The first few students that saw me today gave me odd looks.
"What's the occasion?" one asked.
"Why are you all dressed up?" someone else said.
From another: "Wow, big date later?"
And then, my favorite: "Oh my God, you look like a Republican!"
The occasion? I wore a tie today. This was the first time wearing one--and probably the first time tucking in a shirt--all school year. Usually, I'm Casual Man. Sweater or polo, pair of khakis, and Doc Martens or Chuck Taylors. Today, I was going on a field trip to the Steppenwolf to see a production of "The Elephant Man." And I felt like looking good. So I put on a shirt and tie.
Students weren't the only ones to comment. "Ooh, don't you look nice?" said just about every female teacher in the building. Guys started talking about the politics of wearing a tie.
"It's a symbol of male authority," said one teacher that always wears a tie.
"It's too intimidating to the population at this school, so I don't even wear one for report card pick-up," said another.
"Hey, you look GQ," said a fat guy that always wears a too-tight, short-sleeved shirt and tie.
Since everyone started asking what the occasion was, I decided to have some fun. "I have a job interview after school today," I started saying to anyone who asked.
"Because I want to work at a school where students are respectful ... and turn in their work on time."
"Are you serious?"
"Of course I'm serious. I want to work somewhere where students take me seriously."
Kids were divided. Was I serious? Or just kidding around? And why would I spread rumors about myself?
I went off to the theater, came back, and ran into some students that hadn't been on the field trip.
"Where were you today?" one asked. "And why are you all dressed up?"
"Oh, I just got back from a job interview," I said.
"Really? Are you leaving?" a girl asked.
"Yeah, he's telling the truth," a boy answered. "I heard earlier that he's leaving."
That rumor was easy to start and spread. I just wonder who might have given him that phony information.