My mom, an excellent lady, is an English teacher at Forest Hills Central High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She’s worked there for over 30 years now. I know firsthand that she is an outstanding teacher, because in 1987-88, my senior year, I was forced to sign up for her class, as hers was the only English class I could take that allowed me to fit the all-important senior skip hour into my schedule. As previously mentioned, I sat in the back, doing “calculator races” with a small posse of geeks (one of whom wore an outfit one day that caused a jock in the class to shout “Hey, dork! Nice Garanimals!”). Anyway, my mom’s class was pretty fun sometimes.

Apparently one of her AP classes this year loves to get my mom off-topic (particularly so, no doubt, when she’s teaching Chaucer, and starts speaking in that ridiculous Middle English gibberish). One of the best ways to do this, it seems, is to ask about her children, and in particular yours truly. Over the course of the year, some of these students have been directed to this very blog, and a few of them have been brave enough to post comments here. These people are obviously the coolest residents of Grand Rapids, other than that really hot chick who works over at The Fashion Bug. One of the students, a crazy kid named Scott K. who was probably bucking for extra-credit, recently gave my mom his version of a shiny apple, which came in the form of a poem. He wrote the following:

“Ode to Angry John”
Always a topic of conversation,
His sarcasm and wit are unparalleled.
Angry John Sellers is our salvation.
Admiration for him cannot be quelled.
“Seven Deadly Sins” took fifteen minutes
Away from Dante, thank God in Heaven!

I am led to believe that this is just a snippet of the poem, but let’s analyze what we have here. “Always a topic of conversation” — I take this to mean that Scott and the gang can get my mom talking about my nonsense any time they want, which makes this blog their version of our calculator races. “His sarcasm and wit are unparalleled” — I think what the poet is doing here is using hyperbole; he can’t possibly be suggesting that AJS has a singular sarcasm and wit, because I am clearly just ripping off Nicholson Baker and George Costanza. “Angry John Sellers is our salvation” — Well, it is true, I am a golden god! “Admiration for him cannot be quelled” — edited out, obviously, is the rest of this line: “except when he’s talking about the 1980s, because then we think he’s really old.” The final two lines of the poem reference an article I wrote for Time Out New York, and the fact that my mom ate up state-funded class time reading it aloud in its entirety (with the naughty words, like “snoobs,” edited out for the under-18 set).

All in all, Scott’s poem is expertly done, and I’m not just saying that because it states, in very clear terms, that I am the greatest human who has ever lived. Grade: A++.

WHY I’M ANGRY TODAY
My trivia team lost at the big “High Rollers” event at Last Exit last night, where the grand prize was just over $1000. We got a few easy questions wrong (Q: Which movie won the most awards during the Oscar ceremony? A: The Aviator — duh!), and lost 42-38 (out of 50 total questions). I take some comfort that we had the best team name: That Chimp Ate My Genitals! But funny team names don’t pay the health insurance.

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