IWWHaB–My Big Mouth

For the love of beer
The perfect place and beverage to share some casual conversation.

If we were having a beer, you would announce that you had a question for me. I’d be curious of course but I’d know that you would get around to it in your own time and in your own way. Besides, we rarely talk much of substance before the bartender brings us our first round. As is often the case, that first request sets the stage for our conversation as you order a wine and “a beer for Ann and Abbey’s brother here.”


Well, you been talking about advice all month, I thought maybe you might be related to those crazy ladies.”

I think they’re dead. I think they died of old age. I’d be like 100.”

OK, maybe you’re Abbey’s illegitimate son.”

I think I like brother better. Anyway, I wasn’t giving advice, I was talking about good advice I had received.”

Yeah, yeah. Anyway, what I want to know is, how on earth did you manage to flunk PhysEd?

I would explain that the University of Georgia had rather archaic PE requirements. As a freshman, your choices were conditioning exercises, track or weight training, and you had to know how to swim. To pass these courses, you had to meet certain goals. Track, for example required that you run a 7-minute mile. Weight training required that you bench press your body weight or something like that. Regardless of what you took, you had to pass a swimming test. If you failed, your second PE course had to be swimming. I took conditioning exercises because you only had to show up, but it was awful.

The instructor would line us up and walk the length of the class, yelling our names straight into our face.”

ANTION” – “to which I could respond ‘here’ or ‘present’ – nothing else.”

Sounds like the Marines.”

I wouldn’t know, but he took roll again at the end of class.”

You could miss two classes. If you missed three, “you might as well miss ’em all ladies,” according to the instructor because you would fail.

That turned into a problem for me because I injured my leg and I ended up on crutches the week before Thanksgiving. I went to class on crutches, but he said that since I couldn’t exercise, I wasn’t there. I was standing in line when he yelled in my face: “ABSENT – that’s one!

Then I missed a second class the day before Thanksgiving because I flew home to Pittsburgh early so I could register for the draft.

What was your number?

123 but it didn’t matter, they didn’t call anyone from my year.”

I was 353.” You’d added with a smirk. That was a good thing, because you’re a bit older than me.

So, two absences burnt by Thanksgiving. Still, there couldn’t have been many classes left.

WVU and ISU are both in the Big-12 now. If WVU loses, I have to wear this to work. if WVU wins, my brother wears a WVU Tee to Beer Club.
WVU and ISU are both in the Big-12 now. If WVU loses, I have to wear this to work. if WVU wins, my brother wears a WVU Tee to Beer Club.

There weren’t many, and I attended all of them, including the one I had been planning to skip. The last day of class in the semester and I had to stay for PE because of those absences. I was all packed and ready to fly home. Heading out to PE, I almost gagged at the smell of my “uniform” – I don’t think I ever washed it. I pulled on the shorts, but I took an Iowa State tee shirt out of my laundry bag to wear on top.

Iowa State?

My brother went there. The shirt had been a gift. Anyway, I got to class on time for roll. Lots of guys had skipped. He yelled my name and I replied. He worked us non-stop that class.“

You would stop me and flag down the bartender.

Bring Abbey another beer, she’s getting all winded.”

I would explain that midway through class, the instructor had his son, a Marine, demonstrate the “real way” to do a chin-up. This guy grabbed the bar with his right hand and grabbed his right wrist with his left hand. Then, he became a chin-up machine. He offered to let anyone go if they could do five chin-ups like that.

Any takers?


After a few more mindless exercises and a few laps around the building, we were back in line for the final roll call of the semester, with me at the head of the line.


“Here.” He stood in front of me, staring at my shirt. Then he looked up and actually got closer to my face.

I – oh – wah – state – U – nah – vers – sit – tea??? Antion, do you go to Iowa State University?

Yes, but I heard the PE was so much better in Georgia, so I commute.”

ABSENT – That’s three – FAILED!

I’d notice that your glass was empty and I’d ask the bartender to pour you another round. You’d tap my glass and take a drink.

You’re OK Abbey. You have a big mouth, but you’re OK.”


  1. I would have ordered a Belgian wheat beer, listened, laughed, and then remarked that I’m so old that when I was in high school they didn’t have PE for girls and that I got a B in bowling in college. There are jocks and then there are non-jocks. Non-jocks get exercise in other ways like gardening. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL OH LOL! Commuting! Ahahaha!
    I remember high school roll call in gym like it was yesterday. My best friend, now sister-in-law was just in front of me, because Mottern comes before Packard. Every day the gym teacher called out, “Moat-turn!” and every day, five or six of us said, “Mottern!” and now I live this hell she lived, lol! “Mrs. Motorin? Mrs. Motrin? Joelle Modem?” Gah.
    I remember that gym teacher with all the disdain I can muster. Ugh.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Man oh man. Did this one bring back memories. I had the same guy at Michigan State. He passed me though. Was there a school for these numb skulls? Good one Dan. If I had a beer right now the day would be over.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yeah – that high school Gym class was awful – pepto bismol pink uniforms fir girls and we’d get demerits for not having white sox and the two instructors (who never took their whistles out of their mouths except to yell at us) would stand at the communal shower door (showers were mandatory every single day even though gym class was only an hour) and stare at us with their clipboards in their hands. (What, were they going to dish out demerits for showering incorrectly?)

