In a Pinch
Mrs. Principe (Pronounced Prince-i-pea) had a way of looking perturbed that made nearly everyone smile.
She had manicured fingernails, perfect hair, and seemed a bit out of touch – ditsy. Perhaps the difference between Filipino and American culture was a factor.
Travis Tweedie and I sat in English class with our desks pressed up against Mrs. Principe’s. Good students sat toward the back.
When you misbehaved she called you forward and pinched your forearm with her impeccable nails. It was a badge of honor. We laughed in the hall, after.
Everyone enjoyed Mrs. Principe because she loved students, English, and, she was just a bit out of touch.
Mrs. Principle’s teaching rhythm went like clockwork. She sat, talked, stood, turned to write on the board, and then sat again.
One day, when Mrs. Principe was deep in her rhythm, Travis and I began nudging her desk toward the chalk board. Every time she turned, we nudged and then pulled our desks forward. I could feel the pinch coming.
After several rotations, the gap between our desks and the ones behind us grew obvious. We waved everyone forward.
She turned. Travis and I pushed. Everyone slid forward. Eventually, the space between Mrs. Principie’s desk and the black board grew so narrow that she had trouble pulling out her chair to sit.
When the light finally came on, she gave us her hands-on-hips perturbed look. We burst into laughter. Only Mrs. Principe got pinched that day.
Apart from awareness and intervention, life gently narrows. One day, you blink and ask, “How did I get in this pinch?”
Where do environments narrow?
How can leaders monitor environments?
Integers ting article
Interesting comment… 🙂
The thing(s) that I liked about this article was that she was original. She was not afraid to be herself. She also had a passion and for what she was teaching and for the welfare of her students. So many leades are afraid to be themselves so they do not make that much of an impact.
If this teacher choose to to be herself, I wonder how much of an impact she would make ?
Mrs. Principe was an original…thats why I remember her.
Heard this story told long ago as “how to cook a bullfrog”!!!
Don’t drop them in boiling water, they will jump out!! Put them in lukewarm comfy water and slowly turn up the heat. They swim around comfortable till they are cooked!!!
So slumbering through this human experience half asleep, unaware, basicly mouth breathing knuckle dragging STUPID……Or wake up smell the coffee and don’t worry if there is life after death but in YOUR case, life after birth!!!!!
I try to live each moment as if it were my last. That rolls into each hour, each day Yada Yada Yada!!!! Working pretty pretty pretty good if I do say so myself!
I try to point out stupidity and levels of lame I never thought possible And thee see opportunities to do that daily aplenty, let me tell ya!!!!
But all in all there has to a pony here someplace so I try to mozy on down the hill with the young bull in toe…..and you know the rest of the story!!!! Or maybe you don’t!!!!!
Shifterp back to now tiptoeing down the hill to visit the cows!!!!?
I like the Mrs. Principe story better than the bullfrog story. First of all, who wants to boil bullfrogs. But trapping Mrs. Principe is pure delight.
A while ago I read that they debunked that bullfrog story. It doesn’t work. The bullfrog wants out. They’re cold-blooded and extremely sensitive to even small temperature changes. I prefer something like, “You can sink a big ship with a small leak over time,” or something like that. 🙂
Well it seems we have a couple of literal thinkers. How interesting that must be for the two of you.
SP back to Now
LOL, Scott, I’m actually an off–the–charts intuitive (a curse and a blessing), but to my mind, a metaphor or analogy is much more illustrative and meaningful when what it’s based on is actually so. Which reminds me of the what a contemporary of Twain’s, Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) once wrote: “I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.” 😉
Hehe, either way you are a smart dude with a sense of humor!
I heard it “it ain’t what you know, it is what you know that just ain’t so”!!!! True or not?? Who knows?? Lol
Truth is an interesting concept, right!! Intuit this, only 7% of our consciousness we are aware of, just now entering the 4th Dimension of Existence of 12, we have 64 strands of DNA id’d SO FAR and only 20 switched to the ON position!!!
So internalizing that how with MOST of the information to make a quality decision of TRUTH or not completely unavailable to us…..how exactly does one decide on TRUTH???
Was Dans story of princiepie true or made up? Did ya like that based on it being true or cause ya got the moral of his story? Did it mean anything to you if it was made up or change the way you feel about it if Dan told you he made it all up?
Who knows!!!! Good thing is you seem to be a smart caring fella with a sense if humor!!!!! Pretty good qualities to have the way I see it as we navigate ourselves mostly in the dark!!!
Have a good one and thanks for sharing openly and politely. Hope you see my response in the same light.
SP back to now!!!!
