“Don’t take it personally,” the teacher told me brusquely. “It’s just that they’ve never seen anyone like you before. A man—obviously tough—who’s not a gangster.”
I don’t know how tough I am—they were fourth-graders; I guess I could’ve taken most of them in a fair fight one-on-one—but that’s not what she was getting at. Her point was that you have to take just one look at me to see what, in fact, I am: an unapologetic, because-I-said-so, head-of-household male. They used to call us “husbands” and “fathers” back in the day. That’s what these kids had never seen.
The teacher told me that she once had to explain to the class why her last name was the same as her father’s. She dusted off the whole ancient ritual of legitimacy for them—marriages, maiden names, and so on. When she was done, there was a short silence. Then one child piped up softly: “Yeah . . . I’ve heard of that.”
Read the rest of Andrew Klavan's article here.
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