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by: Max Burbank

(AUTHORS NOTE: This is a work of fiction. It is not autobiographical. It is not based on my life, not even loosely. I will be using the name 'Mr. Smith' throughout the piece to remind you that this is a character voice I am using, and not my own voice, the voice of me, 'Mr. Burbank'. This is above all, not a cry for help. Some of you will refuse to believe me. Well. I can't help that. That is the way some of you are. You hear what you want to hear and nothing I do or say will ever change that. I don't care. I don't care what you think. I don't care about anything.)

Hello. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Mr. Smith, or as I'm known around here for the most part, Timmy Smith's Dad. I'm sure you're all familiar with the loss of identity that comes as part of the parenting package, and have grown used to it as I have. Perhaps you even find it comical, although I myself have not reached that stage yet, and don't really find ironic humor very amusing in any case.

I want to start by saying that I have Bipolar disorder, not because it has anything to do with what I asked for time to speak about tonight, but because I'm not ashamed, any more than I would be of my red hair and freckles. As I child I was deeply ashamed of my red hair and freckles, something that was completely beyond my control, and went so far as to attempt to dye my hair with shoe polish and bleach my skin with first lemon juice, and then later bleach. I came to realize that Red Hair and Freckles are nothing to be ashamed of and neither is Bipolar disorder, or being the only Jewish family in town except the Epstein's who are far more observant than we are and can barely disguise their distaste for us. I am also an asthmatic and currently unemployed. But today I am here about the Hot Lunch Program.

As a Jewish, red haired, freckled, unemployed parent of an exceptional child with Asthma and Bipolar disorder… wait; I did not mean to imply that Timmy has either Asthma or Bipolar disorder. I mean, he does have Asthma, the kids in love with that inhaler, it's like a security blanket for him, I seriously think he doesn't know it's been empty for over a month, but I don't know if he has Bipolar Disorder or not. We don't know. His mother and I. Or maybe she knows and isn't telling me. She insists the Pediatrician will not return our calls, but if I call her a LIAR, which is simply the God's OWN TRUTH, all hell breaks loose.

I am here as a parent. A Jewish parent with Bipolar Disorder to be sure, and yes, Asthma, Red hair, Freckles, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but most particular, a parent of a child in this school system. I say 'in this school system' because as a parent, of course I have a child. All you parents will know what I mean. They are the joy of our lives, the reason we get up in the morning, the source of the vast majority of our debts and does yours have some sort of inborn, mutant radar for your nuts? Because, Christ, mine does. Nine, ten times a day that kid hurls himself into my lap and damned if his pointy little elbows or knees or chin doesn't smash straight into my nuts! It's very painful! I tell him over and over, 'Jesus Christ, Timmy, watch out for your old man's nuts!' I swear to God, he's going to pop them one day! You can die from that. You can. Popped nuts. It's a cause of death.

In any case. Last week I had the opportunity to take the school up on it's invitation to 'have lunch with my child'. In fact, as Principle Conners brought to my attention, I have apparently taken this opportunity every day for over a week now and that while he appreciates the dire financial straights I have found myself in since my dismissal from whatever the name of the soul crushing cubicle farm I sacrificed the last twelve years of my life to I should in no way continue to use my child's school cafeteria as my own personal 'soup kitchen'. Be that as it may, I have come here tonight to say, with all due respect to your kitchen staff, the 'Hot Lunch Program' is neither 'Hot' nor 'Lunch'! My apologies to… to… Oh, shit, who the hell was the guy that said the 'blank blank is neither blank nor blank'. FUCK! Oscar Wilde? I want to say Oscar Wilde, but I think it may have been whatsherface, that bitch at the Algonquin Round Table everybody made such a big deal of. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, I'm thinking, I'm thinking, all I'm getting is Jaye .P. Morgan who was that dipsomaniac slut on the fucking Gong Show JESUS!


What? Oh, fuck you. I have Tourette's syndrome. Well, I might, you don't know. Maybe I'm just well medicated and the cursing only becomes uncontrollable when some bag of shit interrupts me. Aren't you Janey Comstock's Mom? Oh, I know all about you. Kids talk at the lunch table, Ms. Comstock. Oh yes they do, they say the damndest things so don't go thinking you're better than me, because my problems are medical in nature. And don't sex addict me. Sex addict, sex addict, sex addict, what do you think this is, Oprah? This is not Oprah Ms. Comstock. This is the PTO.

Well. That about wraps it up for me, as I understand the ground rules limit parents to five minutes and in addition I see the police have arrived. So. In closing, let me just add, this I not over. Oh, and I have a short film debuting on Cable Access channel four on Saturday at three fifteen AM! And whatever you've heard the vast majority of the nudity has a big blurry spot over my penis. OH CHRIST! THOSE AREN'T COPS!

(AUTHOR'S AFTERWORD: I want to make clear that I have never addressed my children's PTA. I am employed and I have two daughters, not one son. While I wrote this, and it is in the first person, that does not mean the person speaking and the author are the same person. If you need to take issue with that, I would refer you to my publisher. Yes, publisher. That is not an over dignified word for our relationship. I don't care what you think. I don't care about the opinions of people I hate. You know who you are.)

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