Alright, I’ll get on with it. I’ve been motivated to write by a new book I just procured, entitled “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.” I haven’t read any of it yet, but I already love it and the author — Sloane Crosley — because her bio includes this line: “She also wrote the cover story for the worst-selling issue of Maxim in that magazine’s history.” Ergo, I must finish these mind-numbing Texan tales before I can move on with my blog, become an honorary member of the Sedaris clan and ultimately land a book and movie deal.
Our Lone Star story picks up on Monday, the first day of the year’s biggest educational technology trade show. That day, I met the four riotously funny and tireless educators who were in San Antonio leading workshops and presentations for us — Teacher Patrice, Teacher Lorraine, Teacher Robert and Teacher Scott. Props to all four of you for a great job! If you’re interested in this kind of stuff, check out Scott’s blog — TeacherTech.
Pile of Bull
For the most part, these trade shows stink on ice. They are absolutely exhausting, wreak havoc on the hooves regardless of shoe-age, take place in hideously lit, massive exhibit halls, leave you unable to speak in complete sentences and, frankly, are just plain Boring McBoringstein. This one was no exception, but there were a few notable highlights. First of all, one of the booths had, as its centerpiece, a mechanical bull. Out of deference to Dave and Rob, I vowed to prove that I had an inner Texan and could stun all of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center with my unapproached ability to triumph over the bull. I’d be the talk of Bexar County — the 100-pound, midget Jew (in $150, low-rise jeans) from New York City who broke all bull riding records, ever. I’d be recruited for the Olympic rodeo team! Jan and Lew would be so proud. At last, I’d have found my special gift. What I had not counted on was how high or wide the bull would be. I had envisioned something similar in size to Merry-Go-Round ponies, which should have been my first clue, because Merry-Go-Rounds, along with taxis, elevators, planes, trains and automobiles, make me nauseous. It took the assistance of two Mexican mechanical bull engineers to lift me up. I was horrified. I was 10 feet off the ground! What the hell was I thinking? There was no way I could do this without becoming paralyzed. I would have to seek national glory and a gold medal some other way. Quickly, I attempted to dismount, but the bull was already starting to move in a clockwise direction. Hanging off the bull with one leg still wrapped around “him” and the rest of me dangling, my entire crack visible to all, I began screaming hysterically to Jorge. “I can’t do it! I can’t do it! I need to get off! Stop! Help!” Thankfully, he did, and I received my “Yee-Haw! I Rode the Mechanical Bull at Booth 8659!” button despite my complete and utter humiliation.
After the catastrophic results of my date with the mechanical bull — which left my thighs so sore I could barely walk — I attempted to come to terms with the fact that I am just a nerd in good clothes and lip gloss. If I wanted to join the rodeo, I’d have to do it as a clown or as an employee of the Bud Lite concession stand. But redemption was actually just down the ginormous aisle. While making the rounds in search of free candy, I noticed that another booth was running computerized, interactive games of Jeopardy! I sized up the competition. Sure, the gathered group was comprised of teachers who had devoted their lives to imparting knowledge, and sure, knowledge was power. But I could take ’em. And I did. I scored 76,000 points, due largely to my knowledge of Ponce de Leon and Eastern European capitals. The bull may have beaten me, but I became the all-time conference Jeopardy! champ. I beamed as history and science teachers from around the country looked at me with amazement. The sales rep told me that I’d done so well I’d be asked to participate in an all-star round at the next big conference. I continued to beam, before a co-worker told me he was kidding. I did not go home empty-handed though. I was allowed to take as many bite-sized Snickers as I wanted.
Remember the Alamo
No trip to San Antonio would be complete without a trip to the world-famous Alamo, site of what may be the only Texan Revolution battle anyone anywhere can name. Of course, it was the historical importance I cited when I reported that I’d be taking an extended lunch break to visit the Alamo. But let’s be real. What I really wanted to see was the place where, in 1982, Ozzy Osbourne had lifted up the dress he was wearing and taken a big ol’ Texan leak on the national landmark. Oddly enough, there was nothing denoting that particular spot. I did, however, pose for a photo with a menacing Texas ranger by the name of Officer Ramirez.
The Marriott Spa
To thank us for all the manual labor, the CEO of our small company offered to treat us to massages at the hotel’s spa. I was concerned about the credentials of the spa’s staff – after all, what kind of expert Shiatsu or Swedish masseur ended up in San Antonio? I did, however, desperately need a pedicure, and opted to use my spa time for that purpose. My sister wisely suggested that I bring my own nail polish, because outside of major metropolitan areas, one can never be sure there will be a decent selection of hues. (I was once stuck, in Michigan, with a choice of frosty turquoise, fire engine red and crusty bubble gum pink.) I hit the mall that abutted the hotel and purchased a bottle of “Clutch Me If You Can,” a delightful cherry-chocolate shade. The Texan pedicure was actually quite good, but the “technician” made me a little sad for some reason. She asked a lot of questions about New York (she’d never been) and seemed to think that life there was very glamorous. (It ain’t.) She also told me several times how pretty she thought “Clutch Me If You Can” was. At the end of the procedure, I asked her if she might like to keep the bottle so that her other customers could enjoy it. She was so touched I thought she was going to cry. I didn’t want to make anyone cry, but I was glad to do something nice. I figured it was good karma for all the snide comments I’d made throughout my time in San Antonio.
That evening at dinner, riotously funny PG said he wasn’t going to avail himself of the free massage and gave me his gift certificate. Sore muscles trumped my concerns over the qualifications of the massage staff, and I underwent a 30-minute treatment when we were done packing up the booth the next afternoon. Stupidly, I had expected that the masseur would be a muscular, wholesome-looking Texan who obviously ate steak three times a day and had a name like Ricky or Danny. Alas, the guy was about my height and size, with a voice so soft and gentle it literally gave me chills. Every time he asked me to shift positions or told me what he was going to do, I shuddered. I wanted to ask him if he really spoke like that in the outside world, but I didn’t want to encourage him to open his creepy mouth. I felt bad and tried to blame the shuddering on the compressed nerve endings that I claim short people have. Ick. And, I’m fairly sure I flashed him inadvertently when rolling over. Ick again!