Important things (via Chuck Norris)

By Mir
November 17, 2009

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am trying with all of my might to continue to believe in the public school system in this country—and, more importantly, in my current county—but that recent circumstances are making that harder and harder. I have become That Mother, the one with all of the EMAILING and PHONE CALLING and, um, gray hair.

So on the one hand, we’ve got Monkey’s Situation, the Cliff Notes summary of which is: Gosh, I hope you don’t have a special needs child who gets good grades, because the school is not at all interested in doing jack for you if so. (Me, to Monkey: Your choices are to either un-special yourself or fail the standardized tests next time, do you hear me?) (Monkey, to me: Huh?)

On the other hand, we’ve got Chickadee’s Situation, the Cliff Notes summary of which is: Mystery illness ahoy, with a side of “I hate school” and a garnish of “I hate everything, actually, on account of I am a tween girl.”

And then, of course, there is Chuck Norris.

I seem to remember the whole Chuck Norris Facts thing being big a few years ago, but in case you haven’t heard, middle schoolers have pretty much invented everything worth reading on the Internet. And also—getting back to public school—our tax dollars are hard at work, you know, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when Chickadee came home yesterday smirking and informing her brother that if he had five dollars and Chuck Norris had five dollars, Chuck Norris would have more money. (Monkey, to Chickadee: Huh?)

And lest you think that Chickadee’s pals were merely DISCUSSING Chuck Norris yesterday, oh my NO, let me explain how this came about. You see, last week when Chickadee appeared to be on death’s door, or at the very least, all southern and fainty and whatnot, she missed three consecutive days of school. I called the school on Friday, all worried-like, saying that Hi, my daughter has missed three days of school, could her teachers possibly gather up her missed work so that I could come pick it up and she could catch up over the weekend? Pretty please? And could someone either call or email me to let me know it was ready?

I called at 8:00 in the morning. At 2:30 I was copied on an email from her math teacher to some of the other teachers, stating that I’d called in asking for her work. I immediately mailed that teacher back and said, “Thanks for doing that. By the way, do YOU have any work for Chickadee?” I didn’t get a response until 4:30—which, on a Friday, is after pretty much everyone has left the school—giving me a few assignments she could do in her textbook. Her textbook which was in her locker. At the now-locked-up school. So. I was a little miffed that no one had bothered to actually get back to us in a timely manner, and I was terrified that Monday was going to bring wailing and gnashing of teeth over how much catch-up work she had to do.

This brings us back to Chuck Norris. (No, really.) Apparently Chickadee went to school on Monday and her teachers were all “meh” or “here’s your work” and she finished it in five minutes. And nothing gives a person a warm, fuzzy feeling like knowing that her child’s education is so demanding that she can catch up on three missed days in the space of ten minutes. So even though she was THEORETICALLY “catching up” in social studies, even with that AND whatever “work” (I feel like I have to use quotation marks, now, given the dubious nature of said work) the class was doing, apparently they ended up with ample time to free-Google stuff at the end of the class.

And that turned into a an orgy of Chuck Norris facts. (Also, I was informed—through giggles—a short detour into finding out that you don’t find Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris finds you.)

This was, apparently, the most hilarious thing EVER, and while I wondered what (if anything) the child is actually LEARNING at school, both children commenced swapping Chuck Norris “facts” all afternoon, and well into dinner. At one point Otto—quite befuddled by this new fascination—asked Chickadee if she even knows who Chuck Norris IS.

“Sure,” said Chickadee. “He’s, like, a really old actor or something. He’s like… 40.” (Otto and I exchange A Look across the table. Right before we expired from old age, of course.)

Dinner was understandably quite the raucous affair, what with the constant barrage of “I can eat this whole ear of corn in one minute,” and “Chuck Norris could eat that entire PLATTER of corn in one minute!” and “I can drink my milk in three seconds,” and “Chuck Norris could drink your SPLEEN in three seconds,” and so on and so forth. The children grew louder and louder, and Monkey’s guffaws only served to fuel Chickie’s insistence on coming up with new and more ridiculous things to say to him, and I found myself adding to the fire, too (“Chuck Norris is waiting for you under your bed, Monkey!”), and poor Otto—who probably misses eating meals in silence from his bachelor days—just sat there eating and shaking his head as the declarations flew around.

