “I get that a lot from my mom.” 30 Nov. 2015.

After I told her that it’s good to have a hobby outside of one’s job, Taylor said, “Being bored IS my hobby.” 28 Jan. 2016.

Bob Saget!” said Taylor, as if it were a swear word. 26 Feb. 2016.

“I’m so excited to grow up, but I’m kinda scared at the same time. I can’t wait to get a bunch of cats,” said my senior student Taylor. When I teased her about wanting so many cats, she said, “it’s true, though.” 6 April 2016.

Taylor, who wants to become an English teacher, said she’d swear as she taught, saying such things as, “OK, fuckers, get out your shit.” 15 April 2016.

Alec Burgess:

Alec: “I don’t like football.” Shauna Childers: “But you play football.” Alec: “Sadly.” Shauna: Why? Alec: “My mom makes me.” 29 Aug. 2013.

Brandon Byrd:

Brandon told me that, in his own head, he sounds like “a white Barry White.” 15 March 2016.

Eder Castillo:

In the In-School Suspension room, where the punishment includes copying the student handbook by hand, Eder (ed-er) said, “I’m finding a lot of loopholes here” in the handbook, including this one: “It says ‘under the influence of drug paraphernalia.’ How would THAT work?” 22 April 2015

Eder Castillo explained the Beanie Baby Bungee activity in math class as “we’re basically lynching them.” Angel Fulgencio added, “It was by far the most fun I’ve ever had with a Beanie Baby. … I don’t understand the math [of the activity in Algebra 2 class], but, you know, Beanie Babies.” 26 Aug. 2015.

Listening to Pat Metheny’s “Bright Size Life” album during journal-writing time, Eder said he felt like he’s in a “FANCY elevator.” 25 Sept. 2015.

Play some contemporary jazz,” said Eder in the annoyed-teacher voice kids use to make fun of my annoyed-teacher voice. 29 Sept. 2015.

I teach him literacy the hard way,” Eder said of junior David Escutia on 3 Nov. 2015. Eder was possibly referring to his line to David as quoted here on 29 April: Eder told David to enter some words into Google Translate, and added, “With a period, you illiterate piece of crap.”

Many more quotes by Eder here.

Alexis Charbonneau:

I can still see you being an Elsa,” said Alexis Charbonneau to me. I’m not sure why. 6 Nov. 2015.

You blink ALL the time,” Alexis said to Maria Belmonte, I think. 10 Dec. 2015.

Shauna Childers:

In answer to my question of what’s real, Shauna said, “Everything, especially ghosts,” after she’d been arguing for ghosts the last two days. 17 Oct. 2013.

We’re, like, the same person,” said Shauna of herself and Kara N. “red hair” Thomas (see below), after Kara said she didn’t have to go to the bathroom and Shauna asked to go in her place. 19 Feb. 2014.

A student said they should do bonding activities this day. Because the class is already too social, I said they should do UN-bonding activities. Shauna said that’s “like trust falls but actually let them fall.” 19 March 2014.

I was just singing a song in my head … I guess I was singing it outside of my head. Same diff,” said Shauna. 19 March 2014.

It’s not like gushing, but there’s definitely blood on this tissue,” said Shauna after blowing her nose. 20 March 2014.

Are we your favorite class?” asked Shauna, whose talkative 10th hour class included Kara Thomas, Myah Braden, Hussein Abadallah, Julian Hernandez, Melvin Wilton, Alec Beach, and others. I said, “you’re something.” “Soooo … we are?” Shauna said. 30 April 2014.

How ’bout chew bite me?” Shauna said to Hussein. 2 May 2014.

Shauna said someone was a “thot,” pronounced “thought,” which I had just learned means “that ho over there.” 17 Oct. 2014.

In parking lot after school, Shauna said, “Mr. Hagemann, he called me a bad word.” I said, “which one?” She said, “Zack.” “‘Zack’ isn’t a bad word,” I said. 29 Jan. 2015.

Got any more of me in there?” said Shauna, about her quotes I’d used in a list of topics for journaling. 3 Sept. 2015.

After Shauna said the McDonald’s where she works is haunted, Kaylie Clark said, “Why would a ghost chill at McDonald’s?” “Why would ANYBODY chill at McDonald’s?” Shauna said. 22 Sept. 2015.

One time, my sister took apart a couch to look for a Nutter Butter,” said Shauna Childers. I thought you said “belly button,” someone else said. 22 Sept. 2015.

After Presley Belt asked why “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “Fog” were considered poems, Shauna answered her, “Your MOM’s a poem.” I said that “your mom’s a poem” would be a funny journal topic. Then junior Alec Tilton quipped, “Easiest journal ever.” 22 Sept. 2015.

You gotta break it down Barney-style for some people,” Shauna said about explaining things this way for simpletons. 22 Sept. 2015.

After telling the class that Ethan Brockwell had said women should wear two-armed togas (on Homecoming Week’s Toga Day) so their boobs don’t fall out, Shawna said, “I’d rather have my front-boob hang out than my side-boob.” “WHY?” said Kaylie Clark. 2 Oct. 2015.

Mr. Hagemann, what are the odds that you’ll let us go home right now, one thru one,” said Shauna, and she then explained the odds game, that if she could guess the same number in the range of numbers she just gave me, I’d have to let her go home. 2 Oct. 2015.

I think you’re prejudiced against people whose dad’s name is Matt,” said Shauna, whose dad Matt, and Presley’s stepdad Matt, were both classmates of mine in high school. 8 Oct. 2015.

After Angel Fulgencio had said it’s his brother’s birthday, Shauna said, Say, ‘the creepy girl in my 10th hour class said Happy Birthday’,” 6 Nov. 2015.

Wesley, what are you looking up, a prom dress?” said Shauna to Wes Sanderson. I pointed out that Shauna just asked Wes if he was looking up a prom dress. I’m not wearing a prom dress,” said Wes. “Why was there one on the screen?” said Shauna about the computer screen behind Wes. 6 Nov. 2015.

After mocking her Dad’s high school senior photo and making him mad, Shauna said she bought him ice cream. “Did that make everything better?” I asked. “I think it did,” she said. 11 Nov. 2015.

As she began to write a story in creative writing class, Shauna said, “What’s a girl’s name?” Then she asked to go to the bathroom. To look up names? I asked. “I”ll just go see who’s being wrote [sic] about in the stalls,” she said. 11 Nov. 2015.

