Sunday, May 20, 2007

Grad Party June 10th: Clear Your Calenders

Well it's late May of my senior year of high school, which means I'm contracturally obligated to Reflect On Days Gone By. Here we go:

I will miss many things about Brainerd High School. I will miss passing Alan Hewitt in the hall and being completely ignored. I will miss all of the terrific shirts, such as Scott Pagel's "Oh Crap...I'm 50" shirt. I will miss jazz band. And Ron Gilbertson...well, I think I'll miss him most of all.

I believe A.P. Physics has surpassed A.P. U.S. History as my second favorite all-time class, and some days it vies with A.P. Art History for supremacy.

Now, A.P. Physics was not exactly your typical A.P. class. We weren't exactly "busy as beavers." We didn't really have our "noses to the grindstone." Our studies weren't precisely "exhaustive." But I learned a ridiculous amount about a very interesting subject, and I'm cautiously optimistic about maybe getting a 4, so I didn't mind what some COUGH*TIRTH PATEL*COUGH might have considered to be a lack of academic rigor.

The main attraction of this class was not the actual course material (it was unusual if we got to more than about 25 minutes of physics a day); it was the man running the show. Ronald Gilbertson is basically the Jay Gatsby of high school teachers--he's the Platonic conception I imagine other teachers have of themselves: eating apples from his personal mini-fridge, passing out "Diner Lingo" worksheets, doing Geroge Carlin stand up.

The only difference is, with Gilby you don't get the sense that there's some boring square lurking beneath the layers of quirks. All evidence points to the fact that Gilby is Gilby 24-7, even when nobody's watching. Example: Sam and I went up to ask Gilbertson something during his open hour, and when we walked in he was standing three feet from the television, arms crossed, watching a soap opera. He turned towards us after a moment, got us what we needed, bid us farewell, and went back to his stories.

Gilbertson is like an excellent character in a long-running sitcom: he's well-developed (just like a real person!), yet flexible enough that he can keep coming up with new bits and revealing new traits that add to his personality without contradicting anything that came before. Just today, I thought up a few new quirks Gilby could whip out in the last couple of weeks:

1. Close class by saying "See you tomorrow kids. Same Bat time, same Bat channel."
2. Wear a spinning bow tie.
3. Put a duct tape cross on the floor in the front of the room, walk across the room, stop and turn on the cross, and say "Found my mark."

I would be especially pleased if that last one came to pass.

P.S.: I'm not saying that Ron Gilbertson is better than Stu Lade. He's just different.
P.P.S.: Please feel free to add your own favorite Gilby memory to the comment thread.

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At 10:17 PM, May 20, 2007, Blogger Samwalkertron said...

My grad party is July 1st. Perpare for the distribution of invitations tomorrow. Except my Mom had a larger list of mail-order invitees than expected, so only members of the Sam Walker Grad Party VIP Club will be getting them until I print some more.

At 10:48 PM, May 20, 2007, Blogger Hillstorm said...

i better be in the grad party VIP club

At 11:25 PM, May 20, 2007, Blogger keuber said...

greatest gilby moment:

(just last monday)

"GOD gilby, you're such a PRICK!"

--ron gilbertson

At 11:49 PM, May 20, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

Sam, you should make it so I am the sole member of the Sam Walker Grad Party VIP Club.

I think that would be best for everyone involved.

At 12:20 AM, May 21, 2007, Blogger Josh said...

i already got one assholes


sam in denim. goddamn

At 12:51 AM, May 21, 2007, Blogger Tay said...

favorite gilby moment:

we walk into class and gilby has this random sentence written on the board. no one thinks anything of it and we all sit down and begin class as usual. the usual being us talking about random stuff for the first half of class. then gilby puts on this movie about lightning. completely random, but whatever. a little way into the movie, gilby, who had subtly maneueverd to the white board, gives this little "ahem." we all turn and gilby, with his yard stick, taps twice underneathe the sentence. just then this lady, in the most ridiculous way possible, says said sentence.

twas classic.

number two was "it looks like a bong*!"

*the word was really "bomb." but we made sure to rewind the tape and check four or five times to make sure that was indeed what the guy had said. also so gilby could giggle when said "bong" exploded and the guy jumped like a little girl.

