Tall tales of a crazy prof

“Does your mother have a black dress?”

No other professor would tell this story. No other professor would have this story.

But because he’s Dr. Rosy, he’d tell us how he as a teacher once dealt with a school bully.

This had to have happened in the mid-90s, in the first few weeks he taught 8th grade English in a high school somewhere in the Midwest.

He had come across an all-state athlete picking on some scrawny kid whose feet weren’t touching the ground. The lineman had the kid up by the collar.

Dr. Rosy — then Mr. Rosy, doctoral student — walked up to the bully and told him to put the kid down. The bully complied immediately.

The way Dr. Rosy tells it, the athlete was 6 feet 5 inches, with a solid 300 pounds of muscle — “This kid must have been pushing iron since the 3rd grade.”

A girl off to the side of the scene told the football player to just take care of Rosy already. Rosy wasn’t impressed.

“Could I borrow your cell phone?” he asked the girl. She declined.

“In that case, you call 911 and get an ambulance here,” he said. “Well, maybe two. This guy’s so big he won’t fit in one.”

Rosy was at least 43 years old and slightly shorter than the bully. A large-framed man even then, he would have been quite a bit smaller than the massive boy defiantly facing him.

“Does your mother have a black dress?” he asked. The bully didn’t understand, so Rosy repeated the question. “Does your mother have a black dress?”

Rosy must have feigned pondering to himself for a moment.

“Because she’ll need one in about four days,” he said. “That’s about when the state buries you.”

That’s about when the story ends with my class laughing hysterically, some laughing out of horror.

He never advocated using or threatening violence, of course, and made sure to say that.

“You have to improvise, overcome and adapt to these situations,” he told us.

That’s one way to look at it.


In other news: you’d think salvaging dignity would involve being smart about it; medicine waffles back on fish; and Bungie pulls a Pixar.

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