Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kids say the darndest things

Today, I dressed up as Abraham Lincoln. I had the top-hat, the suit, the beard (which I tried to shave into a Lincoln-esque style). What I don't have, apparently: the height or dark enough hair. Ah well, let the critics complain!

This was my 2nd year of donning the top-hat; I suppose that makes it a tradition? The occasion last year (and this year) was student presentations on the Civil War. This year, the presentations fell on an exam day, so it was rather quiet around school and due to the intense presentation schedule during our exam block, I could not do anything fun or creative as Lincoln for my Humanities students. I did, however, get invited to read "The Night Before Christmas" to the Kindergarten class. That was fun, although, most did not recognize me as Lincoln and instead kept asking me to perform magic tricks (the top hat clearly misled them).

I did attempt to do several tricks, which resulted in hilarity and some great quotes from the kids. However, nothing will top what happened last year. I am fairly certain most who read this will have heard this story already as I told just about everybody who would listen. I don't think I've ever written it out before, though, so now's my chance to do that.

After school on the day that I'd dressed as Lincoln, I was sitting out in the plaza skyping with my mom to show off my Lincoln get-up. A short while later, an elementary school boy (I'd say 2nd or 3rd grade), approached the bench I was sitting at.

After several long moments during which I was keenly aware of him gaping at me in disbelief, he spoke up:

"Are you Mr. Lincoln?"

"I am, son, I am." I said, speaking in an affected, deep voice that likely bore no resemblance to Lincoln's actual voice (which is said to have been high-pitched and squeaky).

More gaping. Slowly he turned, and began to walk away.

Then, he stopped and turned around purposefully, and perhaps just a bit accusingly:

"Is it true that you crucified Jesus?"

I was speechless. I glanced at my mom on Skype and she was laughing, and I assumed a face of the utmost gravity, biting my tongue to keep from laughing as my mind raced for some reasonable response to his question.

Several seconds later.

"No. That wasn't me. It was a lie spread by my enemies to make me seem like a bad president."

After a second of thought, it appeared the boy decided that my answer was good enough:

"Oh. Okay!"
He smiled and kept walking.

Once he was out of earshot, I started laughing and didn't stop for quite some time.

I feel like I am fairly good at keeping a straight-face when I have to, but I don't know that I've ever had to fight so hard.

Elementary teachers, my hat is off to you...

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