My BoysThere they sit.....the motleyist crew that ever sailed the seas of education....How many classrooms have they crashed upon the rocks of ignorance? How many mutinies? How many captains have run shrieking from their presence? How many have walked the plank? Well....not this captain......today, we sail.
"Would anyone like to explain what photosynthesis is?"
Absolute silence.....finally broken by a high pitched, long trailing fart that ends in a staccato burst. Explosions of laughter rock my little boat and one of my lads says "Niggah....THAT is a hygiene violation!"
I return fire with a burst of air freshener. (Glade's Green tea and vanilla works very well) I regroup and re-phrase my question. "What do plants do for the world's animals?"
"They make food for us." AAAh! D Dubs has hoisted the anchor! We're off!.... D Dubs is a 15 year old Latin King that joined my crew after being convicted of stabbing a 14 year old in the chest. Thankfully, his city had the foresight to have ambulances trolling for victims and saved the victims life.
"Bookey....What else do plants make for us?" Bookey, is a 17 year old, and a very big wheel in the cocaine distribution system. He has multiple gun and drug charges pending but he looks like a Cosby kid. Slim, tall and unnervingly calm. He simply states "oxygen".
"Excellent!" My ship is gathering momentum.....
"Why we gotta learn this **** anyway?"
I reply..."First of all, Trizzy...stuff, not ****. Secondly, to make me look good when you pass your state boards and get a diploma."
"So...Triz...what IS oxygen?"
"It's an element."
"and what type of cells help us transport oxygen?"
"Red blood cells'.....a trace of a smile.....
Trizzy is a Blood. Hardcore Blood. He won't even eat a blue Jolly Rancher. Red ones only. I tease him by tossing blue ones. I watch waves of revulsion wash over his face and he tosses them back. Trizzy has "earned stripes" and is a plague upon his community. He also has a beautiful singing voice and has memorized an encyclopedia's worth of inappropriate rap lyrics.
My one and only Crip is Ish. Ish is pretty much silent as he is outnumbered 6 to 1 and has a very slight build due to a lifetime of malnutrition. His blue tats are a silent and constant affront to my Bloods. We have him wrap his forearms with an Ace bandage to lower the possibility of "drama". Things will cool down for him if he continues to lay low and avoid reppin'.
"So..Ish...what would happen if all the plants were to disappear?"
"We would starve and we wouldn't have air to breathe."
"So...it's safe to say that without plants to PRODUCE fuel and oxygen, the web of life on Earth would collapse...right?"
Murmurs of assent....
"Has a catastrophe like this ever occured?"
"Yeah!.....when the dinosaurs got wiped out!"
"Yes , Mike...that's right!". Mike is one of the few white kids on my crew......He had the mis-fortune to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome in a sexually abusive family. Picture the Waltons crossed with a family of Bonobo monkeys and add vodka. And as Tevye tells us.....tradition is a powerful and very important force and that's why Mike is on my boat....
A voice from the back row asks, "Wait!....could that happen again?" I think to myself,.... " Oh crap...here we go...."
This is where my boat always hits choppy waters....any scenario that could mean "The End of the World." Asteroid strikes....global warming...ice ages...ebola....the sun running out of fuel...you name it..they worry about it.
This is why I love my students.................Born in places we wouldn't be caught dead in......abused in any manner you could think of...capable of commiting heinous crimes.....by my estimates, 60% will do adult time.....and they are worried because the sun has only 5 billion years of hydrogen left.
NOTE: All the names are fictional as are the dialogue and content. The story is ba