Every year, I meet with my daughter Kayla’s teachers to find out how she’s doing in school. What follows is a list of these parent-teacher conferences definitively ranked by how loudly Kayla’s teachers begged me to somehow make her fingernails shorter. Let’s take a trip down memory lane!
Coming in at the bottom of the list is the first parent-teacher conference I attended. Ms. Summers politely whispered to me that Kayla’s fingernails were getting a little bit long and that I should maybe consider cutting them. This was undoubtedly the quietest request from any of Kayla’s teachers.
Just inching in above Ms. Summers, Kayla’s sixth-grade homeroom teacher, Mr. Phillips, put his head in his hands and quietly muttered, “Please make them short. They are like antlers on her hand. Cut them before anyone else gets hurt.” It seemed like Mr. Phillips wanted to shout this, but he was too defeated and depressed to muster up the energy.
Mrs. Leary talked a little bit about Kayla’s performance in her science classroom before saying, “And I really think that it’s important that you clip her fingernails soon. They are the longest I’ve ever seen.” She said this in a normal tone of voice, so it wasn’t all that loud.
If you ask me, Mrs. Ortiz was a little rude during this conference. When I asked if Kayla was getting along with her classmates, Mrs. Ortiz loudly said, “She’s doing bad! Everyone hates her because of her fingernails! They have become horrifying knives that she uses to tear open bags of chips that she doesn’t even eat! Clip her fingernails, for the love of Christ!” Mrs. Ortiz wasn’t my daughter’s loudest teacher, but she was still pretty loud.
Things got pretty loud during this conference, during which Mrs. Rosenfeld delivered her infamous “And Now They Are Talons” speech, which lasted for almost an hour and was uttered with such passion that people said they could hear her shouting the phrase “A tray of knives grows out of her hand” in the classroom next door.
Mr. Danielson started crying and pretty much just full-on screamed the word “Please!” at me over and over while pointing at a yardstick.
Mrs. Chung shrieked the whole goddamned time about how I needed to “take a fucking machete” and chop off Kayla’s “forest of keratin nightmare” and how “vultures built a nest in her tangled web of hand branches.” Mrs. Chung was extremely loud, which is why she’s ranked so high.
When I had my parent-teacher conference with Mr. Sanderson, he screamed and he screamed. He was so loud. The loudest of all the teachers. He screamed about how Kayla used her fingernails like a glasscutter to cut a hole in his windshield. He screamed about how one time Kayla reached across the room without leaving her chair and scratched an itch on his neck. He screamed about how Kayla would sometimes skewer chunks of hot dog on her fingernails, stick her fingernails in the school furnace to roast the hot dogs, and then let the animals of the forest eat them off of her fingernails.
Mostly he screamed about how I needed to clip Kayla’s fingernails before it was too late. He screamed about how at this point I probably needed “a goddamn diamond sword or something.” I’ve never heard anybody scream so loud about clipping my daughter’s fingernails, which is why Mr. Sanderson holds the coveted top spot on this list.