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Posted by JD on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 , under | comments (6)

There is something....very....disturbing...about the time and energy the black community puts into this subject.

Throwback Post: Choosing a Man is like Choosing Peanut Butter

Posted by JD on , under | comments (1)

I have always hated making decisions.

Decisions are stressful for me. Simple ones like whether to buy a shirt in red or blue are paralyzing. When I’m shopping and I’m faced with such a difficult choice I typically give up and choose neither. I’d rather make no choice at all then to make the wrong one.

Inevitably, when I leave the store I wonder if not making a choice at all was actually, in fact, a bad choice.

My lack of decisionmaking prowess is an issue every month when I shop for peanut butter. I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER. I keep one jar of peanut butter at work, and the other jar in my bed. Yes, in my bed. PB is high protein filling, and delicious. If I get hungry in the middle of the night, I feel around for my peanut butter, pop the jar open, grab the spoon wrapped in a napkin on top of my nightstand and dig in. I keep a bottle of water on my nightstand as well for these emergencies.

Since I love PB sooooo much, you would think I prefer a particular brand. I don’t. Every month when I purchase two jars of peanut butter I compare price with chunky vs. creamy. Then I try to remember all the brands that were killing people. I try to avoid those, but if they are really tasty I’ll buy them anyway. I can’t commit to a PB in fact, I can barely choose a PB to settle on.

I’ve stood in the PB aisle for up to 20 minutes and just ended up grabbing the 2 PBs closest to me. I can tell you right now, just grabbing the nearest 2 resulted in regret many times. So now when I can’t make a decision, much like shirt shopping, I leave the store without PB in tow knowing damn well I don’t like to sleep without it!

I have the same relationship with men that I have with peanut butter.

So many choices…so many possibilities…so hard to choose one. And when I can’t, I ditch them all and start over. I’m either with a lot of peanut butter, I mean men, or without any! In other words, I’m either not dating anyone at all or dating like 7 people I can’t keep straight or choose between.

Everytime I meet a man I compare tall vs. short, skinny vs. chunky…one minute I’m in the mood for Clinton Portis, next minute I’m in the mood for Robert from Day 26—no correlation at all. But unlike a jar of peanut butter, you can’t just hurry up and finish a man so you can try a new one.

All I need is 2 spoonfuls of PB to know if I like it, with men, it takes much longer to figure out if this is one of those brands that be killing people…or, if the time/emotional price is too much to pay for a sampling. All of these questions come in to play when I consider committing to a product or a relationship.

Right now none of the men that I am getting to know have enough of the right qualities…I have a feeling I need to ditch this bunch and try something new. A couple months ago, I tried almond butter and nutella to replace peanut butter. I liked it.

Not sure what the metaphorical equivalent is when it comes to men…but until I solve my PB commitment issues, I think my relationship commitment issues will persist.

Paying Teachers is Not the Answer

Posted by JD on Sunday, March 7, 2010 , under | comments (1)

I ran across a story in Newsweek about why failing teachers SHOULD be fired. This article, written on the cusp of a controversy in Rhode Island where teachers who were making, on average 74K a year, balked at spending additional time with students. The superintendent threatened to fire them.

From what I can discern, he did the right thing.

Teachers don't have it easy. I think most of us know that. But overall, teaching is still a cushy enough job that people who can't decide what to do with their lives choose it as a fall back plan. I can't tell you how many of my friends who couldn't make it in their respective industries, or couldn't decide on a job path to pursue, "settled" into teaching citing benefits, job security, and summers off as perks.

People typically don't voluntarily 'settle' into truly shitty careers--even in a recession. Okay you have to stay late and spend time at home grading papers. I get it. But how many of the rest of America stays late at their jobs and takes work home on weekends? I'm not sure why we expect teachers to be different, especially in an increasingly competitive society.

I look back on the time spent in public schools and it amazes me how woefully underprepared I was for college. It didn't surprise me when a former classmate of mine informed me that 50% of students in my hometown end up dropping out of school.

I heard someone hypothesize that the reason teachers are so shitty today is because teaching was a job traditionally held by the smartest women in a community. But nowadays those same women who would have taught have gone on to climb the corporate and government ladder. I think there's some validity to this. Can't you just imagine Hillary Rodham Clinton teaching a class of 5th graders had our country not progressed enough to handle a female Secretary of State/Presidential candidate? This is, of course, a very harsh way of saying "those who can't do, teach."

It's also only part of the issue. The unfortunate fact is that the difficulties with education in America is not the fault of teachers. America as a whole does not place a priority on education. However, every time I see teacher's unions, political candidates, and education experts talking about pay and performance, I wonder why there isn't more of an emphasis on fixing curriculum and quality of life at work. Surely, those types of fixes would make teachers a lot more comfortable in the long-term. Liking your job and feeling appreciated and successful means more than money to most people especially if you've entered a field that you love.

All in all, I can't support throwing more money at teachers. Teaching doesn't happen in a while money may pacify individual teachers who are doing as good a job as they can within an extremely flawed and limiting system, it does nothing to prepare our nation's children for future success over the long haul.