What’s that word I want to think of?” asked Shauna. I said I’m writing that statement down. She said, “I don’t want you to write that down; I want you to write down that word I want to think of.” 18 Dec. 2015.

Also see Alec Burgess above.

Kaylie Clark

I forgot a poem!” Kaylie said, so excitedly. Then as I started to write her statement in my notes, she said, “Is that goin’ down in your little —” I said, maybe. She said, “yeah!” 14 Sept. 2015.

Can I get a drink real quick? I just threw up in my mouth,” asked Kaylie. 2 Oct. 2015.

Sit down, I’m trying to count you,” Kaylie said to a classmate as she was handing out Sponge Bob Squarepants stickers. 30 Oct. 2015.

She could smell her own eyes burning,” said Kaylie, but what the rest of the story was, I didn’t record. Still, what a weird, wonderful statement. 3 Nov. 2015.

After Marissa Gonzalez told Kaylie about someone else, “You’re really close for not really being cousins,” Kaylie Clark said, “She’s my grandma … because I MAKE her my grandma.” 3 Nov. 2015.

In my classroom one afternoon, Kaylie said she had captured some smelly bugs in a tissue. She asked to go flush these bugs down the toilet. Just put them in the garbage can, I said. “If they come out and make babies, it’s not my fault,” she said. Then when I wrote down this quote, she said, “I’m always so flattered” when I quote her. 5 Nov. 2015.

You don’t have a butt seat — butt chair — butt holder,” Kaylie told Angel Fulgencio. 5 Nov. 2015.

As my creative writing students worked on their comic strips/graphic stories, Kaylie asked, “how do I draw zombie toast?” Use “googly eyes,”answered classmate Presley Belt. Classmate Brandon Byrd said, “What does zombie toast eat?” Classmate Sabrina Risley. said, “nothing. Butter.” Kalyie said, “I already drew him with jelly.” 11 Nov. 2015.

This is due today,” said Presley Belt of some project we were doing in class. “-ish,” corrected Kaylie Clark, recalling my lenient late-work policy. 13 Nov. 2015.

“I DID turn them in! (pause) Wait, which ones?” said student Kaylie about some missing assignments she saw on a grade report. 10 Dec. 2015.

“Someday, I want to be on that green paper,” said student Kenya Smith, referring to the color of the paper on which I was recording notes and quotes that day.“You can’t just say that you want to be on the green paper and get on the green paper,”  said student Kaylie, who has herself been quoted before, and whom I thanked for defending the integrity of the green note paper. Student Angel added, “I think my greatest achievement is getting on the green paper. [It’s] the greatest honor I can achieve.” “I’m sorry,” I said. 1 Dec. 2015.

Mine’s ‘Dammit’!” Kaylie said of the title of her creative writing portfolio. Dustin Kanas told Kaylie she’d taken the best title. “Me? ‘Dammit’?” she asked. One seldom hears “dammit?” as a question, I noted. 18 Dec. 2015.

Kyle Clark:

In my “Rhetoric & Composition” class, where we’re writing philosophical arguments, a Kyle stayed after class to argue about whether time is real: “Without time, how do we explain what I’m doing NOW as opposed to what I’m doing NOW.” Spring 2015.

Peyton Clark:

Let’s get people and let’s go to IHOP,” Peyton said to Myah Braden after lunch. 15 Jan. 2016.

I have it on the bag, but whatever,” Peyton said as she related a story of some customer complaining she got the wrong food at a restaurant where Peyton worked, I think. 22 April 2016.

Peyton told Myah Braden that, after school, Peyton’s going to buy “flowers that I don’t need. … So I’m gonna do that so I’ll be happy. Not that I’m not happy,”Peyton said. She added that she has a cactus “named Fred … he just looks like a Fred,” she said. 28 April 2016.

Ian Curtis:

During a quiz bowl match between students from my school and a nearby school, I read a question that was asking for the name of the Pac-12 university whose mascot is the Bruins. After none of the ten competitors buzzed in, I said, “c’mon, nerds,” because I thought this was fairly common knowledge (that it was the UCLA Bruins), but no one got it right. Later, as we were leaving, I said, “see ya, nerds,” to some of the kids from my school, and one of them, Ian, answered,“see ya, nerd-king.” That was a good comeback. 9 Nov. 2015.

During a discussion with Lexy Lemar, Ian said, “I love you, but …” I said I’m not sure you can use “but” after “I love you.” 29 Jan. 2016.

Micah Davidson

Talking about a new seating chart for class, Micah said, “I’m between Mario and Hussein. That sounds like a good time.” 1 Sept. 2015.

Everything’s pretty much true in there, except for the monkey,” said Micah to me about her fiction story that included a monkey passed out from drinking Jack in her grandma’s bedroom closet.  17 Sept. 2015.

If Y equals negative X — thank you,” Micah said as I handed her a paper as she was doing math while she was supposed to be doing English. I think the “thank you” was actually Micah interrupting herself. 19 Oct. 2015.

So am I part Canadian?” Micah asked after she’d said she had an English ancestor who’d moved to Canada. 3 Nov. 2015.

As another class worked on their comic strips, Micah asked, “Do zoos have moose?” “‘Do zoos have moose,’ said Doctor Suess,” I added. Later, Micah said, “Gooses are called ‘geese.’” Student Gabby Villalobos said, “Why can’t ‘moose’ be ‘meese’?” Hussein Abdallah answered, “Because they’re all whores.” 13 Nov. 2015.

Mario Montalvo, Tyler Ryan, and Hussein Abdallah all ask to go potty at the beginning of class everyday. “Do you guys not know how to use your bladders?” asked Micah. “My bladder’s like an old man’s bladder,” said Mario. I told Mario he could go to the bathroom if I could put this quote on my blog. 17 Nov. 2015.

“I always look up stuff on Google — worst idea ever,” said Micah, about seeing photos of terrible diseases, etc. 4 Dec. 2015.

I wanna graduate early, but then again, I don’t,” said Micah. “That’s true,” said Presley Belt. 10 Dec. 2015.

I literally want to scream right now,” Micah said, perhaps out of frustration with a creative project. I didn’t want to add to her frustration, but I don’t think anyone can do what she said, because I don’t know what “literally want” means. 14 Dec. 2015.

That’s not going to fit,” Micah said. After a perfectly timed pause, Hussein Abdallah quipped, “That’s what she said.” I laughed. 17 Dec. 2015.

