ARLINGTON HEIGHTS - Jennifer Allen of Roosevelt Middle School thought that teaching an summer school class wouldn't be that big of a deal.
Unfortunately for Allen and many other area grade school teachers, a new menace has found its way into the classroom: R.A. Dickey.
"I'm not naive," said a tired Allen. "I've been in this position for quite some time. I hear 'toilet humor' all the time. It's a part of teaching in the sixth grade. I know kids don't want to spend their summers reading about George Washington...but for the love of God...if I have to hear another kid try to insert 'R.A. Dickey' into a sentence, I'm going to kill someone."
R.A. Dickey is the new knuckleball pitching phenom for the New York Mets. Dickey's incredible scoreless streak ended at 44 2/3 innings on Sunday. With his newfound fame and wickedly deceiving pitch repertoire, Dickey has become a fan favorite...especially to odd-minded middle schoolers.
A recent exchange between teacher and students went like this:
"Uh, Ms. Allen? Ms. Allen?" questioned Roosevelt middle schooler Jimmy Barnes. "Do you think Mrs. Washington would like an R.A. Dickey from George Washington? Like, if R.A. Dickey were like a gift or something...do you think that George would give his Dickey to Martha?"
"Jimmy. Why would George Washington have a 21st century knuckleballer randomly living in the White House?"
"Because he likes having Dickeys around."
"Go outside. Now."
"I can't deal with it," said a beleaguered Allen. "It's every day. Jimmy Barnes, Ernest Eller...oh, God...the worst, though, is Timmy Porter."
Porter's last research project was supposed to be on 'alternate history'. Students were to take a historical figure, and talk about how their historical impact would be different if one thing changed in their life. After teacher approval, Porter chose a modern individual...using President Barack Obama.
A rough transcript, per Ms. Allen:
"President Barack Obama's presidency would take on a much different tone if one thing changed: If he named R.A. Dickey his personal assistant. (Obama voice) 'Uh, excuse me Mr. Dickey, but I need your Dickey expertise to Dickey-up this document, and when you're done with that, Dickey, can you fax this contract to Biden? He'll be happy to see that Dickey name on there.' Obama will learn that after letting Dickey go on vacation for one week that all other assistants can't be like Dickey. (Obama voice)'What is this? I asked for 30 copies, not three! Oh, goodness. If I had my Dickey here this wouldn't be an issue. Dickey makes all the right moves. Dickey's all over the place. Dickey's always standing at attention waiting for my slightest motion. Dickey's a big member of my staff. (chuckles) Big member of my staff."
"He had an after-school detention. It was his third one," said Allen. "I'm just hoping he (Dickey) starts getting shelled."
R.A. Dickey's next start is Friday.