There are three skills that will never be endorsed on my LinkedIn profile: nunchuck skills, street fighting skills, and Hip Hop/R&B skills. I was recently reminded of my lackluster R&B knowledge by a student who tried, with a restless heart, to explain to me one of today’s top artists in that genre.
My student Chanchita could best be described in three words: short, smart and sassy. What she lacks in height she makes up for in attitude. I was helping her with some geometry homework and during one of her many “brain breaks”, she asked me what I was doing this weekend.
“Oh, you know… teacher stuff. Erasing chalk boards, eating apples, finding practical uses for algebra,” I responded while drawing a one-handed, mad skills circle with my compass.
“Cool,” she nodded as she measured an acute angle. “Since I got good grades this past quarter, my mom got me tickets to go see The Weeknd.”
My circle stopped mid spin with a screeching sound.
“The Weeknd, mister…he’s like an R&B singer.” She deftly spun the protractor around her index finger.
“And his name is – the Week End?”
“Mmhmm,” she continued her thoughtful geometric calculations. I was confused.
“See this guy on my shirt?” She pointed to an odd looking fellow. “That’s him.”
“Why does he have 2 black cauliflowers coming out of his head?”
“MISTER!! That’s his hair! And he doesn’t wear it like that any more.” she answered indignantly, slamming her pencil down.
“Ok, ok, sorry. But why is he called ‘The Week End’? Does he not like to work?”
Chanchita rolled her eyes with disgust.
“Of course he works. It’s spelled WEEKND.”
“So – he doesn’t work and he needs a dictionary.” I penciled inside my well-constructed circle. I could see Chanchita’s adolescent fuse sparking. Excellent.
“Ugh,” she sighed with disappointment at my ignorance.
“Anyway,” she pressed on painfully, rolling her eyes. “My seats are pretty far back. To get up close to him is around $1000!!”
“$1000 to get up close to the Weeknd?! I’d rather just wait for Friday at 5pm!”
She ignored my comment, showing raw restraint.
“I’m going to get his new album before the concert.”
“Is it called Saturdy/Sundy?” I continued poking the embers of teenage angst.
“Argh! Mister!” she growled at my irreverence through gritted teeth.
I leaned back coolly in my chair. “It’s just not a cool artist name…The Weeknd. Why’s he hating on the weekdays?” I paused, but no reply. “You know what a cool band name is?”
“What, mister.” She was in no mood for games.
“Def Leppard..that’s a cool band name.”
“Deaf Leopard?! Sorry, but that’s a dumb name. How could a deaf animal be a cool name for a band? It can’t even hear music!” she threw her hands up in confused annoyance.
She has sound logic…although her spelling is flawed.
“Look, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. You have fun this weekend with MC SaturdaySunday, and i’ll enjoy jamming out to deaf animals.”
With an exhausted look of frustration she sighed, “I don’t get you, Mr. Rivera.”
“Don’t worry… YOLO.”