As the kids got to watch the inauguration proceedings projected up on our big, fantastic SMART Board, the history teacher announced to the class that it will be Lincoln's 200th birthday this year and that President Obama was sworn in on Lincoln's Bible, leaving them to ponder the enormity of that symbolism and the passage of time through vastly different ages in American history... Instead, we got this gem:
"Man, he 200 years old? He old. He still alive, right?"
I made fleeting eye contact with the history teacher, long enough for us both to recognize the sad horror in each other's souls.
Things lightened up, though, once he started talking about the "huge balls" each president had thrown about town and some of the kids snickered a bit. Apparently, "President Clinton had really expensive balls and more than most". In the name of frugality, "some presidents chose not to have any balls". To my colleague's credit, he did not hesitate once, nor give the look of regret I expected him to have. He's my rock. He continued to say "balls" with determined decorum throughout the quiet giggling where I would have yielded to a synonym and draw more attention to my recognizing the whole situation which would probably have distracted them further. Good for him.