Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cindy XXX
(From the series:: What happens in class, stays in class)

Have you ever unwittingly had an embarrassing pop-up appear on your computer screen? The kind that solicits pornography (even if you are not a big fan)? Under normal circumstances, these pop-ups are annoying. In a classroom, they push beyond annoyance.

Two years ago, at the school where I teach, pop-ups were becoming quite an impedance. They were distracting and disturbing kids by popping-up during word processing or during powerpoint presentation-making or during internet research. The school board’s firewall was either not stringent enough, perhaps it had holes – I don’t pretend to be technologically savvy enough to even have the slightest clue how this could have been prevented or what went wrong. All I know is that for a while, inappropriate pictures could appear on-screen seemingly without prompting.

On the computer in my classroom, there was one pop-up in particular that kept appearing. Her name was Cindy XXX. I will not tell you what she claimed to like or what she wanted me to do to her. I will tell you she was quite beautiful, she appeared on an instantly-recognizable pink backdrop and she did not abide by the school’s dress code.

I put in what is known as a Heat Web call to have Cindy removed from my computer. I assumed she was somehow trapped and confined to my computer since she seemed to be there so much more frequently than anywhere else. I was shocked and appalled that this could happen in a SCHOOL where CHILDREN work every day. I was righteous and judgmental in my statement – insulted, even!

Well, one late afternoon, I was sitting alone in my large science classroom after all the students had gone home. My back was facing the main door, as I typed away at my computer. I was checking my e-mail and working away. I heard voices in the hall. Twisting my body around, I saw it was my vice-principal (I will call her Ainigriv) and a couple of prospective parents. Ainigriv was bubbly and enthusiastically acting as a tour guide, introducing the couple to the best parts of our school. She invited them into the classroom to show them the spacious environs. She brought them over to me; I stood and shook their hands and smiled encouragingly. I told them a bit about my program – the cow eyeball dissection that the kids love the best, the mechanical arm project we build in May, the microscopes we use, etc. (Were they looking at me or were they looking distractedly over my shouder?) Ainigriv showed them the panoramic view of the back schoolyard from my classroom windows and then they all shuffled on to the next classroom.

I turned around – pleased with myself. I certainly had sold the school as warm and friendly. The science program I had built seemed solid and engaging.
Then I saw it….
…not the blue of hotmail on the computer screen.
But the pink of….
CINDY XXX.
With her taunting, teasing eyes and enormous breasts falling out of her shirt.
My face went as pink as the computer screen.

I must have cried out in horror. I thought I would die of embarrassment. What was worse was never KNOWING if these perfect strangers had seen the incriminating Cindy or not. And if they had, never being able to explain myself. And perfect strangers are one thing, but my highly respected vice-principal, Ainigriv, was quite another.

So, when I had collected my wits about me (I now truly understand what this saying means – for mine were strewn about on the ground around me) I walked on shaky feet down to the office. I must have waited a few minutes, for the parents were gone.

Ainigriv was there behind the secretary’s desk.
She looked up and our eyes met.
And before I could say anything, she burst into hysterical laughter.
The explanation flooded from my mouth unintelligibly and soon I was laughing too. These are some of the unforeseen war-scars of a technologically-advanced society, I suppose. These sorts of mishaps will happen.

And we will live to tell about them.

The End

Epilogue: What prompted this blog was a moment last night, when my mother was visiting. I wanted to show her some pictures my Aunt had sent me in an e-mail. So, of course, I had to open my hotmail. This is a long process. It is faster to just double-click on my msn messenger and then click on a message. I did it quickly and automatically, clicking on the bolded title of the only yet-unopened message in my hotmail. Only once the window was opened, did I read the subject: AlienMegaPenises

These are the days of our lives.

4 comments:

Deaner said...

Is there no end to your crazy antics? Gosh, I only wish my teaching practice was full of such fun and outlandish stories! My blog would be a lot funnier.

shopaholic said...

Oh my gosh that reminds me of a note that I received from a supply teacher after one of my absences. Somehow during computer lab time, one of my students happened upon pictures of naked boys and penises that he thought he would share with his male classmates. The pictures that is, not the naked boys and penises. Too funny.

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