James Davis:

I would never buy your album OR your mixtape,” he said to Shauna Childers, who didn’t know what mixtapes were. 12 Sept. 2013

I’d rather one of us die than both of us,” said James as he described a dream where he ran away from his classmate Mallory Mershon getting partially eaten by a monster. Of hearing about her abandonment in James’s dream, Mallory accused James of not caring. “Mallory, I DID care — I went back to bury you. I was CRYING. It was SAD,” James said. 21 March 2014.

It’s called a phone bill,” said James, after Mallory Mershon had asked if I have to pay for my phone. 16 April 2014.

I got pretty feet. … My feet smell like roses, and that’s on a bad day,” said football player James. “So what’s on a good day?” asked Mallory Mershon. “You don’t even want to know,” James said. 14 May 2014.

Don’t talk to me for 10 seconds, OK?” James said to Alec Burgess about some “beef” over a pencil. 16 May 2014.

Delaney Freeman:

Megan, die it back,” Delaney said, or maybe she said “dye,” as in Megan dyeing her hair back to brown, the color of her eyebrows. 31 Oct. 2013.

I sound like a man because I’m sick. … And I almost died this morning because I was coughing and I stopped breathing,” she said, 31 Oct. 2013.

Can I go get my unnatural science book?” Delaney asked after she had asked to leave study hall to go get her Natural Science class textbook, and I said she could only if she called it “UNnatural science.” 19 Nov. 2013

Can I get a drink,” Delaney asked me. “No,” Megan Renick answered. “Megan!” said an annoyed Delaney, who then said she’d beat up Megan. 4 Dec. 2013.

Angel Fulgencio:

He spoke to himself? Maybe he has 2 people inside him,” said Angel in a hypothesis of why substitute teacher Mr. Youngs name is plural. 5 Dec. 2014.

Angel said that another member of the study hall, Gerardo Garcia, might be an android. “I’m not an android,” G.G. said. “Are you positive?” asked Angel. “Yeah,” said G.G. 5 Dec. 2014.

It was by far the most fun I’ve ever had with a Beanie Baby. … I don’t understand the math [of the Beanie Baby activity in Algebra 2 class], but, you know, Beanie Babies,” Angel said. Eder Castillo explained the Beanie Baby Bungee activity as “we’re basically lynching them.” 26 Aug. 2015.

Dead people, man — they are on some OTHER stuff,” Angel said. 3 Sept. 2015.

My phone is known as my mind,” said Angel, since he didn’t have his own phone, he explained. 23 Sept. 2015.

I don’t like songs that are too happy — [they] make me want to punch ’em,” said Angel, adding, “There should be a law about how happy you can be.” 29 Sept. 2015.

Why is he a hero? All he did was skip school for one day. Some hero … and he still went back!” Angel said of Ferris Bueller. 8 Oct. 2015.

It can’t be racist. It’s not a race,” said Angel, after Shauna said it was “racist” that she got charged more (for some service, I think) because she had long hair. “It was a joke, though,” Presley Belt said. “I don’t think it was,” I said. 14 Oct. 2015.

The moment I see clippers, I’m running,” Angel said about a friend’s threat to cut his hair. 15 Oct. 2015.

I’m too much of a marshmallow to start anything,” Angel said about fighting. 22 Oct. 2015.

Just bein’ my usual Angel self,” answered Angel after I’d asked him how he was doing. 29 Oct. 2015.

Let’s make hell the best place in the universe,” said Angel in the middle of creative writing class. Then he said, soon after, why would I want to the make hell the best place of the universe? Presley told Angel, “I feel like you’re an Angel of Darkness because you wear a lot of black.” 6 Nov. 2015.

Mr. Hagemann, do you have a tiger?” asked Angel. “You seem like the kind of guy who’d have a tiger. A big cat. A panther. Or maybe a jaguar, depending on where you live. Mr. Hagemann, you seem like the kinds of dude who’d have a monkey … name it Marquis or something French,” said Angel. “Or just the generic Francois.” I was able to capture this whole quote because I was typing a freewrite (alongside students) as Angel said it. 6 Nov. 2015.

It looked really fake, but at the same time — aliens!” Angel said of the rumored alien/missile shot near Los Angeles the previous weekend. 9 Nov. 2015.

Angel said to Justin Thompson, apropos of nothing, “Hey, Justin, from your leg to your waist, you look like a different person … you match, but in that mismatch kind of way.” Later, Angel said, “Sometimes you just need a new pair of legs.” 17 Nov. 2015.

Angel asked me, do you have colors? “I gotta sack full of red right here,” I said. “I don’t know how to respond to that, so I’m just gonna not,” Angel said. 19 Nov. 2015.

Listen, man, I’m a pretty lazy person,” Angel said. 30 Nov. 2015.

Once in a blue moon do I leave my room — that rhymed and not on purpose,” Angel said. 1 Dec. 2015.

I passed by Mr. Perrin’s room and I heard ‘coordinating conjunctions,'” Angel said. That sounds like what you’d hear outside an English teacher’s room, I said. 2 Dec. 2015.

“Someday, I want to be on that green paper,” said student Kenya Smith, referring to the color of the paper on which I was recording notes and quotes that day.“You can’t just say that you want to be on the green paper and get on the green paper,”  said student Kaylie Clark, who has herself been quoted before, and whom I thanked for defending the integrity of the green note paper. Student A.F. added, “I think my greatest achievement is getting on the green paper. [It’s] the greatest honor I can achieve.” “I’m sorry,” I said. 1 Dec. 2015.

“I think they went to another dimension … so don’t quote me,” said student A.F. of the whereabouts of two of his classmates. 1 Dec. 2015.

“I think it should go down in history that I’m better at doing this than I am at doing math,” said student A.F. as he tossed and caught a spool of thread. This was before he dropped the spool. 16 Dec. 2015.

Did you ever notice how serene it is inside a locker?” Angel said. 25 Jan. 2016.

Don’t believe that guy — he doesn’t have any parents,” Angel said of another boy in my classroom. 18 Feb. 2016.

“If I’m a figment of your imagination, then you’ve got some messed up imaginations,” said Angel after we said we might be imagining him. 31 March 2016.

“If I turned you into a robot, would you tell me” that you’re a robot, asked student A.F. of me. 6 April 2016.

Angel said that, in the speech he was about to deliver in his speech class, he’d “talk awkwardly [to a roomful of white kids] about racism and sit down.” 8 April 2016.

“Shouting random things at people is my forte,” said Angel. 20 April 2016.

If something rhymes, do you believe it more than something that doesn’t rhyme?” Angel asked. 19 May 2016.

