Tag Archives: quotes

‘Want a chipmunk, Christina?’: Recent notes from my pocket pages

“So I’m gonna die when they’re gone,” said a senior in my creative writing class, of her parents leaving for two weeks. 6 Feb. (Almost three weeks later, she remains alive.)

McView out McWindow, Oglesby, Ill. 14 Feb.

McView out McWindow, Oglesby, Ill. 14 Feb.

“Maybe when a tree falls, it might actually have some realism,” said a boy in my high school’s hallway to another boy, before 4th hour. He may have been talking about a video game, but one can only wonder. 6 Feb.

I called my dog Sam “Tsammi” several yesterday. My wife eventually got annoyed. 6 Feb.

Sycamore tree over Watterson Hall, Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

Sycamore tree over Watterson Hall, Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

“This pen writes horribly,” said a student as he put a pen on another student’s desk. “YOU write horribly,” she answered. “I know — the pen reflects that,” he said. 6 Feb.

“I just need a metal bucket and a trip to the hardware store,” said a student, about his homemade forge/metal work idea. After another student had teased him about something, he answered, “I’m sorry; I’m a Fahrenheit peasant.” 7 Feb.

A student asked me if I went to high school with his older sister. Finding out that she’s a few years younger than I am, I said she probably went to school with my brother Dan. The student said, “She is talking about your brother because she calls you ‘Dan.'” 7 Feb.

“I was spraying perfume up in my nose,” said a student after her chemistry classmate had spilled stinky butyric acid. The classmate said said that, after the spill, he had been “sniffing up all the barf, and it wasn’t that bad, really.” 7 Feb.

From Williams Hall, Illinois State University, 14 Feb.

From Williams Hall, Illinois State University, 14 Feb.

What each person in my life represents to me symbolically. Maybe my mom represents a certain quality, my dad another, and each of my friends mean something else. This isn’t to say that these people are only symbols to me — but that perhaps these symbolic meanings are part of my concept of each person. 8 Feb.

His “dad is hot, bald, and athletic,” said a student of his classmate’s father. 9 Feb.

“You can’t tell me my card isn’t nice,” said a student to me about a “thank you” card she’d written me, on behalf of the senior class, to ask me to help with supervision of the graduation ceremony. 9 Feb.

After I said that my dog and cat each have their own bedrooms in my house, my student said, “I would get rid of my brother in a heartbeat for my dog to have a room.” 9 Feb.

“Can a chicken and a duck have a baby?” asked a student, apropos of very little. Hearing “no” from a classmate, she argued, “But they’re like the same thing.” Another classmate commented that she “looked genuinely confused about that, too.” 9 Feb.

Gray in a hurry. Wall above urinal in men's bathroom, Coffee Hound, Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

Gray in a hurry. Wall above urinal in men’s bathroom, Coffee Hound, Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

Writing my journals, I confront myself — I challenge my own opinions. There’s the conflict in my journals. And it’s nice, too, in journal writing to not have to have my ideas in relation to others’ ideas. I don’t have to consider those until I start my workday. 9 Feb.

I heard someone in school hallway use the phrase “like a fish out of water.” That prompted thoughts of why we don’t describe a state of comfort as “like a fish in water.” 9 Feb.

Ideas of my ego-mind: that set of ideas I put on in social situations. Perhaps these are old, inflexible ideas, like an armor — because I don’t want to trot out new ideas and seem more socially awkward than I already am? 10 Feb.

Pole inside Coffee Hound, Normal, Ill., 14 Feb.

Pole inside Coffee Hound, Normal, Ill., 14 Feb.

“I just got so caught up in the bunnies. Want a chipmunk, Christina?” asked a student to her classmate after I offered students some stickers. 10 Feb.

“I can’t walk through the hall with all these cats on my binder,” said a student, of stickers a classmate had put there. 10 Feb.

“I have to go perform a piece about the Holocaust. I can’t have cat stickers on me,” said a theater student. 10 Feb.

Mural on west side of building on Beaufort St., Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

Mural on west side of building on Beaufort St., Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

“I need to eat and then go try not to kill myself,” said one dude to another outside the Watterson Dining Commons at Illinois State University. 14 Feb.

