The Star-News


Dressing for success and the classroom

Sat, Aug 17 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña

I think that as a general rule most South Bay citizens are oblivious to the weather.  The consensus seems to adhere to the old cliché that there ain’t nuttin’ you can do about it. So why concern yourself with it?

It is not altogether true that there is nothing that can be done about it.  I was reading somewhere that scientists in various universities are very much involved in changing the course of some of our weather. This is particularly true, and advantageous if it were aimed at some of those events that are so destructive.

For example toward that end they are looking for ways to change the course of hurricanes and send them seaward where they can vent their fury on the ocean whose only creatures could care less about a little wind.  All sorts of things are done with the space station.  Surely the learned folks who man and study on such crafts can find means of altering the course of Mimi or Jack or whatever name the next destructive one might have.

I must confess that I take more than a passing interest in weather. For one thing I went to sea for much of my adult life and had firsthand experience in weather of all types from tropical typhoons to waters that had a bathtub consistency.  I studied it to some degree but could never classify myself as a meteorologist or any of those learned climate experts. This amateur schooling, I suppose, is why I get mystified by the reports I receive on the evening news. Most of the time the weather guru is accurate and if his predictions are not on the money there is always tomorrow.

In my advancing age I note that I am becoming more susceptible to cold.  While those folks in my household are wondering why we don’t use the air conditioning I am rummaging around looking for another sweater.  My late wife, Zula, used to tell me that my blood was getting thin.  And that makes sense.

Imagine that oxygen carrying stream making that unimpeded journey throughout the system even reaching the nether regions, supplying that keeps us going.  The rich, red blood is like a delivery person doing a job supplying all our parts with the necessary nutrients.  And while it is doing this it is warding off the cold. So the thin blood of the old guy means that it is OK to don that winter underwear.

At this time of the year I should be dreading what is soon to come: the Santa Ana season.  In my teaching days the beginning of school was heralded by the first heat wave. That was the period of my life that could have used those cold spells.  My first classroom was what they used to call a bungalow.  It was one of those add-ons, a wooden rectangular structure that had been built during the war years.  There was, of course, no AC.  There was, however, a regimen to follow.  And the parents at my school strictly adhered to it.

It all began a few weeks earlier.  It went something like this.  The parent would load the student in the car and to the stores they would go.  They, no doubt, had a list that they had to follow, even though there was a certain amount of balking on the part of the student and, I suppose, the parent as well.  But new clothing was the ticket for first day of school “…and you, young man (lady) are going to make an impression.”

And that impression was made.  The young lady was decked out like someone attending a royal wedding, and the young man could make the cover of one of those gentleman publications.  That first day was a fashion show and, to be honest, it gave a little bit of class to the classroom.

Alas, it did not last long.  Santa Ana reared its hot head and that took care of the myriad of petticoats and other apparel that had been so attractive.  Within a very few days it was back to jeans and summer shirts.

I forgot to mention that the teacher also followed a regimen.  The first day, and every day thereafter, this teacher wore a coat and tie and a fresh shirt.  And I had no jeans to go back to.  Dress like a gentleman teacher.  I did and guess what:  I had one consolation. I wasn’t cold.


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