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Monday, March 16, 2020


Once upon a time there was a wonderful, happy, curious and totally intelligent mensch-boy who lived near his grandparents. Jack was nimble and quick and so smart and so kind and curious but like all good stories, there is a hill to climb, something to overcome, a trial to face.
Actually there were two tests and trials for Jack. Both happened in school.
Our Jack witnessed early in his life his first test because of the uninformed comment of  a teacher who was obviously not teacher-trained in etiquette, psychology or plain commonsense.  Why do I say this? Because one day she said to the class,  " Class, you will sit in a way that I can see which one of you has the WORST HANDWRITING!!!!" Or did she say, "The best long-hand writers, sit in the front?" Whatever,  dear and rattled  and kind Jack shuddered as he was sent to the back of the class, to the last row because this misinformed and Cruella teacher had judged mensch Jack's handwriting to be  "back-rowish?" Can you imagine!!!! A cruel,  punitive and today probably fire-able decision on her part, no?
But wait, lets look at the other oye vey memory that Jack tells when family gathers at holidays. Like it or not, it is about something else that Jack was "called-out " for. This time it was his singing voice.  This second teacher, trained in "how to completely shame young people" told fabulous Jack, "When we all sing together, you, Jack, just move your lips."  This is my remembered statement and might be a little misquoted.
Ok so now we have Jack not home schooled, leaving the public school system with two rules: 1. no long hand writing, 2. no singing so that your voice can be heard!!!
Luckily,  there is a Deus Ex Machina or heavenly inner-Angel in this story because Genius Jack took those two "NO"S" and made them into big  "YES'S" for himself and others and  here is how he did it.
For years, Jack wrote with his impeccable videotapes that number in the hundreds. They are "video-long-hand-writings" that historically and aesthetically communicate and im sure he has reams of long hand writing scripts for each of his documentaries and art films that will go into his archive. So there, clueless bad mouth teacher, Jack the Genius turned around your punishment and now writes long-hand, video-hand, photo-hand, information-hand despite the terrible things you said to Jack in grade school. 
And how has Jack sung in public and  cured the second teacher's embarrassing reprimand ? The Cruella- teacher's command to ask Jack  to just move his lips and not to sing with his classmates didn't work!!!! Jack has been a Peace Corps teacher in South America where he "sang" out loud by graciously helping the people he lived with by sing-speaking  in their melodious language no less!  And for many, many years, Jack has been  an activists'-activist,( a teacher to other activists) singing his truth real loud by using his voice at gatherings, telling truth verbally at the  9976 weekly political meetings he attends/organizes and video-documents. Yayyyy Jack. And lucky Jack has the support of his Compassionate Wife, always there in co-support, graciousness and equal truth-telling. Win-win and happy applause. 
Conclusion: For all the young Jacks out there, when the barbs and arrows and cruelty comes in your direction,  know that you can turn it around and use it as the compost that it is. That is,  you can use it as fuel to do and be better than the meanness of others and like Jack you can ride higher than  the ridiculousness of their negative unconsciousness. Kind wins. Try it and you too, like Jack, can laugh at the smallness of the cruel and misinformed-mean. You too, like Jack can become a MENSCH FOREVER. 

Linda Mary Montano, November 2019.


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