J. G. Fabiano

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I originally wrote this essay a few days after the 9/11 attack. I watched the attacks and the destruction of both towers with my students on a 32-inch television that was placed in my room on a pole. I knew my life, the lives of my students, and the lives of everyone in the world changed that day.

Seventeen years later I am also feeling remorse for a time I understood what the world stood for; at least my world. We are now in a place that is separated by ideas. We are now a divided nation yelling at each other because one side thinks the other side is wrong.

Actually they not only think there side is the correct but also think the other side is against everything we’ve always loved, admired, and were proud of. I just can’t figure out whose side I’m on or if I am right or wrong.

I want to go back to a time when I was more concerned with my weight and what I was going to wear to hide it.

I want to go back to a time when I was angry that George W. Bush stole the election. I also want to go back to a time I got over it.

I want to go back to a time when my biggest worry was finding more hair in my sink. Today, I wish I could find some hair. Continue Reading →

As I was mowing my lawn for what seemed to be the millionth time this summer my neighbor wandered over from his task of allowing weeds to take over his lawn to ask me if I was sick of summer yet?

OK, I answered, but I reminded him of a time in mid-February as we were attempting to liberate our families from the snows and cold of winter, when he asked me if I was sick of winter yet? Because I am old as dirt, my mind started to question which season was easier to survive? Being the teacher I’ve always been I started to compare the two seasons.

First of all summer produces an incredible amount of heat. Winter, on the other hand produces an incredible amount of cold. As a science person I clearly understand that cold does not exist. Cold is simply the absence of heat. As to what is easier to survive is an interesting question. The heat of summer can be defeated if you have air conditioning in your home.

The cold of winter can be subdued by one’s heating system. Both are expensive. Air conditioning explodes one’s electric bill while heating either defeats one’s budget or breaks one’s back if they are apt to heat their house with wood. This question seems like a draw. In New England if you ignore these problems you will probably die. Continue Reading →

I was at a neighborhood party the other day and ended up having a conversation with a group of people who were determined to talk politics. Personally I am getting sick and tired of having my physical and mental health being determined by how much I know about the world around me.

I was cornered by a group of neighbors who knew my opinion of how our nation is evolving. I smiled, took sips of a drink I was desperately trying to replenish, when one of my neighbors starting to talk about the need we control our own energy.

Maybe it was the third vodka tonic or the 85 degrees temperature that July always supplied. I simply asked him if he knew what the definition of energy was. After a few seconds of silence one of my more voracious neighbors smirked and stated that of course everyone knows what energy is. OK, I responded. What does it mean?

He told me energy means power. I agreed with him but then asked what he thought the definition of power was? Our little circle of friends and neighbors got a bit wider either because they were interested in what was being said or they thought a bit of a verbal battle was in the works. Continue Reading →

I took my grandkids to the Seacoast Science Center the other day to enjoy the beauty of where I live and give them a day to discover and basically play. It was a great day that ended up at the playground that was more of a ‘Ninja Obstacle Course’ then a playground.

My granddaughter is extremely athletic, so she ran up to the zip line in order to fly between two platforms. While she was waiting her turn, a young boy literally pushed her aside in order to get on the line first. My granddaughter just stepped aside and decided to leave the line, feeling a bit hurt.

I looked over at the mother of the young boy who was watching him play. She looked back at me and simply shrugged. I decided not to say anything for two reasons. One was because my granddaughter now became part of my right leg. The other was why would I promote a controversy that I couldn’t possibly win for, after all, we were at a fun place. Continue Reading →

It’s always dark because light never has a chance to penetrate the thick browns and blacks of the forest trees. The ground never feels warm because of the lack of the radiance the sun is supposed to give up. Everything lost its color and the creatures that lived in this world became the color gray. No one laughed, danced or rarely talked to each other because there was little joy in a place that was defined by lack of joy.

Except, of course, for one place in the center of this world. This place was called Imagination. It held a light that everyone yearned for, but only found here. It was a place that was defined by the energy of happiness and youth. Even the old seemed young when compared to creatures of their own age that lived beyond the boundaries of Imagination.

In the place called Imagination everyone loved everyone. Rarely did you see anyone frown because it was common knowledge that it took more muscles to frown then it does to smile. If you don’t believe this simply prove it to yourself by forcing a scowl that always takes a lot of energy. Then smile and you will discover what the creatures of Imagination discovered when Imagination began. Smiling simply felt better.

The creatures of Imagination came in all sizes and shapes. Some were very small while others grew like the flowered trees that surrounded them all. Some were thin while others were a bit husky but all were healthy and as was stated before, they all wore a huge smile on their faces at all times. Continue Reading →

How can one not love the wonderful world of spring. We just survived another New England winter and we are all looking forward to the beginnings of our gardens, outside barbeques, and just getting the hell out of our homes. This wonderful time also represents the beginning of attempting to fix all that was destroyed during our long winter months.