I don’t believe in things that don’t make sense,” Angel said. Yes, you do, I said, as you say nonsense all the time. “I’m a walking contradiction,” he explained. 19 May 2016.

On the last, or nearly last, day of school, Angel said, “I’m leaving! I’m burning ALL these bridges.” And he’s talking to teachers, “giving everyone the business,” he said. 19 May 2016.

Gerardo Garcia:

Angel Fulgencio said that another member of the study hall, Gerardo Garcia, might be an android. “I’m not an android,” G.G. said. “Are you positive?” asked Angel. “Yeah,” said G.G. 5 Dec. 2014.

Marissa Gonzalez:

Why are you so funny,” said Marissa to Joshua Gallinar, about the comic 6-word stories he’d written. 28 Oct. 2015.

You’re really close for not really being cousins,” MarGonz said to Kaylie Clark about someone. “She’s my grandma … because I MAKE her my grandma,” Kaylie said. 3 Nov. 2015.

Sebastian Gould:

Why don’t you remember?” said Tyler Ryan to Sebastian about a truancy officer they heard speaking freshman year. “I try not to pay attention,” Sebastian said. 29 Oct. 2015.

I don’t like drive-thrus,” Sebastian said, butting into a conversation between Demi Smith and Micah Davidson talking about working drive-thru jobs. 3 Nov. 2015.

People are weird,” Sebastian said as a girl’s voice cackled in the hallway. “People ARE weird,” Jake Meyers confirmed. 12 Nov. 2016.

When I said that students should work today on typing the fiction assignment given yesterday, Gabby Villalobos said, “My brain doesn’t work that way.” Sebastian Gould added, “My brain doesn’t work at all.” Sebastian’s self-diagnosis came to mind when, a few minutes after this, he said about the difficulties of Syrian politics, “Just nuke the world.” 17 Nov. 2015.

Wait, you’re not kidding?” said Megan Renick after Sebastian Gould told the class, appropos of nothing, that he has to pay child support for a seven-month-old whose mother he can’t identify (to us?). Sebastian assured us he wasn’t kidding. 19 Nov. 2015.

Michaela Hacaga:

We need cheer elves to clean our mats,” said Michaela, about how she’d gotten ringworm from the mats. 13 Jan. 2016.

You’re ugly, too. We look just like each other,” said Michaela to her younger sister, Teddi, after Teddi had apparently said the older was ugly. When I told their mother this conversation, she said they don’t look alike at all, and I guess she’d know, but there’s some resemblance. 9 Feb. 2016.

Mr. Hagemann, you want to regrade my whatever?” Michaela said, handing me a notebook of her journals. 22 Feb. 2016.

See also a quote of Michaela’s with one of Mallory Mershon’s.

Brian Heinrich:

After he asked me if I’d want a pet tiger, Tyler said, “I’d wrestle a tiger. … Once he gets big, I’d just beat” the tiger. After someone brought up the possibility of being killed by a tiger, Tyler said, “What a way to die, though.” “Yeah, horribly,” Brian Heinrich added. 20 April. 2016.

Send him to the office for not having a soul,” Brian said of Tyler Jennings. This was after I said that if Tyler really doesn’t care what people say about him, as he claimed, he might be a sociopath. 22 April 2016.

Is this fire real — REALLY real?” Brian said about a pretend campfire when he was in character as me, Mr. Hagemann, pointing out my philosophical proclivity, in a comic skit at our school’s year-end assembly. 13 May 2016.

Julian Hernandez:

After I joked that I’d be the meanest teacher he’d ever have, Julian said, no, Mrs. Kasmar was. “She gave me a detention for sneezing.” Another student verified this. I said, were you especially loud or something? He said no. 15 August 2013.

Melvin, what the hell are you doing,” said Julian to Melvin Wilton (see below). “Why do you have the need to say that” so often, said Kara Thomas. I agreed with Kara that Julian does seem to say that every day. 20 March 2014.

Aitch–Ee–El–El, yeah,” said Julian, after he’d said “aitch-ee-double hockey sticks,” and I’d told him that that’s not how you spell “Hell” and that he needed to be accurate in his swear-spelling during English class. 22 April 2016.

Mister Campbell lets me say stuff,” Julian said after I told him to stop swearing in class. 22 April 2016.

Holy — I’m done! It’s like the first assignment in two weeks” that he’s finished, Julian said. 28 April 2016.

Mad that he was criticized by his track coaches for the length of his hair, Julian said, “I’m gonna get everybody fired,” referring to the coaches. Then he said he was going to run slow on purpose at that night’s track meet. “Screw the team!” Julian said, adding, “My hair doesn’t even shake anymore!” 29 April 2016.

Many more quotes by Julian here.

Tyler Jennings:

My voice is beautiful,” said Tyler. “It’s weird as hell,” answered student Blayne Bolin. 3 Feb. 2016.

Tyler, stop threatening to cut people open and sew them closed again,” I said, then made a demonstration of writing down that I was annoyed that I’d had to say this correction. 10 March 2016.

Go ahead — I say that stuff TO her,” Tyler said to some other boys in the parking lot after school, as if they’d threatened to tell her rude things Tyler had said about her. 10 March 2016.

Lick my butt!” Tyler shouted at another student across the room during Creative Writing class. He may have been responding to something Cheyann Brewer said, but I didn’t hear her say anything this offensive. I sent Tyler out of class for this. 11 March 2016.

Mr. Hagemann, you should grow a mullet,” said Tyler, apropos of nothing. Tyler also accused me of playing favorites. You say that like it’s a bad thing, I said. 18 March 2016.

After he asked me if I’d want a pet tiger, Tyler said, “I’d wrestle a tiger. … Once he gets big, I’d just beat” the tiger. After someone brought up the possibility of being killed by a tiger, Tyler said, “What a way to die, though.” “Yeah, horribly,” Brian Heinrich added. 20 April. 2016.

After Tyler Jennings announced he was willing to strip his way through college because “I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” Blaine Bolin said. “Your personality.”  21 April 2016.

I’m gonna kill people like you,” Tyler said to Julian Hernandez about Tyler going into the military. 6 May 2016.

Brendan Kalata:

To Brendan, I found myself saying, “Stop saying ‘rape me’ in class,” after someone had said “kiss me” and Brendan answered with “rape me.” 11 May 2016.

Katelyn Kalata:

I feel like a cat — I have a hair in my throat,” said a student as she entered my classroom. 21 April 2016.

