About three weeks ago, I was surprised to see that my alter ego–the one who used to teach in the really difficult school district with people who were not necessarily kind to anyone who stood out–was called a pornographer in the press by an administrator she had never met. He was taking credit for ridding his school district of all the evil teachers. She was one.
I was not amused.
None of it was true–not his presentation of himself as sort of a bureaucratic John Wayne (because dudes, anyone who was my confidant in this matter at all would tell you that all they had to do to get rid of me was to LET ME COME BACK so I could quit instead of be fired!), not his presentation of my work as pornography (the fact that it is NOT is well covered material, both legally and morally!), and not his insinuation that I “had students read” pornography as some sort of assignment. (And if Monty Python hadn’t done a first rate send up of that idea, believe me, I’d jump in and have my fun.) It was all crap, and he got to bluster to the press and I got to sit there and think, “Really?”
Now, of course my FIRST inclination (and I’m always better off when I ignore these) was to spray bomb “LIBELOUS PIGFUCKING BUREAUCRAT” on his car–and while that’s still a fantasy I’ll use to entertain myself, I don’t suggest anyone else actually perpetrate that particular vandalism either. (And, unlike what this man said about ME, this epithet is true, as long as you understand that the word “pigfucking” is used an intensifier, and not an actual description of how the upper echelon powerless administrator who lies in print spends his spare time.) Anyway, I sat back, let things take their course, and allowed the universe to present me with an alternative idea.
As it turns out, my deep and abiding (and oft-tested) faith that “karma works” kicked in here. No, bird shit didn’t peel his paint job, nobody caught secret tape of him having a drug-fueled gang-bang with monkeys and rent boys, and there were no mysterious accidents involving his nether limbs and farm equipment. It seems that he’s going to have to wait for his own sign that libelous bureaucrats are NOT awarded 72 virgins and a Cadillac Coupe deVille upon departure from this mortal coil–this sign was all mine.
And it was beautiful. Meet Matty. He and his beloved, Brad, have kept up a lovely blog chronicling young love in a country that’s rather unfriendly to their particular brand of it, and they are witty, charming, and just about as old as Mate and I were when we embarked on OUR adventures. Matty got to blog about unlikely heroes–and what he said about my work and what it meant to him made me cry–as the libelous pigfucking bureaucrat did not, actually. Nothing the crumbling clay fist of faux-power had to say about me or to me–whether it was on a public forum or in private– actually MEANS anything to me, in any sense of the word. But what this articulate, poetic kid had to say? That meant the world.
Karma works. Libelous pigfucking bureaucrats are going to live small, circumscribed lives, where the shit they spew into the either is the only thing they get to see, smell, or taste, and all of their world will be colored by their ignorance. They will never know the beauty of seeing that something they have done has LITERALLY made the world a better place–they will only know the drudgery of pretending they have that sort of power at all. I’m going to take moments like Matty’s blog post, and letters that people–wounded and torn people–have written to me about how good writing–sometimes MY writing–heals. These moments are going to reassure me that no matter what libelous bureaucrats have to say about me, I will continue to teach–and teach things of importance, and not just what looks good on a bubble test–for probably the rest of my life.
Karma is a beautiful thing.