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I felt like a Duckbilled Platypus. I’d been paddling through the scum of a familiar pond (education) frustrated as a Druid atheist when the sun returns after the winter solstice. I craned my neck toward the heavens, joined my flippers together and prayed for extinction.

Three years in a row I’ve been nominated for teacher of the year. Four years in a row I’ve gotten a pink slip.

“Though we are out of money, Tuck,” assured by my current power- that- be, followed by a good ole’ conspiratorial wink, “I’m sure you’ll have a job again this fall.”

This year was different. I received a letter from the Board of Education in late August. “You must sign this letter of reappointment otherwise your name will be eradicated (heavy word) from our personnel file.”

I’d already been fired. I wanted to avoid eradication at all cost. I phoned the Board of Education. Better know to friends of George Orwell as the Board of Disinformation.

I spoke with a young woman. She didn’t really speak English and my Hindi was rusty. She said she would hold me. I smiled. I was ready to be held. I heard a ‘click.’ She hadn’t held me. We were disconnected. “Eradicated,” echoed in my brain. The musky scent of death permeated my swamp. I dialed again, folded my knees and joined my flippers in prayer, ‘please let her speak English.’

The she was a he. I begged him not to HOLD me. He vowed he wouldn’t. But he had an incoming call and could I just wait a … ‘Click!’

My third try faired better. I detected a French accent. My French is pretty good. I started to explain my dilemma in French and English. She was Basque. She took umbrage refusing to speak in the tongue of an oppressor nation. Whole heartedly I agreed. Perhaps we could meet for lunch. An Indian restaurant. She might order something with lots of curry……God, I hate digressions. ….

Finally, I was connected to someone “in-charge.” In-charge of what I never found out. He assured me he, “always wanted to be in education. A Teacher. ”

I sighed, gave him my name, rank, and district hire date and then, I didn’t want to do this. I fought , I groveled and turned on the charm. “Fellow educator. Sir…lover of children… man of the 21st century. Do… I … still have a job?

“Mr. Sotlerler…” He hemmed and hawed, gurgled, goggled, dodged and then, though he would NOT, could NOT, assume any responsibility, and this was off the record, but being a true Samaritan he was willing to stick his neck out, just this once, don’t tell anyone, only for you and never again, we are all in this together right… ‘CLICK.’

This is how Barb and I ended up owning a bar called Tucker’s Tavern. Catchy name.

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