This morning I fired up my picture-window laptop and connected my molasses-slow internet before I headed off to do the weekly shopping. Hick was lounging about in his La-Z-Boy, and The Pony sat on the long couch ready to assist me in gathering our provisions.
I always check for any overnight comments to publish, and then catch up on breaking internet news. "Oh," I asked Hick, "did you read about those teachers who called the prosecuting attorney because they didn't want to be shot with pellet guns?" Hick is always up on the latest local news. I think he gets bored searching for beer company memorabilia on eBay all day. I had forgotten that Hick was off work Friday. So of course he hadn't received his dose of current happenings.
VAL: "There was an inservice drill, like we had last semester, about active shooter training. Except nobody shot at us with pellet guns. Our trainer asked for a volunteer to be a shooter, and gave him a fake gun, and he gave us clown noses to throw at him. Not real clown noses. Little soft red balls that looked like clown noses. The point was that anything thrown at you when you enter a room will take you by surprise and disrupt your aim, and give several people a chance to whack you with chairs and staplers and spray wasp killer in your face and jam pencils in your eyes and ears while everyone else runs out of the room. A few may die, but it buys time for everyone else. Yeah. It was so uplifting. So anyway, at this other school, they were shooting at teachers with pellet guns to make them terrified so they would move faster. They said it would be more realistic, but there were no students there to save that day."
HICK: "A pellet gun? They don't hurt. Genius has one downstairs. Pony! Go get that pellet gun and we'll shoot Mom."
The Pony rolled his eyes. Then he pursed his muzzle and looked at the ceiling. "Hmm. Nah."
VAL: "I'd like to thank you, Pony, for taking time to mull over that scenario before deciding not to shoot me. That just warms my heart. You really DO love me."
PONY: "Actually, I was rolling my eyes because I can't believe Dad said we were going to shoot you."
HICK: "We'll shoot you, too, Pony. It's not that bad."
VAL: "Then why did they have to put on protective goggles?"
HICK: "Well, you don't want to get hit in the eye. That might hurt you."
VAL: "So you're telling me that you could get away with that at work? You're on the safety committee. You go to those SHARP meetings. You think you could have a safety drill and shoot at your employees with pellet guns?"
HICK: "No! They'd have a fit and sue us. In fact, OSHA wouldn't allow us to do something like that."
PONY: "Yeah. That would not be good. Shooting pellets in a building with machines all over the place."
VAL: "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! It can't be done with factory employees, even though there are more workplace shootings than school shootings. It isn't good for machines, but it's good for TEACHERS? Everything if fine to do to teachers. Anything goes. The comments on that article are all saying that teachers should be shot at with pellet guns, or they won't try to save kids in a real emergency. That they should be fired if they don't want to be shot at with pellet guns. They're missing the point that you can have training without shooting teachers with pellet guns."
Maybe I should look into a career as a machine operator. Or a machine.