I began to wait for the point where Otto would have had enough and would call for everyone to settle down and please stop, he’s trying to eat, and everyone needs to get off his lawn. Because I love the guy, but he can be a little curmudgeonly when it comes to mealtime exuberance.

We were close, I knew, when Monkey began actually gasping for air, which of course only made Chickadee gesticulate more wildly and continue on with ridiculous proclamations (“Chuck Norris is in your underwear! Chuck Norris doesn’t laugh hard, he IS humor!”), and finally, hunched over his plate and nearly choking, Monkey sputtered, “STOP IT, CHICKIE. I’m going to shoot corn out of my NOSE!”

Well, that made her stop. We all looked at Monkey, who took a few deep breaths and looked a little less like he was going to require the Heimlich at any moment.

“I would pay good money to see that,” I finally commented, as both children cracked up again, and Otto pushed back from the table and rolled his eyes.

“DON’T ENCOURAGE HER!” he pleaded with me.

“I’m not encouraging HER,” I said. “I’m saying I’d pay good money to HIM to see that.”

“But then she’ll keep egging him on, and then… oh, forget it,” Otto threw his hands up in the air. Silence descended again. The kids and I snuck glances at each other, all of us working at squelching our giggles.

“Besides,” said Otto, picking up his fork again and using it to point at Monkey’s plate, “Chuck Norris could blow the WHOLE EAR of corn out of his nose.”

This is the beauty of my child’s public school education melded with the sanctity of the family dinner, people. Don’t be jealous.


  1. Randi

    HA HA HA – yeah – it’s gotta be rough, having a child’s school that you can’t believe in – but at least you guys can find some humor in the situation!!

  2. Frank

    Agreed that, in order to MAKE Chuck Norris jokes, one should at least KNOW who he is…. I say FORCE her to sit through a Walker: Texas Ranger marathon and see if all they hype over him is true. Then tell her that Chuck Norris was IN the TV redoing all the episodes just for her enjoyment….
    And, by the way? Chuck Norris can totally beat up your public schools… with his pinky toe!

  3. Alicia

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you that the Chuck Norris thing was quite big with the deployed Soldiers of my husband’s unit in 2007, albeit somewhat more grown up and non-PG. I’d ask how his day was and he would share the latest Chuck Norris-ism. in case you’re wondering, their opinion was that Chuck Norris could take care of the whole terrorism thing before breakfast.

  4. Lisa

    Apparently I have been under a rock and missed the whole Chuck Norris thing – I have been sitting her laughing like crazy… my kids would love it too…well, maybe my 10 yr. old. My 16 yr. old doesn’t love anything right now…. he is too cool to care.

  5. Megan

    Dang it. My two culturally-aware kids are gradumagated leaving me with the Child who says things like, “know what? This German band I like? Oomph? Has this video? Where a kid counts? And it’s TOTALLY CREEPY! CREEPY COUNTING GERMAN KID! HA!” How the heck am I supposed to keep up with what’s hip and cool with that sort of update, hmmm?

  6. Leila

    I think that I need the abbreviated biography of Chuck Norris. I feel so dumb. Where have I been all these years???

  7. Amanda

    I feel so uneducated now, as well as exceptionally thankful we’re homeschooling. Although I recognize the name Chuck Norris, and seem to have some inkling that he possesses an excess of testosterone, I have no idea what this post means, other than Chuck Norris can one-up you much of the time. Still, somehow, I also managed to get a good chuckle out of it (though no food escaped my mouth or nose). :)

  8. Groovecatmom

    Wait, your middle schooler gets to free Google things at school? Unsupervised? I am going to crawl back under my rock now. Maybe Chuck Norris will be there, with his corn.

  9. Aimee

    I’ve always thought that there would be nothing Chuck Norris could do that would make me pay to see him in a movie, but I do believe that if I knew FOR SURE that he would blow an entire ear of corn out his nose, I would buy a ticket.

  10. MichaelB

    Just remember-

    Chuck Norris doesn’t do push ups – the ground is getting pushed down!

  11. ChristieNY

    hee hee hee hee hee – LOVE IT!

  12. Chuck

    I forget what I wasted time on before the internet was around. My school didn’t have much in the way of computing back in the 80’s (public school, not well funded, etc.) so I think I just read books a lot.

  13. mamalang

    my middle schooler missed 4 days for a family trip, then 3 days being sick…that’s a week and a half of school. It took her 30 minutes to make up ALL OF HER WORK. Some of it they told her not to worry about at all. Thank goodness she’s a smart kid, huh?

