Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rev. Rodell today addressing teacher retirees

I’ll be speaking in about four hours to 50 members of the retired Westmoreland County teachers association happy the whole time they aren’t the retired Allegheny County teachers association.

I’d hate the thought of Mr. Hardoby or one of my other old grade school teachers interrupting my presentation to heckle.

It’d be ruinous to be segueing into a poignant story about my grandfather and having old man Hardoby mock, “The farmer’s in the booger barn! The farmer’s in the booger barn!”
It’s what he’d yell whenever he’d bust me or one of the second grade boys picking our noses.

I had mostly good relations with my teachers. I think it’s cause I played a lot of hookie.

Teachers expressed their gratitude by passing me when even when I didn’t deserve it. They moved me around just to get me out of their hair.

As a student, I was never gifted.

More like re-gifted.

This is the third time in 10 months the meeting organizer’s hired me to uplift and entertain one of her groups.

If this dear woman worked for, say, Coca-Cola I’d be one of the busiest and best compensated speakers in America.

Oh, well. Gotta start somewhere. Today that means Ferrante’s Lakeview Banquet Facility near Greensburg. 

So right now I’m trying to fulfill my senseless need to blog and weigh which lines are too ribald for a group of retiree teachers.

Should I tell off-color jokes? Swear? Titillate?

Oh, hell, yes!

They’ll get the full funny. That means I’ll start off by insinuating I’m a dickhead.

That’s the unspoken punchline about one of the opening remarks that declares “Use All The Crayons!” asks all the important questions.

Why are we here? Where do we go when we die? What is the meaning of life?

That puts everyone practically to sleep, which is just where I want them to be when I blast them with an electrifying jolt of off-color humor.

“And it also asks questions more important to me like, “If fans of the Grateful Dead are called Deadheads, what does that make those of us who revere the novel ‘Moby-Dick?’”
I didn’t tell that one last time I was at Lakeview for reasons that will be immediately apparent.

A local church was having an anniversary gala and asked me to come enjoy service with them followed by lunch and a series of devotional speakers capped by me. All told, my involvement lasted 6 hours.

It was the most time I’d spent with my head bowed since that day at the intramural softball fields at Ohio University when my contact lenses popped out.

The people there — about 125 — were all so nice, so good, so reverent. Of course, I felt out of place.

Plus, Val was there right beside me on the dais and that always makes me incredibly nervous. She’s never done it and likely never will, but I have tremendous fear she’ll begin to refute with family facts all the times I say, gee, being broke for long years at a stretch ain’t so bad.

So I had that going on to my right.

On my left were church hierarchy that included the pastor and the all-high bishop for the entire district.

So when I jokingly told the story about how I make my life more colorful by pretending to be a Reverend to get the clergy discount, I smiled over at him seeking jocular reassurance.

There was none.

In fact, the guy was glowering, like he was going to take a holy phone and text Lucifer a four-word directive: “Prepare for Chris Rodell.”

He looked truly pissed.

I don’t know what the big deal was.

I wouldn’t care if a bishop wanted to pretend he was a blogger.

So I’m looking forward to being back at Lakeview and am confident it’ll go well.

How could it go otherwise?

At the very least a lot of retired educators will say they’d been entertained by maybe the world’s No. 1 fan of the book “Moby-Dick.”

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