Dustin Kanas:

“Why’d you cut it all squiggedy-squaggedy?” Dustin asked me about a zig-zag-edged handout. 24 Nov. 2015.

Rachel Larsen:

I don’t get it. I don’t wanna get it, either, so don’t explain it,” said Rachel in 9th hour class. This comment came after Bailey Wing said he liked the joke of the sign I’d posted in my classroom: KEEP OFF THE GRASS. 3 March 2015.

That looks like that hurts, don’t do that,” said Rachel to Sharday Brown about some arm movement, I think. 22 April 2015.

I hope you’re not writing what I’m saying,” said Rachel, at a time when I was writing down every goofy thing students in class were doing and saying when they were supposed to be working. 22 April 2015.

Peter Malaker:

The pear trees blossoming outside the school smell like “rotting dreams,” Peter said as he left school 20 April 2016.

Damon McKenzie:

You’re a genius? Say something to blow my mind,” Damon said to me. I told him a quote I’d written down earlier, in which some boy I didn’t know had said, “Shit, I don’t even know you,” in the parking lot. Damon and others laughed. Not sure if he’d agree, but I concluded his mind was blown and that I’m a genius.  23 or 24 Sept. 2014.

Mr. Hagemann, you always put some good ideas in my head, keep me going,” Damon said after I showed him my model for the poem assignment I’d just given his class. 20 March 2015.

I was trying to reenact a civil right … sit in on the bus,” Damon said, after he’d gotten up and then did a squat and then stood and sat. 22 April 2015.

Out an SUV’s window in the parking lot, Damon said, “Mr. Hagemann, you are the [pause] man.” Maybe the pause was unintentional, but, grammatically and rhythmically, “frickin” or something worse would’ve fit quite well. 24 Aug. 2015.

Mallory Mershon:

The word ‘effin’ is a lot of things” — it can be many different parts of speech, she said. 26 Aug. 2013.

I’m not really that dumb so shut the front door,” she said after people thought she had just repeated what another student had just said. 4 Nov. 2013.

Haters are my biggest fans, what can I say?” said Mallory. “That’s so 2010,” James Davis said. “You’re so 2010,” Mallory said. “YOUR FACE IS!” said James. “You’re really boiling my broccoli right now!” said Mallory. 19 Nov. 2013.

Mallory talked about a “love octagon” among the L.A. Clippers owner and his wife and their lovers. 30 April 2014.

Michaela, wanna get a drink with me?” Mallory asked. Michaela Hacaga answered affirmatively. Mallory later said she “like[s] talking to people” while she goes to the bathroom. Michaela added, “it’s weird to go to the bathroom alone.” 6 May 2014.

He gave us all Ds and I do stuff, and I’m mad,” said Mallory about her P.E. teacher. “It’s mostly girls. He hates the girls,” she said of her class. 8 May 2014.

I kinda wanna laugh now. Can you make me laugh?” asked Mallory of anyone else in her 1st hour class. 14 May 2014.

Just tryin’ to get my anger out,” said Mallory after throwing a pencil that hit Dustin Kanas (I think). 14 May.

And if I say one little word, she makes me run stairs for 10 years,” Mallory siad of her cheerleading coach. 14 May.

I don’t text anyone … I don’t text, like, people,” Mallory said, clarifying that she texts only her family. 16 May 2014.

Your handwriting’s really like CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK,” Mallory said to Kaylie of her flowy handwriting, where each “CLUCK” was a tongue-click. 12 May 2016.

Jake Meyers:

Jake said he knew a particular girl who said “stop” like the “STAAAHP” quotation I’d written as a journal topic. Male student Hussein Abdallah answered back, “How would you know how she says ‘Stop’?” After we laughed, Hussein said, “I didn’t mean it like that.” 21 October 2015.

Jake said to Megan Renick, whose chair had been making noise, “What is up, Squeaky Chair Girl?” Megan answered, “I know. It’s freakin like EHRRR.” 21 Oct. 2015.

You’re in a write-down mood today,” Jake told me. 21 Oct. 2015.

People are weird,” Sebastian Gould said as a girl’s voice cackled in the hallway. “People ARE weird,” Jake Meyers confirmed. 12 Nov. 2016.

Payton Mifflin:

Kay See You Eff,” Payton said, after Julian Hernandez had tried to say swears backwards but had failed. He’d said, “Kay You See Eff.” 22 April 2016.

Mario Montalvo:

Mario Montalvo, Tyler Ryan, and Hussein Abdallah all ask to go potty at the beginning of class everyday. “Do you guys not know how to use your bladders?” asked Micah. “My bladder’s like an old man’s bladder,” said Mario. I told Mario he could go to the bathroom if I could put this quote on my blog. 17 Nov. 2015.

Mario said that the Chet Baker “Round Midnight” song I played in class sounded like “howling.” If a wolf could howl like that, “I’d be pretty damned impressed,” I said. 17 Nov. 2015.

Alex Patterson:

He’s a weird kid,” said Alex of somebody else in class. “Said Alex Patterson,” I said. 12 Nov. 2013.

Alex asked Ms. M-C during the first few days back at school, at the beginning of Alex’s senior year: “Did you miss me?” “Not even a little,” M-C deadpanned. 19 Aug. 2015.

Hailee Paul:

That is really good popcorn. Where’d you get it,” Hailee asked some other kid. “Chicago. A 4-hour drive,” kid said. 15 May 2014.

My life is so hard because I keep finding Post-It notes,” said Hailee, quoting Maria Belmonte, who was looking for cash in her pockets. 10 Dec. 2015.

Alissa Polz:

An honors student said she was once sent out of class for being rude to her teacher. “Of course I get in trouble for complaining that my class isn’t hard enough,” Alissa said. Another honors student, Chris Thomas, commented, “that’s a nerd in-school suspension.” 14 April 2015.

Earlier, Alissa had said, “Yak, yak, yak: nerds like to yak,” before the introductions to a state-level WYSE engineering competition. 14 April 2015.

Before the first test, Alissa said, “So many nerds.” 14 April 2015.

Also at that competition, Alissa said she’d have to pee like a racehorse from having drunk lots of coffee. I said, why not pee like a turtle? She said she once saw a turtle pee at the bathrooms at a camp facility, where the bathrooms were called the KYBO (long vowels), which stood for “Keep Your Bowels Open.” So we made up a new simile: “to have to pee like a turtle at the KYBO.” 14 April 2015.

Like an everlasting Gobstopper except I’m on a roll,” Alissa said of her caffeinated chattiness. 14 April 2015.