One creates stories from what we see, from what we experience, and even from a dream experience, as I did today. 16 Feb.

“I do all I do so I can get into the books,” a student said, of getting quoted in my pocket pages. 16 Feb.

“… I’ve got candy in mah truck, I’ve got soda pop in mah truck …” said a student to her classmate, during study hall. 16 Feb.

North part of west wall of building on Beaufort St., Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

North part of west wall of building on Beaufort St., Normal, Ill. 14 Feb.

Rhymes (and other rhetorical devices?) are used just to get readers’ attention? 16 Feb.

After I told a student that my cat’s name was Justice, she said, “That’s one of my favorite words! Not even joking, I was gonna get a tattoo that said ‘Justice.'” 17 Feb.

“All I’ve got in my wallet is three dollars and a Great Clips coupon. I’ve made it in life,” said a student. 17 Feb.

“I would only work at McDonald’s if I was homeless. So I’ll probably end up working at McDonald’s at some point,” said a student. He then added, “I’ll probably end up dead, at some point.” 17 Feb.

After a classmate called him strange, a student said, “If I wasn’t strange, I’d be boring, so I’d take this lifestyle over any other.” 17 Feb.

Peak of dirt mountain at construction site, Byron, Ill. 15 Feb.

Peak of dirt mountain at construction site, Byron, Ill. 15 Feb.

“Can’t talk now — watching a hedgehog,” my wife said, of a video of a hedgehog getting a bath as notice of a call notification came over her smart phone. 17 Feb.

“He’s way too shystee and smart for his own good right now,” said Qaytlin 2 Waitress of her young son’s cleverness. 18 Feb.

I told my wife I felt guilty doing nothing on Presidents’ Day holiday afternoon. She said, “It’s OK. Sit there a few more hours and it’ll be gone.” 20 Feb.

We can mean the words we say, and we can also mean the opposite of those words when our tone is sarcastic. But maybe sarcasm is the only non-meaning meaning; other than sarcasm, if you don’t mean what you say, you’re just lying. 21 Feb.

On a warm day, I saw some high school students and their preschool visitors outside my classroom, and through the open window I heard my student trying to teach Duck-Duck-Goose. One kid seemed he wasn’t getting it, as I heard my student say: “Try to chase me, Charlie, around the circle … Come with me. Let’s go this way, Charlie. … duck, duck, duck … run around the circle! C’mon, Charlie.” 21 Feb.

After I’d said in class that teachers tend to make bad students because they like to be in charge, a student called teachers “control freaks.” I asked my students whether they thought I was a control freak. Student answered, “the ‘freak,’ maybe, but not maybe the ‘controlling,'” and called me “the opposite of conformity.” 22 Feb.

Student asked if I had Wite-Out. I did not. She said I don’t use it because “you don’t make mistakes — you have creative ideas.” Or I cross them out, I said. 23 Feb.

A student sighed loudly during a quiz. “Fail quietly,” I said. 23 Feb.

Residue of a lit class discussion (of "The Hollow Men," I think) on my colleague's whiteboard. 22 Feb.

Residue of a lit class discussion (of “The Hollow Men,” I think) on my colleague’s whiteboard. 22 Feb.

Student asked about what happens after one dies. “If you do stop thinking, what was really the point?” she said. She added that her dad wants to be buried wearing shorts because, he says, it’s hot where he’s going, and that he’ll be mad if she doesn’t play “Bad to the Bone” at his funeral. 23 Feb.

“Urethra!” shouted student during class. I asked why she said that. I was told that her classmate did not believe men had that body part. 24 Feb.

“Why don’t cows ever have any better ideas?” I said, apropos of very little, to my wife, who then quoted me onto her Facebook wall. I’d been thinking of the white face of a cow I’d seen above a feed trough at a farm I’d driven past, and I’d been wondering how it is that people have ideas about, you know, freedom and not wanting to become food, but cows, not so much, though we both have gray matter. 24 Feb.

Event entrance, but do not enter. At my high school, 22 Feb.

Event entrance, but do not enter. At my high school, 22 Feb.

“This is the most amount of white people I’ve seen in quite some time,” said Ashli Waitress, back at our small-town Illinois diner after having recently been on vacation in Hawaii. 25 Feb.