  14. Flea

    I am SO jealous. Otto’s a good man, Charlie Brown. :)

  15. Heather

    Haha I love the Chuck Norris jokes.

  16. Anna

    Right. I hope you mean “free-Google on the computer very tightly secured from icky websites” time.
    I know what Chuck Norris means, though. I suggest the above commenters search for Norris in the Pieces of Flair thingy on facebook. (“Facebook?”)

    Mir, the school thing really does suck. And not that I’m pushing or suggesting AT ALL, but it seems the growing population of homeschoolers right now are the IEP kids because IEP apparently stands for “In Education Purgatory.” I hope you can get the services you need to help your kids.

    And now, my apostrophes are tired.

  17. Crista

    LMAO at the dinnertime scene!

  18. Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck

    When I worked in the office a few years ago, my officemate would put a Chuck Norris quote-of-the-week on the whiteboard, and everyone in our office would come check it. Every week. And now we have a full BOOK of Chuck Norris-isms that my Mother got my Husband, and damn if they aren’t really funny!

  19. wafelenbak

    I am dying. I am sorry for your disappontment in the school, but happy that Chuck Norris brought your family together over dinner. :)

  20. jenn

    I had what was thought to be either Mono or Chronic Fatigue … or something (never figured out) in 7th Grade. I missed a ton of school, I didn’t do any work at home that I can remember other than reading for novel study, and still came out with straight A’s. I think that they just expect a bit less from the first hormone addled years because it seems that some of the kids just can’t cope with it.

    Example: I live in Canada, where temperatures are below zero for half of the year and the kids in my class could not wrap their brains around negative numbers. To this day I haven’t figured that one out.

  21. Katie in MA

    God bless Google! :) At least her class is learning how to figure everything out later that they’re not learning now: Google it.

  22. Jamie

    Too funny, Mir! I am picturing Otto and laughing!

  23. Half Assed Kitchen

    My six year old son, when i don’t have an answer for one of his gazillions of questions, often crows, “Ask Google. Google’ll know!”

  24. Sara

    My daughter’s 7th grade English composition is a Chuck devotee. He has posters all over the room of Chuck saying things like “Chuck doesn’t like comma splices” and “WWCND” (What Would Chuck Norris Do).
    My daughter thinks her teacher is corny. I might have a weensie Mom-crush on his 23 year old self and his new teacher enthusiasm.
    When I went in for Meet the Teacher Night, I listened to everything he had to say, but really, he had me at Chuck.

  25. Gina

    Free Google, eh. I suspect that it is monitored because what elementary school isn’t, but is this a skill that seriously need to be taught. All kids I know that are around Chickadee’s age are well versed in the arena of Googling.

    I missed the Chuck Norris jokes..but your family makes me laugh.

  26. Nicki

    Once again…I am astonished at the striking similarities between our lives. Rachel and her BFF were looking up the Chuck Norris stuff on Tuesday night. And, for the record, there are no monsters under Chuck Norris’ bed, since they all fear him…or the closet, for that matter.

    Glad Otto (or is it notOtto…) is growing to embrace his new life. Hope I can find an Otto to embrace mine. :)

  27. Olive Cooper

    My daughter graduated from a large Georgia high school. She graduated with honors. She can’t do math. How do you graduate with an A average but not understand algebra? BTW we love Chuck Norris humor here also.

  28. Kate

    Love that Otto.

    I was never a Chuck Norris fan, but fortunately the same jokes circulate about Jack Bauer. He could kick Chuck’s ass any day. So, there’s always more to google on a day that Chickie isn’t so overwhelmed with make-up work :)

  29. ben

    Chuck Norris was here (like, physically, not in the normal sense that Chuck Norris is Everywhere) signing books at the mall a week or two ago. Apparently there is a book of Facts.

    That said, here are some education facts about Chuck Norris that you can share with your children:

    Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

    When Chuck Norris does division, there are no remainders.

    Chuck Norris knows the last digit of pi.

    Chuck Norris counted to infinity – twice.

    You’re welcome :)

  30. Mare

    ROFLMAO I clicked on the link: you don’t find Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris finds you.) and although I’d seen it before, I couldn’t help but snicker at it. Well played Otto, well played.

  31. TC

    If it makes you feel any better, special needs AND doing poorly in school? Still doesn’t get your kid any help.

