Friday, November 18, 2005

Live from En-Dor

So after a long, insane, day, I get my class working on an art project, and sit down to do a little coloring myself.

After a while, I become aware there is a sort of flap going on in the room which seems to involve several of my kids and an ordinary, crumpled-up piece of white paper several of them are apparently afraid to touch. I am hearing words like 'ghost', 'curse', and 'maldito' thrown around.

I take the piece of paper and throw it away, but they recover it out of the trash, apparently so they can be afraid of it some more.

I ask them to disperse and get work done, but apparently they really can't, and after a while, the flap arises again. This time I discover that the problem is being caused by two of my girls who have taken a piece of paper, written words in Chinese in the corners and drawn a circle. They are holding a pencil between the two of them, in a sort of pinkie-locked grip, and letting a line squiggle apparently randomly across the page.

I recognize the thing they're doing as a sort of low-tech cousin to a Ouija Board. Several other kids are standing around shivering and acting out. I ask what's up, and am told that the thing has a ghost in it, and that apparently, if certain things happen, the ghost comes back and visits you later.

I explain that this is not a school activity, and ask that it be put away, especially since it seems to be scaring people. They agree. They tear up the paper, and start to pile it, along with several other torn-up prognosticators, on the stack of test papers I am holding, so I can throw it away.

All is well, until one of my kids stumbles, bumps into me, and causes me to SHOWER the cursed papers down on one of my other students, who bursts into hysterical sobbing and clings to me like a baby wombat.

I'm standing there, with hexed scratch paper swirling around me, and a twelve-year-old girl weeping in my arms so hard she can hardly breathe, murmuring 'there, there', and wondering if this is payback for being a fraudulent fortuneteller in a previous life or something.

Kid had to be sent down to the nurse, she was in a state of shock.

My mother suggests that I explain this is NOT Hogwarts, and we don't learn such things here--which I guess is an easier cultural referent than explaining that I don't think Torah permits me to get involved in this narrishkeit...

OH BOY am I glad it's Shabbos.

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