‘Something brilliant and beautiful’: A week’s worth of notes

It looks like my town may have a vampire problem. 4 Feb. 2017

It looks like my town may have a vampire problem. 4 Feb. 2017

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“Mister (pause), yeah,” is how I was greeted by a student who’s new to my class this semester and couldn’t recall my name. 30 Jan.

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“I got really mad so then I ate candy to spite her,” said my student, about the nurse telling her not to eat candy because the candy had made her tongue bleed. So, student said, she went home and ate candy. 31 Jan.

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“People who aren’t friends don’t read each others’ poems,” my student  told her friend-but-temporarily-not-friend, after not-friend had asked to see my student’s poem. 1 Feb.

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Ice stacked and muddied after a flood. 4 Feb. 2017

Ice stacked and muddied after a flood. 4 Feb. 2017

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“It’s gonna be a good Friday!” said my student when he came into class Thursday morning. He seemed genuinely surprised when we corrected him. 2 Feb.

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Later that same Groundhog Day, student said the namesake animal had seen his shadow so “we’ve got 6 more months of winter!” She then corrected months to weeks.

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Ice floes and geese in the Rock River at Byron. 4 Feb.

Ice floes and geese in the Rock River (and my dog near the river) at Byron. 4 Feb.

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When student came back from the bathroom, classmate asked, “Did everything come out OK?” 2 Feb.

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After a student accused someone of being “gold-digging” because she was wanting to marry a wealthy person, I sarcasted, “Yeah, why not date losers? ‘Unemployed? Got three fingers? Come on down!'” And then my students discussed which three fingers it’d be best to have. As if such a mutilation were a choice, student asked others, “Which ones are you keeping?” A second student said he’d keep thumb, middle finger, and pinkie, but student three said the extended middle finger “would start a lot of fights, though.” 2 Feb.

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After I said my prizes for my class’s poetry bingo game would be “something brilliant and beautiful,” student quipped, “Is it me?” 2 Feb.

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Reading the Bible symbolically, not literally (because if the Bible is read literally, issues arise, such as are Cain and his wife practicing incest?), could be like how our dreams don’t always make sense. Perhaps fantastic narratives and symbolic stories arose from dreams? 2 Feb.

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Cups in a chain-link fence.

Cups in a chain-link fence.

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Cups in fence, profile.

Cups in fence, profile.

 

“Oh, buddy, it’s fantastic”: This week in notes

View southwest toward sunset from Hedge Road, 5 p.m. today, 29 Jan.

View southwest toward sunset from Hedge Road, 5 p.m. today, 29 Jan.

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When I judge or criticize other people or things, my judging is analytical, abstract, comparing some particular thing to some generalized standard. It’s a part of my ego, my getting-around-in-the-world mind. I don’t judge when in meditative or sleepy mind.  23 Jan. 2017

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“Molly, do NOT get diarrhea,” said a veterinary office worker to a white-muzzled old beagle wearing a pink-striped sweater. 23 Jan.

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Seeing lights on in houses as I drove home this winter evening, I thought how cozy the homes looked, and how cozy my own house probably looks from outside. But I don’t don’t often feel that cozy when I’m in my house, and maybe that’s because when I’m home taking in TV or online news, stories about problems everywhere (or anywhere) outside my house pull my attention away from my calm, cozy home and life. 23 Jan.

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Making meaning — and not just receiving others’ meanings — matters. There’s the essay, the try — we write essays to try to understand things, I told my students this week.

The big meaning, of course, is how one should best live. (It seems a little banal to state it this way, but “how to best live” could include practical ethics, useful metaphysics, everyday epistemology, etc.)

I find it easy to fall into writing about meaning. I’ve been tending toward sticking to facts — to basic observations — so as to let readers see meanings for themselves. 23 Jan.

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A small mammal path at the edge of a parking lot southeast of Riverside-Perryville intersection in Rockford-Loves Park, Ill. Sat. 28 Jan.

A small mammal path at the edge of a parking lot southeast of Riverside-Perryville intersection in Rockford-Loves Park, Ill. Sat. 28 Jan.

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All day long, we interpret others — we try to understand the actions and words of other people we see, meet, or interact with. These interpretations are theories we create and then employ to guide our interactions with these others. These theories can be judged as useful or not (rather than true or false), depending on how successfully I interact with others.