    Yeah, I know. Doesn’t make me feel any better either.

  32. stacey

    To stick up for the teachers, if you requested work on Friday morning and they sent the teachers an email the only time the teachers have to check their email is during their conference period. The rest of the day they are teaching. That is if they don’t have any team meetings, parent conferences, need to pee, copies to be made, lessons to be planned, papers to be graded, or anything like that. They probably didn’t have the time to get things together for her. Also, much of the class work is just that class work. It isn’t something they can send home. You can’t send home teacher instruction, computer time, class discussions, cooperative lessons, etc… You also can not send home a lot of graded assignments to be done at home because you can’t guarantee the kid did the work. My son found this out when he missed a week of school. He didn’t have a lot of work to complete at home, but we discovered as the rest of the six weeks went on he had a lot of missing wholes of things he had missed out on. The teachers have about 100 + kids in Jr. high and with the amount of illnesses that have been going around they may have 2 or 3 kids out everyday per class. It is hard for them to keep up.

  33. Kris

    We are in the same problem area of a child with Asperger’s who gets decent enough grades that they don’t want to do a damn thing for her.


    They may have to after all. Check your state’s educational laws. They must provide for some sort of socialization (other than being in class with, um, other kids all day) and I have yet to figure out how to make them do this. She does see the school social worker who has her meet in a group of kids, but still, her grades are great – but she’s flipping her card to red every single week. (Duh.)

  34. Becky

    All of these souls who have not been exposed to Chuck Norris are prompting me to post this:

    I like to periodically check it, to make sure I haven’t missed out on anything vital to my internet experience. And it’s hilarious to read the historical background of some of these things.

  35. Wilma Ham

    I went to a public school and as a result I do not need to know who this chuck guy is but I can guess and I could still get the jist of the post.
    I also can read the comments and check the link mentioned above.
    Do not worry, school is less important than we think, kids educate themselves and they learned more at dinner.
    Peace Mir, peace.

  36. Lori B

    I’m not quite sure when exactly my kids are learning during the day. Between lunch, recess, specials (gym, library, guidance, etc.) stopping the day 35 minutes before dismissal, and all the time they spend playing “educational games” on the computer or watching “Magic Schoolbus,” I’m thinking they are only getting about 3-4 hours of actual learning a day. But they’re gone for 8 hours and then have a ton of homework when they get home! It’s enough to make me want to homeschool, well, almost.

  37. mamaspeak

    Ironically, my 1st grader gets quite a bit of homework, every week. And that started in kindergarten. We’re used to it now, but EVERY single parent is shocked by the sheer amount of it when we first start. AND the kids have NO down time during class. In K last yr I know they missed recess a couple times b/c they didn’t get their class work done. And individuals who didn’t get it done missed it quite a bit. We are a CA school. CA is not known for being at the top education wise. I just can’t imagine what the schools are like in the top ten states.

  38. Brigitte

    Ooh, Otto has been assimilated! He must have known resistance would be futile.

  39. Melanie

    The first 2 paragraphs of this fabulous post are the identical circumstances I am living right now with my 10yr old Asperger son and our school district. They called me and said that, “We are confused as to why you are asking for and IEP or 504. Your sons grades and test scores are advanced. He apears to be fine academically at this time.”

    I am (Heaven Help me) seriously considering home schooling for the remainder of this year. Ca schools are not great and with the drastic cuts ongoing as well as being in an over crowded district… options are few!

    Good Luck to You!!!

  40. Wendalette

    Love the Chuck! In college, there were a few of us who made up Chuck Norris-type facts about one of our English professors. We loved (and feared) that guy.

  41. kate c.w.

    There is no way I am sending my kids to public school!!! Good lord.

  42. Erin

    As a public school teacher who enjoys your blog (and also agrees that many kids who have IEPs are not having their needs met, much as we try), I have to chime in to agree with what Stacey said about not having time in the day to get together the homework when I am teaching. The most frustrating part? Most of the time I do manage to get together something for the parents to pick up–and more than half the time (I’m being kind–probably more than 75% of the time) no one ever comes to get it. I think sometimes parents feel like we are failing their kids, and I think we also sometimes feel like they are failing their kids. I wish that it wasn’t like that. Ultimately, most parents want the best for their kids, and we as teachers feel the exact same way. Most of us try really, really hard to meet the needs of all our students.

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