Thanks, Scott, and your reply is well received. 😉 As for Josh Billing’s quote, he riffed on it in a number of different ways in his appearances and writings, but the one I selected was actually written by him at one of his lectures—thus his own humorous take on the spelling. Easy for me to understand, because I myself will word things slightly differently from appearance to appearance. 🙂
Oh, and your point is well–taken on the made–up story. A good story, a nursery rhyme, a fable, or legend may depend on complete fiction and fantasy and even magic to get a point across, and we all get that. But what I meant by “actually so” in this case is in the scientific sense… to my mind, the reputed reaction of the bullfrog to the heat is kind of central to the story… so if it is scientifically inaccurate, it kind of takes the wind out of the sails of it. 🙂 I think it’s fine to say “the proverbial bullfrog,” and that gets you off the hook! Haha…
Yes, at LEAST from time–to–time, it benefits us to look outside our customary rhythms and habits of both thought and action, else we risk the squeeze. I like it. That’s my impression from this charming anecdote. 🙂
I started feeling the need to lift my head and look around as I remembered the story… perhaps just a pause…a breath…and a look around is enough.
And since you were there, did she perhaps know of your escapades all along, and just let you play it out to see how far it would all go, and what you’d all learn (including her) on the way, and if nothing else, to have some fun along with you. 🙂
Good thought Mark…but she truly was a bit out of touch or unaware of things. It was so hilarious.
The rhythm of life drowns out the call of progress.. Suddenly we are nowhere. A proper dose if dissatisfaction and a change of perspective (especially from a trusted colleague) are helpful.
KaPow! I love that opening sentence and the insight to embrace dissatisfaction.
Rather than ignoring or drowning out dissatisfactions..try listening.
Ignoring the issue does not make it disappear. Tunnel vision is the leprosy of leadership. Sometimes I think in our minds as long as we complete “the tasks” we have outlined that we have succeeded. But not paying enough attention to what is going on around us can actually cause the troubles/troublemakers to multiply.
“Leprosy of leadership” … not that’s a phrase.
It’s not just about results…the way we get results matter too. We need to pay attention to the nature of our interactions and our environment.
Good call on the issue of problems/trouble makers escalating if we don’t pay attention… if we don’t pay attention we will pay.
As an educator your thoughts put a smile on my face. Mrs. Principe seems to have had a great sense of humor as some of my staff members would have sent you and your friend to the office for being disruptive. Too many times we take ourselves too seriously.
She was great. I’ve forgotten lots of teachers but not Mrs.Principe.
I can relate to Mrs. Principe 🙂 There are times I need to heal and it is easy to allow the rhythm/current of the work cycle to carry me through the day. Then comes the pinch…….to remind me that rest time is over.
You remind me that rhythms have value too…. perhaps drifting to catch our strength is useful..but of course, we have to deal with that narrow space, sooner or later.
Oh the paces we put our teachers through! I’m sure Mrs. Principe was a great teacher– in part because of her routine. I love how you tied it together, though. Even great leaders can put the blinders on and be in a pinch before they realize it!
She was great and yes, I’m afraid I put many of my teachers through the paces. She’s my best story on don’t let things creep up on you.
Another example of “scope creep”? As I have traveled through life, one of the things that I have gotten better at is playing things through in my mind. No one like to be blind-sided unless it is a surprise birthday party.
Monitoring environments takes the initiative of playing out scenarios from the present point and if you get the wrong result, go to the point where diversion happened and analyze the events. IT techs are taught that when a customer has a virus, to find out what was done leading up to the change.
How true that is for anyone. Sometimes we are so emotionally involved, we cant plan our lives. I am preaching to myself here also. If we cared enough about ourselves, we would trust a life coach or mentor.to help guide us into the difficult situations, understanding that they know the end result.
Wonderful insights. I find it challenging to just start where I am. Baggage from the past or hopes that things will get better clouds my judgement. Plus, there’s the influence of just wishing things were better that invites me to pretend they are.
I love your challenge. In my world, I use the question, “Where does this take us?” Perhaps, “Where might we end up if we choose this path?” is important. It’s strange how every path has a destination.
Another example of personal experience as metaphor. Isn’t pan-applicability wonderful? Thanks for the insight and the chuckle, Dan.
I’m still enjoying “pan-applicability” 🙂
Sometimes it’s so great to be in contact with so called out of touch people. They spice up your life. They make you do things you would not otherwise do and without knowing it create memories of a lifetime. Cheers to Mrs. Principe!
I so appreciate the dangers of always being in touch… what about dreaming? Get in touch with some folks who are out of touch!
Hmm, why am I not surprised you were sitting up front in the first place Dan!?
Obviously, Ms Principe needed one of those rear view mirrors that says, ‘students in mirror are closer than they appear’……
I have actually ordered up a little rear view mirror for my cubeland habitat so folks can’t sneak up on me….
Hmmm, why am I not surprised that you took a poke at me? 🙂
Have a great week.
I believe it was actually Mr. Clator’s class and it was Tim F and me. You are correct that Timmy and I were located at the front of the class for just cause!
Thanks Travis. Funny how memory is. You could be right. I’m pretty sure it was Mrs. Principe. 🙂 Glad you dropped in.