Truth is a judgment of a theory against an external reality, which we can never actually get to, since everything we know about external reality has to come in through our minds. But usefulness I can judge within my own experience. Whatever theories seem to me to work, I’ll call these “useful.” 24 Jan.

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Meanings, theories, interpretations — these aren’t as real was what actually happened. 24 Jan.

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All judgments are comparisons, and all comparisons are arbitrary (not necessary), so therefore, all judgments are arbitrary. Even when I call someone an asshole for how he drives, he’s probably not really and completely an asshole. 24 Jan.

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My blog posts where I just report a quote without explaining it: my audience is older people who don’t need a full explanation of why a quote is funny or interesting, like a child would. Adults must already think interpretively more than kids do. 24 Jan.

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A place at the corner of a gas station lot NE of Riverside-Perryville intersection, Rockford-Loves Park. Sat. 28 Jan., about noon.

A place I could be for a while. Probably nobody but the lawn crew every goes to this spot, at the northwest corner of a gas station lot, but one could. It’s not a place that we typically think of as a place, like we’d think of going to a house, or a restaurant, or a park, etc., but this, too, IS a place. Northeast of Riverside-Perryville intersection, Rockford-Loves Park. Sat. 28 Jan., about noon.

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“If I’m talking and not thinking about what I’m saying, I’ll say everything wrong,” said student. 24 Jan.

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A door in the backside of the building at the northeast corner of Riverside-Perryville. This is across a little parking lot from the gas station corner photo. 28 Jan.

A door in the back side of the building at the northeast corner of Riverside-Perryville. This is across a little parking lot from the gas station corner photo above. Though this side of the building isn’t much to look at, it’s just as real — as touchable, as there — as the lovely front side of building is. 28 Jan.

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Everything can mean something. Everything can tell something, symbolize something (my obsessive mind, anyway, can interpret almost anything, which can be exhausting). Not general topics like “pencil” but THIS pencil: Who owned it? How’d it get here? We can play detective. Of course, with my practice at interpretation, as informed by my experiences and my sensibility, I’m probably better at making meaning than my sophomore students are — but I still want them to try making meaning through their essays built from a session spent observing in the school hallway. 25 Jan.

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Creating meaning as a writer and as a reader — two different acts of meaning creation using the same words, the same text. 25 Jan.

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“We get in trouble and then we look at our underwear and it’s matching,” said senior girl of herself and another senior girl, who had already said that when they wear the same underwear, they both get in trouble. I have no idea what prompted them to announce this in class. 25 Jan.

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At 4 p.m. this day, so much gray: the roads are gray, the bridge over the river is gray, water’s gray, reflecting gray sky. The grassy ground is tan, but also muddy gray. 25 Jan.

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Reminding myself: Just don’t look at stuff that is iconic, or resonant — certain houses, say, that seem to inspire thoughts of “my life would be better if only I lived there.” Stay in your own life, keep your attention on your own life, instead of mentally living elsewhere, in idea-realm (fantasy-realm, “solve all my problems” land). Just drive to your destination, just keep looking ahead, not off to the sides of road at houses. 25 Jan.

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My students lack the experience (worldliness) of adults, but they’re also open-minded (not world-weary). 26 Jan.

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People don’t go to an anthology or magazine of poems to get meaning, but just poems. So a meaningful piece — something you as writer really mean — you might publish not with others’ work but with your own, where readers can see your project, your point of view, your take on poetry, your world of poems, so that your poem is not competing with other poets’ in a poetry mag. Of course, poetry-mag poems are gonna be real poety-poems: ur-poems, practically meta-poems, where poets show off their poetry-writing skills to other poets. [A thought after reading a recent issue of Poetry mag, 26 Jan.]

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Even when I don’t find a particular poem I love, I like how my mind seems to let loose and I have new ideas — unrelated to the poems, usually — but perhaps the poems loosen my mind to think anew. 26 Jan.

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A kind of magic: the transformation of spoken words to a transcribed quote, isolated on page or screen (how the quotes I hear come to exist as words on my notepage). 26 Jan.

