29 January 2019

33 Years Ago

I started detention for exercising free speech in a state run high school.

Yes, the joke was in poor taste, but it was both timely and hilarious.

The staff wasn't ready for jokes about the Student Liberation Front taking out Challenger and that no teacher was safe.

It sounds horrid distilled like this, but it had the lunch room in stitches.

We needed to laugh, even if the humor was macabre and dark.

Making fun of something is one of the ways we heal.

A subtext of this that's forgotten because McAuuliffe died is how inundated anyone in K-12 was with "There's a TEACHER going to space!  Did you hear?  A TEACHER!"

The very first thing I heard from a fellow student, as they announced the news on the PA, was, "now they're never going to shut up about her."

This was followed shortly by, "What's this button do?"

For you see... It was nobody we knew or cared about and children are cruel.

For a barometer of how much freedom has been lost in following 33 years:  My little skit would bring charges today instead of detention.


  1. I'd have liked to see it. I was sorry about the Challenger, but thought the "teacher in space" thing was a stupid gimmick. At the time they were gushing over teachers every chance they could. And my late uncle Vick was one of the people who testified at the investigation into the disaster.

  2. Hey Angus;

    The joke I used was that mcAuliffe took her class to the zoo, She said "Jimmy, you go and feed the giraffes, Johnny, you go and feed the Zebra's, I will go and feed the fishes..."


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