I shall spend this Christmas nestled in the small, charming English village I lived in during my 1996-1997 Fulbright scholarship to Great Britain.
Since I leave in a just a few days, I'd better get a move on with my shopping list, so let me begin handing out the loot right here and now.
For Janet Owens: A pat on the back and a copy of Machiavelli's "The Prince." I'm very pleased that you pulled it off. You played it smart while proving that "nice guys" can indeed finish first. Don't lose the niceness on my account, but perhaps old Nick Machiavelli can remind you of a few basic realities about playing hardball in the political arena that they probably never got to at the U-Mass. School of Ed. There are sharks in the water, and this is not a drill. As a county teacher (and fellow U-Mass. alum), I wish you nothing but the best.
For John Gary: You know, big guy, I was tempted to toss a little something your way. After all, you've been more than gracious in defeat and, hey, it's Christmas. But when you bellied your cronies (including the missus) up to the public trough for one last feast of funds, I dropped you like a hot potato. Adios.
For the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre: The collected works of Shakespeare. The Bard's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was wonderful fun when you produced it last July. Here's hoping you remember your packed houses and excellent reviews (one of them from me) and decide to make Shakespeare a regular event!
To the teachers at Magothy Middle: My profound thanks. I don't know what your silly MSPAP results are and couldn't care less. What I do know is that you have taught my two children diligently and humanely while providing them with many opportunities for xTC personal growth. That's the only true measure of a good school.
For the Annapolis High boys basketball team: Longer shorts. C'mon fellas, I swear I can actually see your ankles when you shoot the ball.
For Art Modell: You'll just have to scrape by on the $300 million or so my fellow Marylanders and I dropped in your purse a few years ago. Sorry. I'll try to do better next year.
To Jill Sharpe Compton, longtime leading lady of the local music theater scene who recently moved to Long Island: A scrapbook full of the many favorable reviews you've received in your illustrious career. Such a delightful performer. You'll be missed, kiddo.
To reporters on The Sun's education beat: A long, long rest from that "Reading by 9" series you must all be so sick of writing by now. Remember, just a few years down the road, these kids are partying like mad, playing three varsity sports, working two jobs and taking tips on etiquette from Jerry Springer's guests. They were more ready for college when they were 9! Here's a new series for you: "Intellectual Collapse By 16."
A happy, blessed holiday season to all.
The writer teaches social studies at Annapolis High School and is an arts reviewer for The Sun.
Pub Date: 12/27/98