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“She has more problems than I can count, and I failed Algebra 2, so it’s not that many,” said senior student of classmate. 26 Jan.

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“When am I gonna use that in my outside life, except when I become president?” rhetorically asked my student, referring to the school’s required speech class. 26 Jan.

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A cracked-open box of telephone wires, possibly, NE of Riverside-Perryville intersection, 28 Jan.

A cracked-open box of telephone wires, possibly. Northeast of Riverside-Perryville intersection, 28 Jan.

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My cat was not moving his sleepy head this morning — only his eyes moved. And a horse and donkey I drive past every day spend a lot of time in their small shed. Animals spend much more time than people do sitting around, just being conscious, not doing. Maybe I need to do more of that to feel like I’ve really lived and been aware of it. When I’m getting things done, I’m less aware of being alive. Maybe animals living this way have a sense of really having been alive enough when so they don’t fear death when they die — not that animals can abstract like we can, but they’re so much more accepting than I seem to be. 27 Jan.

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“Oh, buddy, it’s fantastic,” said student to me about Avanti restaurant‘s gondola sandwich. 27 Jan.

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Not from my notes, but worth repeating: My brother Nace, who lives in Northern Minnesota and photographs sled dog races, northern lights, and moose, was recently interviewed on Duluth public radio about his pictures.

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Wires up close.

Wires up close.

‘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.

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!

‘Am I still married to your wife?’ April quotes from the pocket pages

Panda Express, Wright and Green streets, Champaign, Ill., 13 April.

Near soda drinks at Panda Express, Wright and Green streets, Champaign, Ill., 13 April.

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

φ  “Tonight, we’re gettin’ fricked-up,” said my friend Nina. The previous night’s drinking was just about seeing people, she clarified. 2 April.

φ  “Yesterday, I was so hungry, I had to make pancakes at night,” said my father-in-law. “WHO made the pancakes?” said my mother-in-law, adding that she’d used cake mix to make them. 2 April.

φ  “That’s me — who’s the old man I’m kissing?” asked my wife as she looked at a photo of us before realizing that the old man she was kissing was her husband. 3 April.

At Beef-A-Roo, Machesney Park, Ill., 24 April.

At Beef-A-Roo, Machesney Park, Ill., 24 April.

φ  “Showing up for work is usually a reasonable employment policy,” said my wife of her office’s stance in relation to an unemployment claim. 4 April.

φ  “But YOU’RE working HERE,” said student F. after she said nobody who goes to our local community college gets a good job, and then I’d said that I’d gone there before I became a teacher. 5 April.

φ  “Am I still married to your wife?” asked student F.V. of me. This was in response to a hypothetical that he and I were both injured and my brain were put into his body. Later, my wife answered yes, that she’d rather be married to my brain than my body. “There’d be a different you in you,” she explained. 6 April.

Prairie grows back after spring burn. 29 April.

Prairie grows back after spring burn. 29 April.

φ  “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 T.B. When I teased her about wanting so many cats, she said, “it’s true, though.” 6 April.

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

A narrow view of the Rock River at Byron. 31 April.

A narrow view of the Rock River at Byron. 31 April.

φ  “No matter what she’s talking about, there are eye rolls involved,” said a fellow teacher of a certain student. 8 April.

φ  “I love things that vary in height coming to see me,” said my wife as her dog, her cat, and her husband came to see her as she got home. 8 April.

Holey barn, Church Road, Ogle County. 12 April.

Holey barn, Kings Road, Ogle County. 12 April.

φ  “I have no weaknesses and every weakness,” said a young woman on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Quad to another woman as they walked behind me. 13 April.

φ  “…now I can’t stand peanut butter,” said a guy standing near Foellinger Auditorium on U of I Quad. “At ALL?” said a woman listening to him. “At.  All.” he confirmed. 13 April.

At detail of the painting Jim Graham, The Arborist and his Daughter, at iHotel

A detail of the painting The Arborist and His Daughter by Jim Graham at iHotel in Champaign. My student L. said another painting nearby looked like “a Jackson Pollock impression” of this painting. 13 April.

φ  “You’re not funny,” said student A. to me, as he laughed at something I said. “Usually I’m a better liar,” he lied. 13 April.

