The Adventures of ALS Boy

A middle-school math teacher documents his joyful life while battling the evil forces of ALS.

Telling Tales Out of School

It Could Happen to You

The story that you are about to read is true. The names have been omitted to protect the identities of those involved.

Once upon a school day, there was a teacher who taught middle school. One of the teacher's students was hearing impaired and in order for this particular student to access the lesson being taught, the teacher was asked to wear a tiny lapel microphone in class each day. Whenever the teacher spoke, the microphone would transmit the sound of the teacher's voice into a small speaker/hearing aid device located in the student's ear.

This method of communication was more than adequate in enabling the student to hear the lecture and take part in any class discussions. The only potential problem that could arise would be if the student forgot to hand the teacher the microphone at the beginning of the period. Being an organized and conscientious student, this situation rarely happened. In reality, the opposite was often true: the teacher forgot that the microphone was even attached to their lapel.

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One spring day, the teacher finished lecturing a bit early and decided to allow the students to begin their homework for the evening during the time remaining in class. As the teacher circulated amongst the students offering encouragement and providing assistance to those who required it, the teacher began to experience the early warning signs of gastrointestinal distress.

After another go round of helping students in need, the teacher casually wandered over to a distant and unoccupied corner of the classroom in order to get a little relief for the escalating gas problem. Upon arriving there, the teacher gave in to the unbearable urge and blasted several farts in rapid succession. A cursory glance at the students revealed no obvious signs of audible detection so the teacher continued with another wave of flatulence aimed at the corner of the room.

Satisfied and relieved, the teacher began to make the rounds once again, pleased that no one had heard the farting that had just occurred. All was as it should have been until the teacher got to the desk of the hearing impaired student. What the teacher saw stopped the teacher in her tracks. A look of utter and abject horror was plastered across the student's face as the teacher realized a moment or so too late that the microphone was still attached to the lapel. The student had heard every single fart, quite clearly in fact.

Neither of them acknowledged the incident to each other at the time nor in any other class the two of them shared for the remainder of the school year. Although the event was never spoken about in public or in private, there is no doubt in my mind that neither of them ever forgot what happened during that fateful moment when the teacher didn't think anyone was listening.

 

Jason Picetti lived life with ALS by six simple words: Speech and movement compromised, spirit unaffected. He died on October 2011.

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