Since a small piece of my siding fell off my home during the last winter wind storm I thought it best to get away from the little jobs I had put off for the past decade or so and tackle a man-like one. The piece that fell off was part of the roof rafter.

Clearly understand I have no idea as to what a rafter is. It was only a 4 x 4 inch piece that was more for appearance then for protection. In fact, my wife never noticed it and I wouldn’t have either had it not been for it falling in front of me when I was outside.

I borrowed a large aluminum ladder from my neighbor who tried to talk me out of even thinking of using a ladder. After he saw I was determined to do so he told me he would keep watch in case I needed a trip to the hospital. I laughed and told him he was looking at the new me who was able to fix anything, or at least somethings.

I placed the ladder on the side of my house angling it so it would be secure. I did notice there was a bit of a breeze that afternoon but not enough to stop me from completing my task. Looking up at the corner of my house and seeing where to attach the piece of siding I thought this would be an easy task. All it needed was a single nail to hold it in place but because I wanted to do the job right I grabbed a couple of nails in order to make the siding immovable. Continue Reading →

 

Teachers across the country can no longer survive on the salaries they are offered to do the most important job of all. This is teaching our children the tools and honing their talents in order to have them do well in what is a very complicated world. Teachers are paid on a yearly contract that runs around 185 days.

There are many professions that do contracted work. If the contract is for 365 days or 100 days it makes no difference. The important thing is to get the job done and done well. Some believe in the concept of those who do, do and those who can’t teach. I do get a kick out of this statement because those who can do because they were taught how too.

Teaching has always been equated with the success of its students. The profession has never been defined by money even though the ability to live and teach at the same time has always been difficult. I can define teaching because I am a retired teacher. I wrote the following 25 years ago about one of my days teaching.

I had a great day…… Yesterday. But, even the greatest of days doesn’t make it any easier to get up at 5:00 in the morning. If only I could get to bed before 11:00 PM on school nights. That would make my life so much easier. With mountains of correcting being precipitated every day that possibility is basically impossible. So here I am, shocking myself awake with a cold shower so I can stay alert for the approaching new day. Continue Reading →

I am very jealous. I tell this to many people when we discuss the reality of religion. They explain the concept of faith in order to understand how a God could exist. I listen and am envious they could believe in something that can’t be logically explained.

They tell me this is the way it I, has always been, and will always be. I rarely argue with them because it would not do any good and it would also not relieve my stress that I know there is a God but not the God I have always been taught has always existed and will always exist.

I consider myself a logical person. I understand how when our species was able to survive in tribes and families we put a stick in the ground during the fear of night in order to be closer to the sky. I understand we had to follow a concept that we would survive because we were put on this planet for a specific reason including to represent an almighty God.

The problem is the concept we are all special living beings in special times led by an entity that considers us all very special. In reality we are not. Throughout the history of our species we were basically lucky. We survived whereas many of our fellow inhabitants on our planet failed. Continue Reading →

There is nothing nicer that the beginning of Spring, after a long cold winter. I actually saw a little green the other day as I dared to go out into my backyard. I haven’t attempted that particular excursion since a few weeks before Christmas.

As I walked beside my home I noticed that many of the bulbs, that I planted years before, were sprouting and the air had that feeling of newness because it was filled with scents of the blossoming spring.

While Spring bellows in the coming of a new season it also introduces us to the newest of our backyard pests. They seem to change every year. I’ve gone through the appearance of ants, yellow-jacket bees, grubs, beetles, and even multiple families of snakes. For a few microseconds, I loved spring with all its newness and promise of things to come.

Then I walked around to view the back of my yard. It looked like a satellite photo of an estuary with all its tiny streams that were coming together into a giant pond. There were multiple runways that connected tiny openings in my lawn. Something that must have been living beneath the three-foot snow pack decided to make its own neighborhood with all of its streets and alleys in my backyard. Continue Reading →

A rather famous statement made by people who hope to explain that something is not difficult because it is not rocket science has been around for my entire life. If something is too difficult people go on to explain it is rocket science.  Stephen Hawking showed the world that rocket science is simply looking into our sky in order to wonder where we all came from, when it all began, and where we are going.

Like most people who lived through a time when science fiction became science reality I’ve always been interested in the physical sciences of chemistry and physics. In fact, for the past four decades I’ve taught both these subjects. Dr. Hawking made this task easy because he described his theories of physics and time in understandable terms. He did not bury it in calculus but rather described his ideas in terms of wonderment and possible explanation of subjects that have been studied since people’s history began.

On March 14, 2018, Dr. Hawking died of a disease that should have killed him 50 years ago. That alone should make him remarkable. He never let his disorder get in the way of his mind. His brilliance never let his mind confuse what he was trying to describe. His genius was never allowed to elevate his legacy above those of us who look into the sky in order to attempt to understand why we are here.

Continue Reading →