Weirdest trip to the bathroom! So, first of all,” Alissa started, continuing that a sign symbol pointed to the bathroom, the stall door didn’t lock, and then that “the soap is, like, super shiny and slippery — it’s like extra-basic [pH scale] soap” that looks like “a pearl in LIQUID form.” Chris Thomas laughed and said, “If I had a notebook, I would definitely write that down.” Alissa then said, “I have a notebook — it’s cute. Is this cute? I think this is cute,” she said of Vera Bradley-quilt-looking book in her Vera Bradley bag. 14 April 2015.

After another bathroom trip, Alissa came back and said, “so earlier, I dropped a quarter in the bathroom and I didn’t pick it up and it’s gone. I wouldn’t pick it up.

Your internal body-ness is what is important,” said Alissa, making a point that hands and feet don’t temperature-regulate well because they matter less. 14 April 2015.

It takes what falls out of your mouth and leaves money,” Alissa said as clues to get me to guess “Tooth Fairy.” 14 April 2015.

[I’m] 17 — I don’t have the energy of a frickin’ 9-year-old,” said Alissa, leaving an English classroom after school. 8 Sept. 2015.

Megan Renick

Where you gonna go, exactly, in this car with him? … Are you gonna go in the cornfield? You gonna go ‘parkin’?” said Megan, discussing a freshman girl’s dating plans with her senior boyfriend. 25 Oct. 2013.

Dude, she’s the biggest garden hoe!” said Megan about some ‘ho. 21 Nov. 2013.

To me, you look like you eat oatmeal,” Megan said to me in a discussion of breakfast foods during study hall. 4 Dec. 2013.

You’ve eaten that at my house, and you LIKED IT!” Megan said about bacon cheeseburger pizza to Presley. 12 Dec. 2013.

Holy nice outside,” said Megan on leaving the high school building on 14 Sept. 2015.

I chew gum like it’s crack,” Megan announced to class. “Who chews crack?” Eder asked. “I do,” Megan said. 29 Sept. 2015.

Jake Meyers said to Megan, whose chair had been making noise, “What is up, Squeaky Chair Girl?” Megan answered, “I know. It’s freakin’ like EHRRR.” 21 Oct. 2015.

Layla doesn’t let you sleep,” Megan said about her teacher Ms. Wheeler’s class. 23 Oct. 2015.

My MOM even called me Meggo [rhymes with “Eggo”],” Megan said about a nickname given her by a Brazilian exchange student the year before. She said some people call her “Megatron” but “I’m not an evil robot,” she objected. Of course, that’s exactly what an evil robot would say, I pointed out. 29 Oct. 2015.

[Did] Ty Ry die?” Meggo asked Hussein A. about Tyler Ryan’s absence from class. 4 Nov. 2015.

Layla counts me tardy if I have to pee,” Megan said of another teacher. 13 Nov. 2015.

“You guys are a bunch of Richards,” said Megan to some of her classmates after they made rude comments. “I make myself laugh,” she said. 13 Nov. 2015.

Wait, you’re not kidding?” said Megan Renick after Sebastian Gould told the class, appropos of nothing, that he has to pay child support for a seven-month-old whose mother he can’t identify (to us?). Sebastian assured us he wasn’t kidding. 19 Nov. 2015.

“No. You think I’M pretty, not her,” said Megan about social media usage by any of her potential significant others. 3 Dec. 2015.

There was legit a frozen cat,” said Meggo, who also performed a frozen-cat face. This was something she and her dad had seen sometime. 4 Dec. 2915.

Sabrina Risley:

You gotta even ’em out so it’s faster for me,” Sabrina said of papers she was stapling, with Shauna Childers. 10 Dec. 2015.

Tyler Ryan:

Why don’t you remember?” said Tyler to Sebastian Gould about a truancy officer they heard speaking freshman year. “I try not to pay attention,” Sebastian said. 29 Oct. 2015.

How does this thing work?” asked Tyler of a long-necked stapler. “Just push it down,” Hussein Abdallah said, demonstrating. 16 Dec. 2015.

Hussein, are you good at tiny, small objects?” asked Tyler as he tried to tie string in the punched holes of his portfolio. “No, just big stuff,” Hussein answered. Then Tyler said, “This might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” 16 Dec. 2015.

Adam Saleh:

“Is he really tall and white?” asked Adam, trying to guess what kid had given me an unwelcome back rub during class after I’d related the story. 30 Oct. 2015.

Wes Sanderson:

Wesley, what are you looking up, a prom dress?” said Shauna Childers to Wes. I pointed out that Shauna just asked Wes if he was looking up a prom dress. I’m not wearing a prom dress,” said Wes. “Why was there one on the screen?” said Shauna about the computer screen behind Wes. 6 Nov. 2015.

Since I’m a guy, I work in the back,” said Wes Sanderson, of working at Target. 6 Nov. 2015.

I hope you mailed the GOOD letter,” English teacher Mr. Welle said to Wes in the hallway. “I did,” Wes told him. When I asked Wes later what letter that was, he said it was a letter of recommendation — the “good” one had some extra spaces between words removed. I’d thought Mr. Welle had given Wes a good letter of rec. and a bad one as well. 9 Nov. 2015.

Megan Schramm

My ex-boyfriend doesn’t exist,” said student Megan, who was then told that she’s used that joke before. “Do I really say that all the time?” asked Megan. 2 Feb. 2016.

Jasmine Schwanert:

I don’t care about your bowel movements,” Jasmine said to Rachel Larsen, who answered, “I’m pretty sure you care.” 8 May 2015.

Bailey Seldal:

After finding out that most of the grade in his writing class would be based on writing assignments rather than tests, Bailey said, “So that means I have to do homework?” 30 Sept. 2015.

Demi Smith:

A mole has an ass,” she said, explaining to Micah the joke I’d just told about how my grandfather had once said “we’d have put more molasses in the molasses cake but we couldn’t catch more moles.” 3 Nov. 2015.

I’m DEM-eye,” said DEM-ee Smith. 17 Feb. 2016.

Kenya Smith

“Someday, I want to be on that green paper,” said Kenya, referring to the color of the paper on which I was recording notes and quotes that day.“You can’t just say that you want to be on the green paper and get on the green paper,”  said student Kaylie Clark, who has herself been quoted before, and whom I thanked for defending the integrity of the green note paper. Student Angel Fulgencio added, “I think my greatest achievement is getting on the green paper. [It’s] the greatest honor I can achieve.” “I’m sorry,” I said. 1 Dec. 2015.

