October 30th, 2010


A Farewell to Zero

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. Please leave any comments there.

Wikipedia will tell you that Zero is both a number and the numerical digit used to represent that number.  I say otherwise. 

Zero’s a Hero.

For the past several years, the local Assistant Principal, Ms. Passentino, has brought humor, energy, and joy to the K-3 classes that each of the kids attended.  On the 10th, 20th, and 30th of any given month, the usual Kiss-n-Ride staff has been augmented by a genuine, cape-wearing, masked superhero with a huge circle on her chest – Zero the Hero. 

On off days, Ms. Passentino resolutely refuses to admit any knowledge of any such “Zero” person.  When confronted by an adamant 6-yr-old, she pulls a straight-faced Clark Kent:  “I don’t know WHAT you’re talking about!”  (This will still send the Reigning Queen of Pink into hysterical giggles.)  Zero the Hero doesn’t just work Kiss-n-Ride, either – she roams the halls and classrooms, looking for aught to point out, seeking new ways to show young minds how nothing can really be something.  Making something out of nothing is a good way to describe the magic of how she helps to teach these kids every day.

I found out yesterday that our hero has to move – there are people who really need her, and like all real heroes, she’s going.  It has been my pleasure and honor to have been a small part of this education community with her for these past few years – all three kids have fond memories of Zero the Hero, and Number One Son’s life has been directly changed for the better by her kind words, understanding ear, and watchful eye. 

Hundreds of days have been brightened just by hearing her whistle while parked in the line at Kiss-n-Ride – she can whistle up the devil and send him packing again – and by watching her comedy act played next to the principal’s straight routine.  The two of them are priceless; a modern Laurel and Hardy, except, you know, they’re women, and thin, and don’t wear hats.  They’d make a great comedy act if they ever decide to leave education.  (Don’t get any ideas, Ms. Skerker – we can’t lose both of you!) 

So, fair skies and following winds, Zero the Hero.  The hearts and minds you’ve touched at this school are all wishing you the best as you move on to your next Hero role.   

And Nothing won’t be the same without you.


Sure You Don’t.

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. Please leave any comments there.

There is, right now, a tooth under Number One Son’s pillow.  He showed it to me this morning, and explained that he needed to put it under his pillow tonight, “even though there’s no Tooth Fairy.” 

“No Tooth Fairy?” I asked, as innocent as a Big Ugly Man Doll can be.  Mind you, he’s 10, and there won’t be too many more teeth coming out of his head.

“No, Daddy, there’s no such thing as the Tooth Fairy, just like there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”

“No Santa Cla – wait a minute, if there’s no Tooth Fairy, then why exactly are you planning to put the tooth under your pillow?”

“So you’ll give me money for it.”

Riiiiiiiiiight.  The idea that you could just hand me the tooth and I’d give you a buck *never* crossed your mind, did it?  You’re far too old, too analytical, and too wise to believe in anything as silly as the Tooth Fairy.  You don’t believe in anything silly like that. 

But that molar’s still under your pillow. 

And I’m still going to wait until you’re sleeping, my little scientist.