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Loaded Questions from Children

by sanmigueltimes
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It’s back to school time so I frequently find myself asking kids how school started for them.  It’s always met with a shrug so I probe with “What is your favorite subject?” That’s an easy conversation starter to get them jazzed about all the exciting careers that await them based on their interests in math, science or whatever.

Lately, instead of answering, kids ask me what my favorite subject was.  That’s a dicey question as no one likes to lie to children.

Frankly, though I did quite well in school often graduating with straight A’s, I didn’t particularly like it.  I admire my youngest son and niece that could happily spend the rest of their days in a classroom as a perpetual student.  Me? I just saw school as a hoop one jumped through to be able to get better paying work on the other side. Luckily I have a photographic memory which made getting through any subject much easier.

The upside to a photographic memory, beyond good grades, is the ability to learn vast amounts of information which, it seems, doesn’t go away even after decades of alcohol consumption.  Talk about a gift that keeps on giving!

The downside is my brain is so busy taking mental snapshots I am completely unable to remember a name or face.  Well into my 40’s I was taking Mom to the Olive Garden (or as she called it, London Fog) and waiting for an elderly gentleman to cross the parking lot as I held the door open.  Upon entering London Fog he said “Thanks, Joe”.

“How did he know my name?” I pondered.  Plus no one calls me Joe but my siblings.  It was then he sat at the table with Mom enjoying their unending bread baskets which really confused me.  Only then I realized he was my brother, Mike.

Still happens on San Miguel streets as folks tend to remember their tour guide.  “Remember, we’re the Jones? We took a tour with you 3 years ago! Well, Sheila transitioned seamlessly but poor Ernie died of cancer.”  Honestly, it could be three hours ago we had a tour and I’d be at a loss. Now I’ll have to spend the rest of the day wondering who Sheila and Ernie were.  Pets, perhaps?

With school the classes I should have liked based on my adulthood occupations and interests were Art, History, Business, Religion and Creative Writing but I don’t recall liking any of those classes.  I do recall studying Economics for two years only because the teacher compared everything to selling drugs. I wasn’t a pusher, or drug dealer in the making, but the examples made economic theories so much more clear.

2 nuns photo shoot at Lansing Catholic High School June 10, 2015


Every time a child asks my favorite subject I so badly want to say “Science” but since I went to Catholic school I didn’t learn any science and I’m too afraid a child will ask me a follow-up question I couldn’t possibly answer without googling.

Another answer I’d like to give is “Algebra” since no one likes that subject but you need it to get through SATs, GREs, etc. no matter what you study.  Unfortunately what mentally goes through my mind is the scene from Peggy Sue Got Married when adult Kathleen Turner turns in her High School Algebra exam blank telling the teacher “I know for a fact I’ll never need to use any of this for the rest of my life.”  I can randomly state that line to my math-impaired sister to this day and make her laugh.

So with Algebra and Science off the table and knowing Mexican kids don’t normally have a gym class I’m stuck with the obvious and funny reply to my favorite class.  Hint: It is the name of a Centro street because of the school on it.




Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series.  All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays.  Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA.  Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkingTours.com, and JosephTooneTours.com.

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