Names and minor details have been changed to protect the innocent
K was the complete opposite of his father.
While K's father was a ferocious game-cock of a man with a chip on his shoulder, K was a big, goofy, happy, easy-going guy.
Perhaps it would be more precise to say that K had a different way of thinking than most people.
K went into the Peace Corps after graduating from college. And then he volunteered for an assignment on the fringes of Bosnia-Herzegovina while it was still a hot-zone.
Balls. Or stupid.
One Thanksgiving, K wandered into the garage in time to see Uncle Vernon's turkey fryer do its best imitation of Mount Vesuvius. Eight feet of liquid flame raining down in an 8' diameter circle.
K looked at the fireworks for a second and then calmly walked over and turned off the gas. Stepping back, he waited for the flames to die down before kicking pile of burning rags away from the LP cylinder and out of the garage into the November rain.
He looked at the garage door and there were no scorch marks in it.
Satisfied, he walked back into the house to look for a cold beer.
Uncle Vernon never did figure out who turned off his turkey fryer.
Balls? Or stupid?
K's dad told him to take whatever job paid the most when he came back from the Balkans. K brought back a wife and she had a bun in the oven.
The Detroit School District's offer was head-and-shoulders over every other job offer. On paper, he had 41 kids in his elementary classroom. In reality, it was a rare day when more than 2/3rds showed up.
K dutifully entered the attendance figures into the computer system and the next morning all the absences had magically been changed to "Present". After two weeks he stopped taking attendance.
Just before Halloween he asked his class if any of them had a family member or personally knew somebody who had been shot. Only two kids did not raise their hands.
It was a Kindergarten class.
In time, K got worn down by the system and sought a job outside of Detroit. A posh suburb north of Detroit offered a job too good to turn down.
He only had five students.
They were middle-school kids.
They were labeled "Emotionally Impaired" and every one of them weighed over 300 pounds.
EI is the label they give a child when he reacts inappropriately to stimuli. His emotions are top-fuel drag-racers and their rational brain is a tricycle with flat tires.
"And what" you might ask "qualifies as reacting inappropriately to stimuli?"
Glad you asked. One of the kids had tossed the band teacher through the window, followed by several desks as exclamation points. Or maybe he threw the desks first and the band teacher jumped out the window. EI kids have their own gravitational field which warps the time-space continuum. Exact sequences of events become impossible to ascertain.
K was exquisitely suited to the job, or so he thought until Covid hit.
His new boss railed on him constantly about the mask mandates. She was relentless.
K tried to explain that these kids were...well...different.
No dice. His supervisor was out to make a name for herself.
Finally, she issued an ultimatum. "I am coming down to your class and every student better have a mask on or I will start procedings to have you fired."
K thought she was bluffing. Special Ed teachers can be hard to find. But he was on "probation" and there were different rules for safety items. And, for all he knew she had been documenting every time she caught one of "his" kids not wearing a mask.
Fifteen minutes later she breezed through the door to his classroom.
Every student, all 1800 pounds of them, were wearing their masks.
"See!" she beamed. "That wasn't so hard was it?"
"So you will be fine if my students are like this for the rest of the year?" K asked.
"Absolutely!" she said.
"You might want to look at them again" K suggested.
The supervisor looked at the students and did not see anything amiss. They were all wearing their masks over their mouth AND nose.
"Nope. Looks great to me" the supervisor said.
"They aren't wearing pants" K said, softly.
Horrified, she looked back at the students. She saw whitey-tighties, boxers and in one case, Depends.
"Since you couldn't see that they weren't wearing pants, maybe with a little effort you won't notice when they aren't wearing a mask" K said.
The supervisor fled.
K has not had any trouble with her since.