Tomorrow morning at 9:30 the Emperor will see me for 15 minutes.
Booking my sitting with the Emperor was an act of endurance that began five weeks ago, after my miserable experience in a public school classroom.
I will avoid the details of securing this 15-minute appointment at the Palace; suffice to say, this bureaucratic game of table tennis has been a marathon. If I were a generous donor to the Educational Foundation, my little tokhas would have been sitting atop a school district tuffet last month instead of tomorrow morning.
I am not Judge Blah with a title that suggests power.
I am not a journalist from the local paper.
I am neither a school board member nor a big shot from Beijing.
My pings go pong.
Since I have known every other Emperor of our District since 1958, this snub annoyed me.
So, on my way to buy a kebob for lunch today I took a nostalgic shortcut and drove by Maloney Elementary School. Naturally, I thought of Tom Maloney, the first of many school superintendents I would come to know.
Children, please stand up. Mr. Maloney, our Superintendent of Schools, is here to visit. Can you say good morning to Mr. Maloney?
Good Morning, Mr. Maloneeeeyyy all thirty voices obediently bleated.
Good Morning, children. I am in charge of all of the schools in our city. Do any of you have any questions about your school? Yes? What is your name?
Cheri Block, said a short little girl with a Buster Brown haircut.
What is your question, Cheri?
I don’t like fish sticks. Why does the cafeteria serve fish sticks every Friday?
Even back then, the superintendent dodged the question.
Fish sticks are good for you, Cheri.
Joey Santos, sitting in front of Cheri, leaned back and whispered, Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. I know, because I am Catholic.
What is your question, Ms. Sabraw?
Emperor Ping, are you aware that high school students are texting during class?
What does it matter when the students are blowing the lid off the SAT scores?
But Emperor, are you aware that students are texting under desks and in their pants?
What does it matter when 64 seniors at this high school were admitted to UC Berkeley for next fall?
Did you know that 4 out of every 6 teachers a student sees each day either aren’t aware (we call this clueless, your highness) or don’t care that their students are texting?
What does it matter, Madam, when administrators, teachers, parents, and students are not complaining to us at the Palace?
What about manners, decorum, the Educational Experience, and all that we should hold dear?
The Fu Dogs outside the Emperor’s door smiled obediently and passively as I left.