Gladys Judges Elvis Etc
By ice rivers
The world went into mourning on August 16, 1977 when we learned about the death of Elvis.
A couple of months before Elvis appeared at our Rochester War Memorial where I saw hin in concert for the second time. He was fat, yes, but he seemed full of life as once again he wowed the packed crowd.
He released his album Moody Blue in August. I immediately bought it, played it, loved it.
I was still working at the Starlite drive-in when I got the news. I happened to have the album in my car. The drive-in was empty. I hooked the stereo into the speaker system. I played the album through all 350 of the speakers in the empty drive-in. I stood outside the concession stand looking at the blank screen and imaginig Elvis dancing with Ann Margaret. I listened to the entire album moving from speaker to speaker. By the time I got back to the concession stand, the album was finishing. I took one last look around and realized that I had just done something memorable on this memorable day. The quiet sounded like peace in the valley.
I had to stop in at the school to pick up some mail.
We had hired a new vice-principal. She was an older woman named Dr. Gladys Heintzman. We had a young principal and Gladys was hired to bring some "experience" to the administration of our building.
I walked down the hallway and encountered Dr. Heintzman for the first time. I knew her name. I spoke first.
"Hi, are you Dr. Heintzman?"
"Yes, yes I am. And you must be Mr. Rivers. You can call me Gladys."
How did she know who I was?
Probably got a scouting report from the principal. He liked to call me
"the resident Bohemian". Partly because he was bald while I had long hair and a beard. Ya know, the usual profiling horse shit we had to endure.
Also because I had led the revolt against his predecessor for which the super-intendent had thanked me personally after said predecessor finally went Captain Queeg and got caught rolling his steel balls.
Thus, to Gladys I'm sure that I represented an "administrative problem".
I sure as hell wasn't going to introduce myself to Gladys as Ice to because I could see a glacier already glistening..
"Nice to meet you Gladys. I'm Jerry."
Gladys was the name of Elvis's mother
We shook hands.
"You look a little upset, Jerry", Gladys observed.
"Yes I am. I just heard that Elvis died."
"So what" said Gladys.
silence between us
could it get worse
"He was just a singer", said Gladys.
I nodded a nod to let her know that I had heard her but did not agree with her judgement.
Meanwhile, I had a judgment of my own.
Gladys is an asshole.
I excused myself and headed to my classroom.
The die was cast. She had the power in our conflict. She was my supervisor and evaluator. She used it exactly the way an asshole would use it.
Meanwhile some of my fellow faculty members fell for her fake mothering shit which she also bestowed on the principal. I had been neutral on those folks but their relentless ass kissing relationship with Gladys convinced me that they too were assholes and they were convinced that I was the asshole.
Gladys was the Earth-mother
I was outnumbered, outranked and surrounded. For all practical purposes, I was the asshole.
I kept my mouth shut.
Gladys hung around for a couple of miserable years before she retired.
Once again, I had to get out of that place.