φ  “I like to calculate while I go,” said student L. as she took her calculator into the restroom with her. She was alluding to a story I had told about another student attempting to take a library book with him to the bathroom, and when I asked what he was doing, he had said, “I like to read while I go.” 13 April.

φ  “‘Cuz she’s, you know, have you MET her?” said student A. telling me why another student doesn’t like a certain teacher. 13 April.

Pigeons near the Chase Building, Monroe Street, Chicago. 1 April.

Pigeons near the Chase Building, Monroe Street, Chicago. 1 April.

φ  “We play wife with his euchre,” said a fellow teacher, before reversing the nous, about socializing with another teacher. 14 April.

φ “Shouting random things at people is my forte,” said student A.F. 20 April.

φ  A student announced he was willing to strip his way through college. “I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” T. bragged. “Your personality,” corrected another student. 21 April.

Ice cream and pie at the diner. 29 April.

Ice cream and pie at the diner. 29 April.

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

φ  “OW — uh-OW, uh-OW, uh-OW,” said a crow, iambically, as I walked my dog. 22 April.

φ  “I was expecting ducks and all I saw was a pig … disappointing,” said a sophomore student D. about “ag day” animals at our school. 22 April.

Bethel Road, Ogle County, 21 April.

Bethel Road, Ogle County, 21 April.

φ  “Everything I ate today I mooched,” said student B.B. after lunch. 25 Feb.

φ  “We should all call things the same thing,” said a teacher colleague at a department meeting, 25 April.

Donkey, horse, dust cloud. 21 April.

Donkey, horse, dust cloud. 21 April.

φ  “You and I are not the only ones who make fun of her,” said a friend, about an acquaintance. 26 April.

φ  “I asked him to, because fucking Terence was being stupid,” said a girl after school. I thought, my school has a student named Terence? 26 April.

Near Jarrett Prairie Center, Byron, Ill. 29 April.

Near Jarrett Prairie Center, Byron, Ill. 29 April.

φ  The quality of being impervious: imperversion? I wondered. 27 April.

φ  “You HAVE to DIE!” said my student F.V., after he asked me during class whether I’d prefer to starve to death or drown, like Eurylochus chose in Book 12 of The Odyssey. 28 April.

φ  “Steam punk– that’s the thing now, steampunk,” said a middle-aged woman at Joann Fabrics, Rockford, Ill. Answered a younger woman, “don’t let the fact that YOU just discovered it…” 30 April.

From a bridge over Rock River. 31 April.

From a bridge over Rock River. 31 April.

 

‘Screw you, Zeus’: Quotes from previous weeks

 

11 Feb. 2016. Curved icicle.

11 Feb. 2016. Curved icicle.

If nobody brings in snacks, it won’t really be a party,” said a colleague teacher to some students at the end of 1st hour. 18 Jan.

6 Feb. Refuse.

6 Feb. Refuse.

Jeremiah!” shouted a woman while listening to a call on speaker phone in the dairy department of a local grocery store. I think she was shouting at a little boy who had run off. Or maybe she was shouting for a prophet. 20 Jan.

Nonfiction is one’s mind encountering some part of the world. There’s no one-book of the world. 21 Jan.

I like “spoilers.” I dislike narrative tension. I want to know what happens so that I can think about the story rather than just waiting to find out what happens. 25 Jan.

6 Feb. Ceramic boids.

6 Feb. Shiny ceramic boids.

Sometimes ramblings are the most-interesting things to read,” said my student D.M. 25 Jan.

‘Cuz I got holes,” said student F.V. about why he’s got a coat over his t-shirt in class. 25 Jan.

6 Feb. My grandma's 85th birthday cake.

6 Feb. My grandma’s 85th birthday cake.

I write for myself. When I write for others, I get hammy, needy. There’s no money in writing — and why should there be? It’s just ideas, and there’s no lasting value in ideas. Of course I write for myself — why write for any other! I’m just borrowing the language, the words, anyway! 26 Jan.

I don’t have to explain/rationalize why I like an idea, artwork, etc. Liking something isn’t rational. 27 Jan.

One upside to being sick [with a cold]: I’ve been less ambitious with writing. 28 Jan.

