On my office wall….


On my office wall....

Words to live by…….Anthony Burill


Grade 8 Graduation Photos


As he walked toward me this young man with his neatly combed hair and best button down collar shirt adjusted his tie. I am sure was tied earlier in the morning by his Dad who I am also sure wonders when his kid will learn the art of the Windsor Knot.

As he got closer to me I said, “This is a really big day for all of you Graduation Photo Day”, and as is the usual with most children in Grade Eight he looked at me and wondered why I was speaking to him. He grunted Ya!

I continued to say “You know you will only look at the photograph when the photos come in and again maybe when you get older.

He turned with a puzzled look wondering why I was speaking and what I meant by the last comment. I told him that when he is older he will look at the image and say “Oh! that is what I looked like with hair.”

He turned and walked away still wondering what I meant. He will understand it someday. Maybe when he can tie his tie and his son’s tie.

I have those photos from my Grade 8 graduation, and often look at them and say “Oh is that what I looked like with hair?”

There are only two choices…


I was there and I saw it! They were playing store and little Tim was working the cash register when littler Avery punched Tim five times on the hand. Little Tim squawked out to his teacher that Avery had punched him.

When questioned Avery denied his involvement in the alleged assault. That is when I had to intervene and say that I witnessed the violence.  Avery continued to deny that he had been involved, which didn’t work in his favour as he was banished to the ‘thinking chair’. A kind of Australia far away from the action in the class.

To help you understand a little bit more I have to give you this insight: Little Tim is usually not the victim, but the instigator. Littler Avery is the crier and always seems to be the victim, sometimes by design I believe.

After the Judge and Jury had brought justice to the classroom once again, I proceeded to my assigned job.

The next day I spoke to the teacher about what had happened and she informed me that a little while after I left the classroom Little Tim walked by Avery ( who was banished and still sitting on the thinking chair)  crossed his arms theatrically on his chest and said: “I see you haven’t been making very good choices today Avery!”

Words that Tim has heard on several occasions in his short educational life and I’m sure will probably hear before the day is out.

Good Choices or Bad Choices you choose…………

What’s in a name…..?


Moving to a new school has many challenges that must be overcome. If you are replacing a staff member who was well-respected for the job they did your focus is to be as good, if not better.

You have to prove your worth to everyone including staff, students, parents etc. This is something everyone has or will experience if they work in a job where change is constant.

I moved from a smaller country school to a large urban school; what a culture shock.

One day while in the office I made the mistake of trying to pronounce a student’s name and the Secretary laughed me out of the office. She had worked there for several years and knew every child’s name.

I looked at her and said, “I come from a white on white school!”.

Bob, Bill, Mike, John, Sally, Karen, Cathy, you get it.

I can’t remember the child’s name that got me expelled from the office, but that doesn’t really matter now.

I bet the staff at my old school might have a problem pronouncing the names of some of the children at my new school. I am proud to say I can!

Said, Daibik, Farukh, Himani, Zarghonja, Rojya, Soroush, Hatixhe, and my all

time favorite: Shithead! pronounced (Sha theed) really!

So what is in a name any way……My View From The Shallow End…..

Say What?


There are some interesting characters in the school I work at. I use the term character to be nice you might have other names for these individuals like. Ah, I won’t go there.

One of these individuals was asked by a rather large intimidating male teacher to come out to the hallway to discuss something that happened in the schoolyard at recess.

The teacher assured the child who is in Grade One that he was not in trouble. The child said that he would not go out in the hall to talk about the incident. Again the teacher said that the little boy was not the one in trouble and the child said again that he was not interested in carrying on the conversation in the hall.

Getting a little frustrated the teacher insisted that the child go out into the hall and he gave this ultimatum….

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way!” was the response from the teacher.

And to this response came a confident “Let’s do it the hard way.”

Say What…? That’s a firm No! to ultimatums…..

I’ll have fries with that comment…..!


Each morning I do a perimeter check of the school and the grounds to ensure that the school has not been damaged and that the grounds are safe for students, parents and staff.

As I was walking along the back of the school I heard a window quickly open. As I looked toward the noise I saw Mr. W.

As usual he was saying something about me taking a walk in the sun and doing nothing. I quickly said “Could I get some fries?”    he looked to me like a fast food employee in the window.

He looked around to see if anyone was near and I won’t repeat what he said, I’ll leave it to your imagination.

But I’ll have fries with that comment…..!

How I got here


People say that the travel is as important as the destination. I have to agree. I have followed my own map and have listened to the beat of my own drum.

I have made a few shoot from the hip decisions that in hind sight were right, but not viewed as right at the time. My favorite one was when one of my bosses asked me “What can I do to make your little world better?” and I replied “You can Fuck Off!” thus starting me on a new career path.

I have also had a boss tell me, “Do you realize that I am in control of your destiny!” A little voice in my head said “If I can take you in a fight. I am really the boss right.” No fight ensued but a lesson was learned that day and a new career was in the near future. I predicted my future with no help from him.

In my travels I was transferred for my work to a new city. While having my dinner the first evening I saw a sign that has always stuck with me and has reaffirmed that the decisions I made throughout my life were right. It stated: “Some men strive long and hard to climb to the top of the ladder, only to find the ladder leaning against the wrong wall.” (Authour Unknown)

Are you one of those people? I’m not and I have no one to blame for what has happened to me. There is no one to blame any way as life is good.

In my present job as a Custodian. (Janitor to those who feel the need to put people down or those who grew up in an age when Janitors were respected.) I am the fly on the wall and have a unique view of the world around us. I am respected by most and tolerated by others, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is my view from the shallow end…..