I got an email last night from an old friend of mine pointing me to a blog where I learned one of my favorite teachers has passed away.
I don't remember much about high school with fondness. Of course there were some high points but, for the most part, it was shit. And, as far as teachers go, there were but a handful who managed to make a difference in my life. Of those, Mr. Menard probably looms the largest.
It was through Mr. Menard that I really found joy in writing. It was his pedagogy that most prepared me for university. His exams were perfect precursors for "blue books" and helped me gather my thoughts into paragraphs when other teachers were happy with regurgitating bullet points. I'm sure he'd be appalled by the hell he helped wrought in Cashiers du Cinemart or maybe he would have managed to find a few sentences that stood up to his high standards.
I didn't have much interaction with the same teacher for more than two semesters apart from Band, Math, and Mr. Menard. Through several semesters of history (American, World, etc), Civics, and Religion, he was the steadfast presence in my scholastic career. I imagine that's why so many of his "catch phrases" still pepper my speech today.
Some famous "Menardisms":
- "Don't just sit there like the flea on the fly on the wart on the frog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea." (from the famous camping song)
- "This is not a barroom! My name is not 'Mabel!'" (from the Black Label campaign)
- "I'm appalled! But, then again, I am a Paul."
- "The sun always shines on Ann Arbor."
- "You're vociferating in an obstreperous manner."
- "I am the Emir of the East, the Wizard of the West, the Sage of the South, and the Nanook of the North."
I'd say that there were "many others" but Mr. Menard always hated the vagueness of "many." I could get away with "several" and "numerous" but "many" was taboo.
I never went back to see Mr. Menard after high school graduation, though many others did. It was a common occurrence for class to be momentarily disrupted by a Riverview Community High School alumnus coming back to visit the emir from Escanaba. Then, as now, he will be fondly remembered.
Fight, fight for Esky High.
Sweep down the field/court to victory;
Each time you score men,
The thunders roar men,
In dashing, crashing, smashing jubilee
Rah! Rah! Rah!
On men, on to the goal,
We want a touchdown/basket, we want this game.
You've got that mighty, fighty spirit
That brings to glory old Esky's name.
Yeh ORANGE - Yeh BLACK
YEH ESCANABA, FIGHT RIGHT BACK!!