6 Feb. 2016. Decorations.

6 Feb. 2016. Decorations.

After I told a student that it’s good to have a hobby outside of one’s job, student T.B. said, “Being bored IS my hobby.” 28 Jan.

A female student walked into class 3rd hour and said, “I’m gonna walk up to him and say [in an insinuating voice], ‘So you LIKE peeling bananas, huh?’” 28 Feb.

Greek myths, Book of Genesis — whatever happened before there were people existing to witness it can’t be known, can’t be nonfiction, and so must be speculative, fictional, philosophical (definitional), all that. 28 Jan.

31 Jan. 2016. View northeast from Panera Bread, toward Perryville Road.

31 Jan. 2016. View northeast from Panera Bread, toward Perryville Road.

A student, J.S., said to friends in the hallway after school, “… to be fair, I am an asshole, but still …” 29 Jan.

At a grocery store in Rockford, I heard a boy say something about needing more bananas. The mom said, “Oh, like we need to buy more than 20 bananas?” What if a kid or kids in the boy’s class want more than one banana each, the boy asked. The teacher would say “one each,” said the mom. 31 Jan.

4 Feb. 2016. Ice forms pools on a driveway slope.

4 Feb. 2016. Ice forms pools on a driveway slope.

4 Feb. 2016. Ice forms pools on a driveway slope.

4 Feb. 2016. When I broke some of the ice dams, crystals were revealed.

Go look at him ‘cuz he’s beautiful,” said my former student, junior girl A.P.,  about a substitute teacher at school this day. 2 Feb.

The book of Genesis says the Earth was “without form” in the beginning. If we take “form” to be, in part, distinction, we make distinctions in general to have useful ideas. We make useful distinctions. 2 Feb.

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

Why am I hearing your voice?” I asked a student during poem-writing time. “My voice is beautiful,” said student T. “It’s weird as hell,” answered student B.B. 3 Feb.

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.

6 Feb. Ice forms.

6 Feb. Ice forms.

Creation stories (like Book of Genesis, Hesiod’s “Theogony”) establish symbols for the purpose of having symbols, common symbols within the group of followers. I suppose this is like how fans of any text — say, the Lord of the Rings triology — have common reference points. 4-5 Feb.

Were I famous, people would want me but for their own (selfish) reasons, and not appreciate me as me. But I don’t often feel appreciated for any reason — I need to let go of bitter, cynical thoughts like that as I age, even if I never get as much appreciation as I’d like. 5 Feb.

I read an online comment recently that said David Foster Wallace’s book Infinite Jest should’ve been edited down. In Genesis and in Hesiod’s “Theogony,” the chaos that arrives before other things is said to be without form. So is the implication that any work that isn’t well-fitted to a form (like DFW’s novel didn’t fit the novel-form, perhaps) chaotic? 5 Feb.

One student said of another, “He has moments of brilliance, and moments of ‘you are dumb.’” 5 Feb.

Said a worker at a Casey’s convenience store to another worker, “I’m not known for losing that kind of stuff.” 8 Feb., about 4:10 p.m.

You’re ugly, too. We look just like each other,” said an older sister to a younger sister, after younger has apparently said the older was ugly. 9 Feb. When I told their mother, she said they don’t look alike at all, but I think the girls kinda do look alike.

13 Feb. 2016

13 Feb. 2016

At the local diner: Kim Waitress pointed to some plates of food and asked the cooks, “Which one’s ‘Easy Onion’?” I like the name “Easy Onion” for a criminal’s name, perhaps. 13 Feb.

Also at the diner: Ashli Waitress said she needed to pour coffee into both cups on the table “because otherwise the table’s leaning this way,” she explained her compulsive behavior. 14 Feb.

Ashli Waitress’s pink-ribbon tattoo is on her foot because “I didn’t think my first tatt should be on my tit,” she said. 14 Feb.

18 Feb. 2016. Rec path.

18 Feb. 2016. Rec path.

I’d be like, ‘Screw you, Zeus,’” said my sophomore student F.V. about what he’d do if he were, like Atlas, asked to hold up the sky. 18 Feb.

While I was outside on a warm February Saturday, I heard my Neighbor-Dad yelled at his kids, who were in the garage. Neighbor-Mom said, “Are they playing with poison? Go inside and wash your hands.” 20 Feb.