    Great, funny, whimsical post, Abby. You DO realize with each photo you have let us see a little more of ‘you’. First there were photos if the back of your head with a cap on while you climbrd ladders and pounded nails; then face-forward but stilled obscured by cap; then capless, and now (well I was going to say The Full Monty, but please don’t go that far), a very nice photo of you despite the wrong tee shirt. It’s analogous to the way you have continued to reveal yourself through your writing and the way friends do so as they get to know each other.

    Good stuff, Dan 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Uh oh, I guess I have to cancel that story about skinny-dipping. OK – that NEVER happened. You won’t see much more of me than this, unless I dig up a photo of me in shorts.

      High school gym class was just as bad for me. The worst was the “special” class they put me in (that I wrote about in Jupiter Effect) but none were good. I did score a victory over a gym teacher once, but it was when our daughter was in high school. I’d have to get her permission to write about that.

      Standing with clipboards outside the shower – yeah, that’s creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I financed my college education by working second shift in a steel foundry. My job was to chase after a 30 ton crane. While it glided overhead, I had to scramble around on a big black beach. When they told me I had to take a PE class, I asked if I could get work credit. They said no.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your response about commuting to Georgia for PE…too funny! This brings back memories of high school PE, which I actually enjoyed to some degree. I remember the one piece uniform…navy blue shorts and navy/white striped top in some sort of stretchy material. It never smelled, but I was also never fond of it. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. You probably washed that uniform a few times. My comment got a few laughs that day too, but at a high cost. Actually, it didn’t hurt me. When I transferred, the PE credits would have been lost anyway. I guess it’s better to leave them laughing.


  7. Gads. Is this a true story? That teacher was extremely tough. Thank goodness, I don’t think PE was a requirement in college out here. I did take it as an elective. I remember taking a jogging class. Pretty tough for me but I was dieting and I found when I became lighter I could tolerate jogging better until my seasonal allergies kicked in. I took a fencing class and folk dance class in PE because I wanted to.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh good, we are on a funny streak today!!! Humor, the zest to life!! How I laughed throughout this, Dan, and your answer about the communing back and forth, hysterical. What a nightmare that phys-ed teacher was. I’m glad you survived and I’m glad now you can tell it with a humorous spin on it. GREAT post! Cheers! Love, Amy <3

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good one. Although, a lot of stuff went really over my head. I don’t really understand how the education system works in the US. In fact, I don’t know much about my own, so forgive me about that. By the way, you look great in that tee. When it comes to university tees, I think when you come down to Mumbai, you’ll find that the most popular here is UCLA. A lot of malls here keep UCLA brand at a decent price so many prefer to sport it. I have one tee that says UCLA Track and Training.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No UM tee shirts? There are so many universities here that there has to be some kind of standards. I’m not sure why there’s a physical education requirement but most schools have one. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Mumbai? or maybe it’s MU (which doesn’t make a great brand). It seems every university here in the states has some kind of identity. Selling tee shirts, hats, hoodies, jackets, baby clothes, you name it, it’s a huge business.


          1. Oh! Yes, we call it University of Mumbai and also Mumbai University. It is one of the best universities in India, and there are many other universities here, but none interested in creating distinct identities through tees and clothing line.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh no, not at all. There are millions of students out here, their fees, books and everything can help them to stuff lot of money legally and illegally. You think Indians are bad at all this? The Swiss bank accounts are full with Indian’s having their account.

              Liked by 1 person

  10. And I could tell you the craziest of stories about education in Kenya. I could tell you that my high school education was better than the university’s. In high school they gave us a lot of books to read, encouraged us to read them, and the teachers were open to diverse answers. You could tackle a mathematical question using a different method than the one taught in class. Method carried more marks than Accuracy. You could discuss Literature on your own and come up with answers even the teacher had not been aware of, but he would value it. The teachers were interested in whether you had a clue or not.
    At the university, you had to answer the questions exactly as the lecturer had taught them. In 2008, one lecturer who taught ‘Introduction To Telecoms’ set an exam question like this: “Describe the features of telecommunications AS DISCUSSED IN CLASS?” Can you believe it? I was really astounded, flabbergasted. And in 2009, I answered a question in Antennae Theory using a derivation method I had learnt from a different book than the one used by the lecturer. He gave me zero for that answer, although I was right. “This is not how I taught it. You must have missed my class,” he said. But I had attended. The same lecturer gave us a wrong derivation for Scattering Matrix in Microwaves. All books showed that he was wrong, and I discussed it with my classmates. I worked out the correct derivation. But my classmates did not like my derivation. Although they knew I was right. By then the system had won them over. They said that if the question came in exams, they would answer it as the lecturer had taught it. In other words, they would write the wrong answer. It came. I did it my way. I got zero, giving a B in Microwaves.
    University education was the worst I ever had. They never let us think.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’d tell you I never really liked Gym class, but loved volleyball. But like the commenter above, I was part of a different education system, in Europe. I am learning more about the US schools through my son. Great post, as always, Dan. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh god, that gym teacher sounds horrific! Like something out of those military films! I loved that line on commuting – oh to have been a fly on the wall when you delivered it. I bet the guy had a vein on his forehead that would have looked about to burst when you said that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was always angry, but I hit a nerve that day. I didn’t really consider that he could mark me absent over the tee shirt, but it was worth it. thanks for the comment.


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