Happy day folks! Now, don't ask me where this came from; there are STRANGE doin's inside my noggin. I might have been thinking about the spider - (see below). Anywho, I got thinking about this education thing we do. Just sort of randomly plucking at thought strings, and I got into an internal conversation that went something like this: "Okay, Ed, what is it you do?" "Well, I'm a teacher." "No, I didn't ask your occupation, I asked what you DID." "What do mean?" "Okay Clyde, it's like this - you get paid to go to a classroom and impart all this wonderful stuff you call knowledge. You get paid to do it, so it's your occupation - got it?" "Okay, I'll bite. If my occupation isn't what I do, but I get paid to do it, than what do I do?" "That's what I'm asking you!" "Okay, okay, chill. What do I do? Well, I teach people how to read and write. I'd like to think that I also help them get to know themselves a bit better, so they can find their place in this cosmic joke we call 'life'." "Well, how grand of you - makes you feel pretty good doesn't it?" "Actually, it does." "So, Mr. "I'm a teacher', that brings us back to the original question - WHAT DO YOU DO?!!" "Hey, don't shout." [sound of brain gears creaking, grinding, and grudgingly starting up] You want to know what I do?" "Uh - I THOUGHT that was what I was asking you." "Okay, what I do? Hmm... Being' the impatient sort, you probabIy want the 'Cliff Notes' version. Here it is. I guess teaching is giving. Giving people tools and showing them how to use them. THAT'S what I do. Heck, I guess that's what I AM. I'm a tool-giver." Here's to you, fellow tool-givers. I've had the pleasure to "meet" some of you off-list. Made a few special friends. Others, I've had the pleasure of conversing with, and learning from, on the list. There are people out there who are a lot better off for having known you. I count myself among them. Ed. Here's the "Spider" story. Enjoy. excerpt from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum This is my neighbor. Nice lady. Coming out her front door, on her way to work and in her "looking good" mode. She's locking the door now and picking up her daily luggage: purse, lunch bag, gym bag for aerobics, and the garbage bucket to take out. She turns, sees me, gives me the big, smiling Hello, takes three steps across her front porch. And goes AAAAAAAAGGGGGGG GGHHHHHHHHH!!!!" (That's a direct quote.) At about the level of a fire engine at full cry. Spider web! She has walked full force into a spider web. And the pressing question, of course: lust where is the spider now? She flings her baggage in all directions. And at the same time does a high-kick, jitterbug sort of dance-like a mating stork in crazed heat. Clutches at her face and hair and goes "AAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" at a new level of intensity. Tries opening the front door without unlocking it. Tries again. Breaks key in the lock. Runs around the house headed for the back door. Doppler effect of "AAAAAGGGHHHHaaggh . . ." Now a different view of this scene. Here is the spider. Rather ordinary, medium gray, middle-aged lady spider. She's been up since before dawn working on her web, and all is well. Nice day, no wind, dew point just right to keep things sticky. She's out checking the moorings and thinking about the little gnats she'd like to have for breakfast. Feeling good. Ready for action. All of a sudden all hell breaks loose - earthquake, tornado, volcano. The web is torn loose and is wrapped around a frenzied moving haystack, and a huge piece of raw-but-painted meat is making a sound the spider never heard before: "AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" It's too big to wrap up and eat later, and it's moving too much to hold down. Jump for it? Hang on and hope? Dig in? Human being. She has caught a human being. And the pressing question is, of course: Where is it going and what will it do when it gets there? The neighbor lady thinks the spider is about the size of a lobster and has big rubber lips and poisonous fangs. The neighbor lady will probably strip to the skin and take a full shower and shampoo just to make sure it's gone-and then put on a whole new outfit to make certain she is not inhabited. The spider? Well, if she survives all this, she will really have something to talk about-the one that got away that was THIS BIG. And you should have seen the JAWS on the thing!" Spiders. Amazing creatures. Been around maybe 350 million years, so they can cope with about anything. Lots of them, too-sixty or seventy thousand per suburban acre. It's the web thing that I envy. Imagine what it would be like if people were equipped like spiders If we had this little six nozzled aperture right at the base of our spine and we could make yards of something like glass fiber with it. Wrapping packages would be a cinch! Mountain climbing would never be the same. Think of the Olympic events. And mating and child rearing would take on new dimensions. Well, you take it from there. It boggles the mind. Cleaning up human-sized webs would be a mess, on the other hand. All this reminds me of a song I know. And you know, too. And your parents and your children, they know. About the eensy-weensy spider. Went up the waterspout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. Out came the sun and dried up all the rain. And the eensy-weensy spider went up the spout again. You probably know the motions, too. What's the deal here? Why do we all know that song? Why do we keep passing it on to our kids? Especially when it puts spiders In such a favorable light? Nobody goes 'AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!" when they sing it. Maybe because It puts the life adventure in such clear and simple terms. The small creature is alive and looks for adventure. Here's the drainpipe-a long tunnel going up toward some light. The spider doesn't even think about it-just goes. Disaster befalls it-rain, flood, powerful forces. And the spider is knocked down and out beyond where it started. Does the spider say, to hell with that"? No. Sun comes out-clears things up-dries off the spider. And the small creature goes over to the drainpipe and looks up and thinks it really wants to know what is up there. It's a little wiser now-checks the sky first, looks for better toeholds, says a spider prayer, and heads up through mystery toward the light and wherever. Living things have been doing just that for a long, long time. Through every kind of disaster and setback and catastrophe. We are survivors. And we teach our kids about that. And maybe spiders tell their kids about it, too, in their spider sort of way. So the neighbor lady will survive and be a little wiser coming out the door on her way to work. And the spider, if it lives, will do likewise. And if not, well, there are lots more spiders, and the word gets around. Especially when the word is AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!"