Conference Dinner Parties. Awkward.

I’ve decided when I attend a conference, I need to take some time to contemplate the experience before I blog about it (and on advice of counsel).

Plus, I’m usually jet-lagged and need to catch up on my sleep (advice from Buddy the Dog).

The exception to this plan is when something horrific happens during my travels and I feel the need to immediately post the details of the occurrence (humiliation is best shared with blog readers).dinner party

Sadly, my trip to Phoenix was pretty quiet.

Although two kind strangers went out of their way to make the trip slightly memorable.

First, I got felt up in the airport (thanks TSA guy named Dan… we always have those special 2 minutes together at 5:00 am in the St. Louis Airport).

And secondly there was a nice lady sitting next to me on the return flight who was kind enough to drop her half eaten breakfast burrito in my lap (I still smell like eggs, cheese, and salsa… ah, who am I kidding… I always smell like eggs, cheese, and salsa).

Travel stinks.

I don’t know how people do it as a regular part of their jobs.  But I digress.

The conference was great.

The one thing that sticks out is I felt like an idiot from the very beginning.

I know this is true because I am very familiar with this feeling.

It washes over me about twice a day.  Get up. Feel like an idiot.  Shower.  Shave (if I have to).  Go to work.  Feel like an idiot.

Welcome to my world.

This feeling becomes even more overwhelming when I’m asked to do one certain task.

Speak in public?


Eat a spider? 

No (and this is a whole different blog).

Face almost near certain death?

No.  This will be a nice break in my otherwise hectic existence.

What could possibly be worse than public speaking, eating spiders, and death?

The always awkward and painful pre-conference 5 hour dinner with total strangers.

If you haven’t experienced this odd human event, let me fill you in (and warn you).

They are a national conference staple.  Especially if the parties involved pay for your flight (Warning!  Warning!  Warning!)

Nothing in life is free (but if it is, please feel free to send it my way).


Not even death (Have you priced a funeral lately?).

If someone offers to fly you to a national conference, pay for your hotel suite (it’s a requirement of my contract… along with only certain colors of M & M’s), and feed you like a King (or Queen)… know one thing.

They are going to make you attend 1-3 conference dinners.

And they are long dinners.

And I mean looooooooooooooooooooooooong.

People (and by people, I mean women) give birth in less time (except my wife and she will be more than happy to tell you all about how long it was… and it seems to get longer each year)

Now my theory: If God wanted us to spend half a day eating dinner, he wouldn’t have invented fast food.

But that’s just me.

I don’t need 4 courses of food I can’t pronounce spread over 300 minutes with total strangers (which by the way aren’t strangers by the time you’re done eating).

You might be thinking I’m implying my dinner companions were boring, and it was painful for me to sit with them for this lengthy amount of time.

I am not.

I’m implying I’m so boring it’s painful for me to sit with me for this length of time.

This is especially true when I’m not sure if I should order the wild boar, seal, or the baby kitten (I’m telling you I had no idea what was on that menu).

The other challenge of spending this much time with strangers is you have to be interesting which is something I’m not willing to do.

This takes effort.

And I’m not that ambitious.

I would much rather listen than talk because quite frankly after 496 blogs, I need some new material.

Plus, probably the only thing that is remotely interesting about me is that I’m a superintendent who blogs.

This little fun-fact would make wonderful dinner conversation, but then I would have to explain what a blog is, why I do it, how many people read it, and how I’ve managed not to be fired from my day job.


Plus, if I mention this to the nice people at the dinner party they might be hesitant to talk about their lives because it could end up on this blog.

And they would be correct.

So if you invite me to a long-drawn out dinner party know 3 things.

One, I’m a busy man who likes to eat quickly.

Two, if you say it, I will use it against you (future blogs…  be afraid, very afraid).

And three, anything deep fried is tasty.  Including wild boar.

At least I think it was wild boar.

How many forks does one man need to eat dinner?  Correct answer:  One.

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Educators (and Everyone) Should Give Thanks.

Thanksgiving means several things.

Lots of birds die.

Give a Bird a Break.

Gas prices rise because everyone is driving.

Summer is gone and it’s not coming back.

The local news predicts terrible weather so you will tune in to their station (I think they cross their fingers for the year’s first horrific storm).

Football is on and the Detroit Lions are still bad.

Football is on and stuffing is still bad.  Don’t email me and say it’s great, because if it was, people would make it more than once a year.

Families get together and talk (although they should stay away from the following topics:  politics, race, religion, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Dancing With the Stars, American Idol’s new judges, TSA, and especially gas prices).

If your family has at least one educator (most have more… and some have a lot more) you shouldn’t speak of the things they aren’t thankful for:  NCLB, testing, lack of funds, more paperwork, high-maintenance parents, not enough technology, underperforming schools, meetings, government’s unrealistic expectations, and school food.

What all of you should talk about is kids.

We should all be thankful for them.

The next generation (and every one after that) has the opportunity to be our best generation (if adults don’t mess them up).

If you haven’t noticed the kids today aren’t terrible malcontents; they are smart.

Really smart.

Way smarter than we were at the same age (and very likely smarter than we are now).

They have the ability to do more (probably with less) than we ever did.

They will change things, which will make us old people nervous, but it will be for the better.

The world is in good hands and whether you are in education or not, you should be thankful for them.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

If you are a turkey, thank a vegetarian.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.