by Kevin From Oostburg
From time to time, The Awl offers its space to everyday citizens with something to say.
Now that Governor Walker has proven he’s still the right man for the job in Wisconsin, perhaps it is time to offer some concessions to the one-million-plus people who voted for that other fellow yesterday. We know it sounds crazy, but it wouldn’t take much to get Wisconsin working again, in a harmonious way that makes sense to us all. The time is right for an olive branch from the Governor, and that should come in the form of an initiative known as the “Wisconsin Teacher State Guard.”
Teachers have the summer off, and they often spend it “futzing” around herb gardens or drinking chablis at the library as they reshelf their crummy Chaucer audiobooks. But hot on the heels of such a sour defeat, the “idle hands” offered by summer 2012 will likely lead teachers to stew, and concoct some other dumb and completely democratic recall-esque scheme.
I’d like to suggest a counter proposal: Wisconsin goes ahead and gives teachers back 1/8th of their benefits — but then puts them to work in a summer (and winter break) volunteer corps. Service in the Wisconsin Teacher State Guard should be mandatory for teachers at public schools in Wisconsin. They should each volunteer for no less than 35 hours a week until they go back to school in late August. Here are areas that currently need help.
• Now with all the obstacles out of the way, when Wisconsin is truly open for business and all the fracking begins, a teacher can grab a shovel or use some of the geometry they bore kids with in real life, and do stuff with like a crane, and a truck and how heavy stuff is, so that the fracking is a fracking success.
• They can sweep the floors at the Koch Brothers Georgia-Pacific plant.
• They can also lifeguard, in a non-sexual way. I know that a lot of teachers can’t wait to peel the bikinis off of teenagers of either gender, but let’s leave that to Wisconsin law enforcement officers who are more equipped to sweep it under the rug.
• They can storm South Beloit and return it to Wisconsin.
• They can be sent out in canoes into Lake Superior to make sure illegal aliens aren’t swimming across.
• They can spatula road kill off of I-94 near Tomah where it often becomes slick with raccoon fur and organs.
• They can make sure adults in the many Supper Clubs are drinking no more than 16 oz of bar rail vodka in one sitting.
• They can take out the bridge going to Stillwater, trapping Minnesota businessmen at the strip club on top of the hill, so they can be more easily blackmailed.
• They can lead tours of Bon Iver’s recording studio in Fall Creek, and also use their calculators to see how much he owes in state taxes.
• They can mow lawns at their own schools which grow like crazy during the summer and repair parking lots that are normally filled with all of their fancy late-model American cars during the school year.
• They can serve drinks at country clubs. Or at Walker’s new Davos Junior business conference.
• They can track wild cougars in Marathon county.
• They can officiate at ceremonies where gays marry tables. Why not let them do it and simply tax them, right, Kleefisch?
• A lot of people go nuts in the summer humidity in Wisconsin, and bludgeon someone then escape to the U.P. Let’s send a Teacher State Guard Swat team after them.
• They can get to work on changing all of the Indian names of stuff around here to normal American names. No?
The time has come for teachers to really know that we’re going to treat them as poorly the rest of us without union support get treated. Because our kids are friggin’ smart already. We should know. We made them. Teaching is a cush job that anyone could do. You write on a chalkboard. We get it. If you make a mistake you can just erase it. Big deal. Now go fill that pothole, in the wool Wisconsin Teacher State Guard uniform, the price of which, we already took out of your paycheck.
Kevin works for Channel 11 News and plays trombone for UW-Platteville’s Icicles Over Dixieland Band.