Chris Thomas:

An honors student said she was once sent out of class for being rude to her teacher. “Of course I get in trouble for complaining that my class isn’t hard enough,” Alissa Polz said. Another honors student, Chris Thomas, commented, “that’s a nerd in-school suspension.” 14 April 2015.

After we saw another high school’s WYSE team competitor who seemed to have thinning hair, Chris said, “Impressive. You rarely see high schoolers with bald spots these days.” 14 April 2015.

Hobos do this in the garbage,” Chris gave as a clue to get me to guess “Dumpster diving.” 14 April 2015.

After a meeting for an academic competition, Chris asked student Ian Curtis if he were going to “get swole,” meaning to get “swollen,” more muscular. 6 Nov. 2015.

Kara N. “red hair” Thomas:

Note: This name above is how Kara’s name was listed in our school’s attendance software, presumably to distinguish her from Kara C. “long blonde curly hair” Thomas.

See also Shauna Childers above for a quote involving Kara.

Mine’s different because there are 2 of me,” she said of her network login not following the pattern of others kids’ because of the two Karas Thomas. 28 Feb. 2014.

I don’t know if I should show you this, but look … all the journals I have to do,” Kara told me. 11 March 2014.

Why are you so weird,” said Kara. “‘Why are you so weird,’ said Kara Thomas,” I said. Are you saying I’m weird, she said. 19 March 2014.

Hussein Abdallah said Kara was talking too much. “I like to talk. You don’t have to listen to it,” Kara said. Hussein, or another boy, responded with “Put a sock in it.” “Are you a 50-year-old man?” asked Kara. “Oooo,” said three boys in harmony. “I would give you credit if it were a good burn,” Kara said. “You have 4 notes done out of 40,” Hussein or another boy said. “I have 6–uh,” said Kara. 19 March 2014.

Melvin, you don’t have a butt. You’re just legs,” said Kara to Melvin Wilton. “I’ve got one,” said Melvin, after slapping his own butt. “Melvin, twerk!” said Kara. 19 March 2014.

Kara asked to see my notes recording her quotes. I said no. “It’s MY words,” said Kara. Once I write them down, they become MY words, I said. “Uhn, I guess,” said Kara in a weirdly deep voice. 19 March 2014.

Why have you been SO ANNOYING today?” asked Kara. “‘Cuz we’re in a good mood,” said Alec Beach. 19 March 2014.

Nobody cares,” said Myah Braden (above). “Myah, shut up,” said Kara. 20 March 2014.

Melvin, what the hell are you doing,” said Julian Hernandez (see above) to Melvin Wilton (see below). “Why do you have the need to say that” so often, said Kara Thomas. I agreed with Kara that Julian does seem to say that every day. 20 March 2014.

Of an older student, Kara said, “She called us a mean name that starts with ‘C’ … then Myah and I flipped.” Another student told me the next day that Kara started conflict by criticizing a photo other girls were in. 20 March 2014.

If you’re gonna talk, don’t talk as if you have poop in your mouth,” Kara said to some boy in class. 31 March 2014.

Your sweatshirt is dirty,” Kara said to a boy. “You’re dirty,” said Shauna Childers to Kara. 2 April 2014.

After Hussein said, “Everybody stop talking,” Kara said, “That’s not funny anymore. It’s really not. It’s only funny when Melvin does it.” 2 April 2014.

Dude, my armpit itches really bad right now,” said Kara. This was the first statement she’d made after entering classroom. 4 April 2014.

Broc’s like a cat,” said Kara of classmate Broc Johnson. “Broc’s nothing like a cat,” answered someone, perhaps Hussein Abdallah. 4 April 2014.

Everybody else is a judgmental little butthole,” said Kara. 4 April 2014.

“... you’re a polar bear, buddy?” said Kara to someone. She calls many people, including me, her teacher, “buddy.” 4 April 2014.

Are you gonna get turnt up on the turnt-up scale?” said Kara to me, asking whether I’d get inebriated on the coming weekend. 4 April 2014.

Maybe Melvin LIKES having his hair like that,” Kara said after someone told Melvin to get a haircut. 16 April 2014.

My buttcheek was cramping. What day was that, Tuesday?” said Kara. Later, Melvin said, “Kara, stop saying ‘ass cheek’.” 25 April 2014.

They don’t know how to be funny without being mean,” said Kara of her classmates. 2 May 2014.

I’m gonna draw an Illuminati sign on your notebook, G.G. … Tell your mom it means Jesus,” Kara said to Gerardo Garcia. 7 May 2014.

Justin Thompson:

I guess horses need food to [pause] live,” said Justin Thompson. I heard this from across the classroom and I didn’t catch the context. 6 Nov. 2015.

Dylan Van Helden:

It only took 4 years, but” he finally understands the pattern of subjects and verbs in English sentences, Dylan told me at the end of writing class on 26 Feb. 2016.

I’m a special kind of figment,” Dylan said, after I told him he might just be a figment of my imagination. 14 March 2016.

GabBy Villalobos:

One day, after I’d told students about my dad’s car-accident death, perhaps in a matter-of-fact manner, Hussein Abdallah asked me if I’d shoot a guy for a million dollars. I said “no,” and then Gabby said, “Why not? You have no feelings about anything else.” Then she said, “Hussein made me say that!” and later she apologized and, when I mentioned her line again, she said, “I already feel bad about” saying it. 29 Sept. 2015.

Do you know how you talk sometimes?” Gabby asked me. I found out she was referring to my whiny, annoyed-teacher voice. She asked if I used that voice with my wife. I do not. 15 Oct. 2015.

These boys need a drug talk, Mr. Hagemann,” said Gabby as boys near her seat talked about drugs. “For or against?” I asked. 11 Nov. 2015.

“Gabby, stop figuring out what you meant after you said it,” I deadpanned, after Gabby laughed and said she didn’t figure out what she meant until after she’d said it. This after she’d said, or tried to say, something I didn’t catch. 13 Nov. 2015.

As another class worked on their comic strips, Micah asked, “Do zoos have moose?” “‘Do zoos have moose,’ said Doctor Suess,” I added. Later, Micah said, “Gooses are called ‘geese.’” Student Gabby Villalobos said, “Why can’t ‘moose’ be ‘meese’?” Hussein answered, “Because they’re all whores.” 13 Nov. 2015.

