Thursday, May 25, 2006


Science Question: How Much Does A Ford Taurus Weigh?

This has nothing to do with my class of sometimes lost academics. As the close of school nears I find myself frequently standing outside my portable. I don’t stand far away. The decayed pressure treated deck does well to support my bulk. I keep the metal door with the stylish plexiglass window propped open with my foot. This stance allows me to hear the conversations flowing around the class and to watch the students traversing the paved street between the annex building and the main building. At times it even allows me to dream about making a dash for my truck across the parking lot and escaping.

However, this time of the school year is bitter sweet. The seniors are mere days away from graduating after clawing their way to the top of the academic heap, only to find themselves at the bottom again out in the real world. Many of the familiar ones I have a few memories of seeing daily. The vast majority of them have never darkened the threshold of my classroom. The two lovebirds leaning against the hood of the dirty black Honda SUV perhaps should have spent some time in my class, but it was to late now.

The supreme mortal sin a student can commit in high school is to park in a teacher’s reserved parking spot. The second worst sin is to allow the teacher to discover your identity after they have parked across the parking space effectively blocking the intruder in for the day. The third on this list is for the student to be enrolled in said teacher’s class. Many teachers view a reserved slot as one of the few perks of a difficult job. I enjoy having my own parking space, but other job perks are more important and more elusive. Now back to the lovebirds.

The blue Ford Taurus had blocked them in earlier in the morning. They sat on the Honda hood, holding hands, and trying to figure a solution to their dilemma. I had watched them for over ten minutes. They had walked into the annex two times I’m assuming to ask if anyone knew the owner of the Taurus. I deduced they had been trying to sneak away from school, but had been foiled in their attempt by some “rude” teacher. A friend of theirs came by, looked into the Ford, said something and walked into the annex. He was back in a few minutes without any help for the couple.

By this time I observed the dark haired girl beginning to show anger. She no longer held her boyfriend’s hand. He attempted to kiss her cheek, but she pulled away. Her words were lost to me as a pickup truck with the normal “boom, boom, boom” sound system passed by the parking lot. My guess was another student skipping out early trading the ability to sneak for the hope of being cool. When I looked back toward the couple the girl was pointing her finger at the boy’s face expressing her angry desire to leave.

I looked at the Honda SUV with its six-inches of ground clearance. I gazed at the curb behind the SUV and judged it to be three inches tall. The angry girl was separated from the freedom of the street by a mere three inches. Briefly, I thought the solution had occurred to the girl. She walked around behind the SUV standing there for about twenty seconds staring down at the curb. Then she kicked the spare tire mounted on the back of the vehicle and returned to the front of the SUV to point her finger into her boyfriend’s face, again.

Then a solution came to them both almost at the same time. They kissed each other and proceeded with their plan. I suppose at moments like these a school should have the right to reexamine the awarding of a high school diploma. Perhaps a portion of high school credits should encompass a student’s ability to be prepared for the “real” world? At the very least the awarding of a science or physics credit should be reassessed. The two students took their places at the front and back of the offending Ford Taurus. For a reason that completely confuses me the young graduating senior girl posted herself at the front of the Ford. (I apologize for my politically incorrect maleness. Not really.) The boy took his place at the rear. Women’s lib is alive and well in 2006. They both bent forward and grasped the Taurus. The girl nodded her head three times and then they both jerked upward on the car. They had come up with a solution. Not a good solution, but a solution.

The boy’s face displayed surprise. My sense was the surprise was not from thinking the car might really float up in the air and be displaced by the couple, but from the pain that was now radiating down through his back. The girl fell over on the hood and quickly rose to shout something at the boy who was trying to stand erect. Perhaps if they had lifted with their legs? Her anger became more evident as she struck the hood of the Taurus with her purse and stomped into the annex. The boy was left behind trying to figure out why the car didn’t move and his back did.

I didn’t have the joy of seeing how the science experiment ended. I assume the teacher came out at some point and drove off. My hope was that these two were not to late for their appointment, graduated happily, and faced their destiny successfully in life beyond high school.

Science Question: How much does a Ford Taurus weigh?
Answer: Enough.