Tuesday, April 22, 2014

To Quote My Grandmother: Why are Teenager's So Stupid?: In the Clutch

Just as some teenagers are too cool to come to school, I am too cool to show up to work.

At least that's what I tell myself.  I'm actually not too cool, or too sexy, for anything; I'm just overbooked.  I commit to more things than my old, tired mind and body can managed without doing things like . . . missing work. And cloning me . . . not a good idea.  Think Orphan of Mass Destruction.
In my defense, many of the reasons why I miss work is because of work.  As your brow furrows at what seems to be a paradox, all I have to say is welcome to public (not pubic) education. Recently, I volunteered to chaperon an overnight fieldtrip, took grading days to plow through 80 in-class essays, and had to go to an all-day meeting at the district office.

My students have mixed feelings about my absences: they enjoy turning their inner (and outer) rowdy selves loose (there is something about a substitute that brings out the little demon in even the most serious student), but I usually leave a boat-load of work to keep them busy.  Also, no substitute is more entertaining than I am.

But substitutes are getting better looking. At my high school, there is one young woman and one young man who are very easy-on-the-eyes.  Every time I announced to my classes that I'll be gone, I am bombarded with students asking, "Can you get Miss ---- or Mr. ----- to sub?"  I try to acquiesce. I don't care if it's good looks or an iron will that keeps my class in line; as long as I come back to no complaints and no blood, I am happy.  Unfortunately, I am not always successful in making my students happy (actually, I am seldom successful at making them happy) but when a couple weeks ago I announced that Miss -------, a very young, sweet and lovely young woman would be subbing for them, one of my male students called out, "In the clutch!"

This slightly alarmed me.  Was this an obsessed student plotting to kidnap Miss -------? Did he mean that she was nearly in the clutch of his desire?  To me, the noun version of "clutch" is either a tight grip or that damn pedal in a stick shift car that made it impossible for me to get out of first gear as a teenager.

"What does that mean exactly?" I asked my student, wanting to make sure that Miss ----- was not walking into a compromising situation.

The young man smiled, "It means 'to my benefit'."

I surveyed the rest of the class to see if this was one of those "slang" words exclusive to only a small group of friends (aka inside joke), but most of the class nodded in agreement with their classmate.  Of course, they had no idea where such a phrase originated. 

I can't find any correlation between "in the clutch" and "to my benefit." The former has a anxious, foreboding tone; the latter, optimistic.  Different prepositions, an article replaced by a personal pronoun, and two nouns with antonymous definitions make connecting these difficult even for a woman who has a Master's degree is bullshitting (aka English)

Urban Dictionary didn't have a definition for "in the clutch" but defines clutch as an ability "to perform under pressure" and is synonymous with "beast" and "boss." It's beneficial to be beast and boss, but that didn't quite carry over to the context in which the student was using the phrase.  My students wouldn't be performing under any kind of pressure: Miss ----- is just too sweet.

Not sure why this student thinks having Miss ------- is "to his benefit" and quite honestly, I didn't ask.


  1. When I hear "in the clutch" I think baseball, or is it some other sport? That's what that phrase means to me.

  2. Almost correct and the subs were quite hot... but so are you.


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