Home - Top Row


Home - Bottom Row

Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« I bet that gym teacher couldn't spell "synecdoche" if her life depended on it | Main | I still don't need glasses, by the way »

I never did learn to play the sitar

For the next two weeks, I'm participating in the DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge. See the end of this post for details!

Second grade was the year that began with Obsession, and ended with Neurosis. I was obsessed with, among other things, astronomy, Japanese culture, and sitar music. I…I don't know, either. These were not interests that began in school, but my teacher, Mr. Barry, did try to cultivate at least one of them.

I developed this brilliant idea for a special astronomy project: somehow I was going to create a constellation projector with a refrigerator box. One of my classmates joined me for this project, and Mr. Barry got us a refrigerator box and let us plan out our brilliant scheme in the hallway, just the two of us and… the box. I felt like this went on for weeks but it was probably only a few days. All we did was sit inside the box and giggle. Mr. Barry tried to get us to organize our thoughts, but it turned out we really wanted to giggle. Our special project got scrapped, and I had to join the Regular People in the classroom. I was none too pleased about that, having quickly decided that I was special and required hallway projects.


Behold the arrogance! And the eyebrows!

I was extremely concerned about Mr. Barry. Since I was already shaping up to be something of a nervous mess, this year marks the beginning of my proud tradition of projecting my feelings onto other people. I thought Mr. Barry was under a lot of stress. He seemed really worried all the time, not that I could say how, but I knew it. I saw him pumping gas at the local station, which is when I first learned that teachers are not paid enough. My worry increased.

As for me, my grandmother died after a terrible battle with cancer, my mom (and the rest of my family) was devastated, and I was peeing myself quite a bit because, it turned out, in addition to being too shy to ask to go to the bathroom, I was getting bladder infections--which were caused by a narrow urethra, which ended up requiring surgery. Also my sister was leaving for college and I pretty much cried all the time? But oh, Mr. Barry was the one who needed my help.


In addition to my many woes, I was not getting any better at posing.

Boy, that was a shitty year. Mr. Barry was one of the bright spots in that year. He was the first teacher I had who I remember laughing at my jokes and the stuff I wrote that was trying to be funny. He was an excellent teacher and he had to pump gas. Goddammit.

I don't have a picture of Mr. Barry but in my imagination he resembled John Denver. I still can't watch "Oh, God!" without getting emotional. You'd think I wouldn't have many opportunities to watch "Oh, God!" but you would be WRONG. Or, okay, right.

What do you guys remember about second grade? Please share with the class. allows donors to directly fund projects for teachers in struggling schools. Any amount you can donate will make a huge difference for these teachers! To date we've already helped fund FOUR classroom projects, which is amazing. Donate any amount up to $100 and enter the match code FINSLIPPY at checkout, and your donation will be matched. Thank you!

Reader Comments (52)

I really admire what you're doing with Donors Choose. Education in this country is important, and it's great to see people like you doing the part to help keep it strong. I just welcomed my first grandchild, little Ava, into the world earlier today, and I want to make sure she has all the opportunity when she's older that I did in school. It's been awhile for me, but it's sure one heck of an experience that every kid should get to have!

March 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBurke

Oh, I love this series!
In 2nd grade, I had Mrs Osborne. She had an amazing empowering attitude about our learning. We learned about Hawaii, learned to sing a Hawaiian song, tried poi, and made a big notebook about what we learned. The cover of mine was elaborately covered with what I imagined were Hawaiian scenes, which got me some notoriety for drawing.

But the highlight of my year was making books! Mrs. Osborne provided us with an endless supply of paper folded in half with or without staples, and encouraged us to write and draw whatever and however many publications we wished. The magic of that has stuck with me for decades. We also did a photo + narrative book project with our parents cooperation. Mine involved finding a praying mantis on our screen door and bouncing on a tire. My favorite elementary class ev-ah.

March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarie

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>