At 11:46 AM, May 21, 2007, Blogger hannah said...

thanks for the label max.

At 4:55 PM, May 21, 2007, Blogger PanzerV said...

"but the real question is: do you cross the international date line?" (a common response to a baffled Chris Dens)
and, the evergreen, "Deep", accompanied by the appropriate hand motion.
and for the record, i never doubted your academic rigor so stop spewing such hateful, apocryphal tales about me.

At 5:08 PM, May 21, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

Hey, hey

apocryphal, maybe

but hateful? never

At 5:21 PM, May 21, 2007, Blogger matt said...

the countless number of times he told my class to "turn to page 420 and do b."

also, my personal favorite was when he stopped suddenly in the middle of the lecture because he heard a bird out in the nearby tree. he then spent about 10 minutes whistling to the bird, as if they were talking. when he turned back to a somewhat bewildered class (except for me, who thought it was hilarious) he simply said, "there's a bird out there," and then continued with his lecture.

At 9:18 AM, May 22, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

man. there were so many great gilby moments. most of which, i can't remember. my favorite would have to be this:

so one day in class, he was going through some problems on the board, and we were trying to solve them. i solved one particular problem rather quickly, and undoubtedly said something like "God, I'm good." Anyway, i believe it was matt anderson who, at that point, said "Oooh, do you want a medal or something?" and I said "yeah. I do." Gilby started to grin and there was a glimmer in his eye. he went behind his counter thing and opened a drawer, from which he produced a small, flat, white box. He brought the box to me opened it up, and placed the contents on my desk. He said simply, "A medal." And it was. It was the Bausch and Lomb award for Scientific Achievement, and, to this day, I make note of it on every application i fill out.

At 2:51 PM, May 22, 2007, Blogger Pammy said...

I miss you max.

also sam.

but not if you still have gross facial hair when i come back.

because that is your ticket to treatland, remember?

clean shaven boys get treats.

those are the rules.

At 10:44 PM, May 22, 2007, Blogger constant_k said...

Sam's face now bears an even greater resemblance to a baby's bottom.

On account of it's smoothness, you understand.

At 7:43 PM, May 23, 2007, Blogger Amelia said...

I remember once when gilby bowed to razidlo as he did one of his stopins.

I also remember him locking his keys in his truck and telling us he had never done that before. i don't know if i believe him or not839arc

At 10:52 PM, May 31, 2007, Blogger Jason said...

this is quite tough. i think i'll just put down a few good memories with the qualification that these aren't necessarily the best.

Spending almost if not the entire period of AP Physics one day playing "Name That Musical."

Gilby telling us about Jash and imitating his "haeh" noises.

Taking extended breaks from doing things in class to watch videos, from string theory and a documentary on Einstein (you know, things actually pertaining - at least remotely - to physics) to the magic video, the lightning video, and Young Frankenstein.

One day we were studying the relationship between the temperature and density of water. In the middle of our lesson, Steve Razidlo walks in. Gilby mentions briefly what we're doing, and Razidlo kind of nods, then says, "You know, aren't we lucky ice floats?" Then his cell phone rang and he had to excuse himself to get it, walking out of the classroom. Gilby just sat there with a confused look on his face for a couple minutes, and then proceeded to make fun of Razidlo and make quips about how lucky we are that ice floats for the next couple weeks.

Gilby has a friend who is apparently a judge in some town up north. In the spring, they go picking mushrooms together. One day Gilby came into class to find a message on his machine from "the jduge" as he called him, which he played for us. It was basically this creepy voice talking about "goin' and gettin' some SHRROOOOMMMS." He chuckled at it while everyone in class sat there looking confused. And then he replayed it.

In the middle of explaining a problem, he wandered away from the board and picked a penny up off his desk. "Hmm. A penny," he said. He looked around a little, then saw a small metal box attached to the wall, which might have held a switch or some sort of electronics at some point, but now lay empty. "I think I'll put it in here," he said quietly, put the penny in the box, tapped it a couple times with his finger and nodded, then went back to explaining the problem.

AP Physics was easily my favorite class through all of high school. Runners up include APUSH, AP Chem, and AP Calc. Lang gets honorable mention.


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