When I said that students should work today on typing the fiction assignment given yesterday, Gabby Villalobos said, “My brain doesn’t work that way.” Sebastian Gould added, “My brain doesn’t work at all.” Sebastian’s self-diagnosis came to mind when, a few minutes after this, he said about the difficulties of Syrian politics, “Just nuke the world.” 17 Nov. 2015.

“I regret talking to idiots the whole time I should’ve been writing,”said student Gabby. She said she broke her hand finishing up her writings. I said I should post this statement above my classroom whiteboard. 18 Dec. 2015.

You know how you keep a little what’s-it in your pocket?” Gabby asked me, about the folded paper on which I write quotes. 26 Jan. 2016.

Cole white:

I love their field, their turf,” Cole said of Dekalb High School’s football field. 9 May 2014.

Melvin Wilton:

No one leaves this room ’til TyRy gets his folder,” said Melvin, who likes to say teacher-things, about Tyler Ryan’s folder. 19 March 2014.

Everyone stop talking!” Melvin said in a buffoonish whisper-shouted voice. 20 March 2014.

Melvin called the hiding of his binder by his classmates “ultra-retarded” as he looked for it. 1 April 2014.

I’m not sure what prompted this next quote. Probably, I’d told Melvin to write some assignment of 600 or more words long. Melvin said, “the lowest I can go is 500 words. I won’t even make a profit on it.” Then Melvin said we should do a “Pawn Stars” show version of this class. 2 April 2014.

Of the school librarian, Melvin said, “She’ll remember me. She don’t like me.” He added that “she’s trying to creep like she’s on ‘Scooby Doo’ or something” to catch him using the library’s computers for other than doing school work, which he then admitted he did. 2 April 2014.

I can’t handle having to settle down,” Melvin said, probably after I, or a student, had asked him to do just that. 2 April 2014.

Sycamore never drops their balls,” Melvin said after another student and I were talking about whether the Sycamore school’s new WYSE team coach would drop the ball. 5 Nov. 2015.

Bailey Wing:

Would that be grammarly correct?” Bailey asked of a particular phrase. He did later correct himself with “grammatically.” 29 April 2015.

Like Spending Time in My Brain: Thursday 21 July 2016 journal text

At home, 7:54 a.m. — It’s humid as hell already . It’s forecasted to be 95° F with “hot steams” index of 109°.

I vetted the cat yesterday. He growled during his exam by a new (to the vet office) young woman vet. She gave Justice cat the ol’ up-the-butt thermometer with a drop of, I’m guessing, lube on the tip, which is a nice touch, somehow — a weird touch, too. Sure, it’s medically useful, but I’m not always sure I’ve seen vets do that.

At Oregon, Ill., McDonald’s, a little before 9 a.m. — A BNSF Railway Police dude is here, with sidearm and bulletproof vest, it seems. “So are you out of Chicago, then?” McKaren asks him. He agreed. I didn’t know railroads had their own police forces.

People can’t be on the right of way at all,” said RR cop. McKaren said something to the dude who’s with the cop about BNSF not maintaining fences and working on a track. “It’s just been nonstop out there, something all the time,” she said, and then the two guys wrap up conversation and leave McD’s.

Dog and I had a “standing salad” last night in our garden — we ate peas, carrots, green peppers, and the first two cherry tomatoes of the year. Dog doesn’t eat peppers or tomatoes.

He was brutally handsome; she was terminally pretty,” sings an Eagle over the restaurant radio system.

Get up, Katelyn, and walk,” said a mom to a young girl, and mom did an open-palms, arms-out-to-sides gesture of frustration.

The place where you live may not matter as long as you’re safe and can find work, etc. So national-pride feelings are mere ideas. The idea of where you live doesn’t matter. I used to have an idea that my everyday life would be better if I lived in a college town like Madison, Wis., instead of living in this rural Illinois county. But my life would probably be about the same: I’d probably be the same person, have about the same mental experience of being alive.

A dude in a Jeep in the drive-thru just now held his black box of Marlboros up to his mouth to pull out a cigarette with his lips. His left hand was on the wheel, his right holding the pack.

There’s the amble of Beardy “Jack” McTankTop, with a white tanktop now and his usual blue shorts. “I’m usually a regular here,” said Beardy to a young counter girl. He wasn’t here with the other regulars earlier this morning.

What a tragic thing for her to deal with all her life, you know,” concludes a McSally story about some girl getting shot in the street and some dude throwing himself on top of her to protect her.

If the lid would be off, it’d be down the front of me every time,” said McKaren to an old couple about Karen’s drink cup, I think.

On my dog-walk this morning, I remembered my old question about what was the first word ever spoken by humans. My thought this morning is that, whatever the word was, meaning must have preceded the first word, since humans, and even animals, can learn to read body language before they can read words.

A 5- or 6-year-old boy has jammed his chocolate-dipped cone dip-first into a soda cup McKaren had given the woman who was with the boy. Karen also advised getting a spoon.

It was hot at 4 o’clock this morning,” says McKaren to a customer dude. It’s the second time I’ve heard her say this. “It hits you right in the face — wham!” she said, after the dude said it’s muggy.

This reminds me how hot it was on the walk over to McDonald’s from the courthouse where my wife and I parked our car. It smelled and felt like a laundromat, the air coming out of a just-stopped dryer.

I’m afraid if I do, I might really, really like it … I can be very impulsive,” McKaren said, I think about riding a motorcycle. Of her daughter asking her if she wanted to ride, horse-owner Karen said, “If it’s too hot to ride horses, it’s too hot to ride motorcycles.

An older man three tables west of me has an oversize nose — he looks like cartoon Jimmy Durante in “Frosty the Snowman” Christmas special.

I’m not trying to appeal broadly. I’m writing who I am, what I naturally do, and I’m not trying to become a writer for others. Yes, I’ve said this statement many times lately but I’m still stating it, I think, because it still feels new and good and joyful. There’s the freedom of accepting myself, that I no longer have to try to fit myself and my writing into some existing cubbyhole (by which I mean a familiar form, genre, etc.). I feel I’ve put, in these recent posts, my mind, my existence, as priority over any particular words and ideas. I’m superior to, have priority over, what I say.

Making each day’s journal text from nothing, as it were. It’s cool that there are no topics beforehand, no deciding what to say before I write. Themes emerge as I read and edit. I’m not saying these recent journal-posts (such as this one) are great — they look a bit text-heavy, for one. But they aren’t organized by topic, and they aren’t merely journals in whole (they aren’t every single word) but they are ideas from the journals — so that reading them might be like spending time in my brain!