My mother’s most famous student — Jeffrey Dahmer, the gay cannibal.
She taught high school for about 25 years in New York, New Jersey and mostly in Bath, Ohio (outside Akron). In the 70’s and 80’s, she was teaching 9th grade at Revere Junior High (nicknamed Reefer Junior High. For you douchebag millennials, reefer was 80’s slang for “marijuana cigarettes”).
In the late 90’s when Dahmer was caught killing and eating men and boys in Milwaukee, it came out that he had gone to “Reefer Junior High.”
Dahmer when he was at Reefer Junior High.
At first, my mother didn’t remember Dahmer. Over the months, as the news stories grew more detailed and tortured, her “memory” got better.
She’s Irish, and like her father and me, we can take one small detail and turn it into a fantastical story (with leprechauns and shit) — especially after a few drinks or in front of 3 or more people.
My grandfather used that skill to sell life insurance during the depression. I’ve only turned it into this Bullshit blog. My mother used the “Irish power” to tell Dahmer (and other) stories.
Eventually, she “knew” he was quiet, didn’t mix with kids, tortured animals and kept a detailed journal. She claimed to have taught him how to outline and keep his thoughts “organized.” Good skills for serial killing.
Stop Talking Shit about My Mama
The Bear could only take this for so long. We were at a big dinner with my in-laws (about a dozen Savages) and no one from my family.
The Bear was telling her own tale of how my mother “exaggerates.”
“The Dahmer story kept getting bigger and bigger,” the Bear giggled. “She practically predicted he would be a killer.”
My 12-year-old ID was pretty butt hurt — the Bear was talking shit about my mama.
But after 2 pitchers of margaritas, I couldn’t think of anything to prove her wrong. My junior high voice blurted out: “Oh Yeah… your mama is a BIG, FAT, LIAR.”
I was 30-something at the time, but my voice cracked like Peter Brady on “FAT”.
The “Your Mama” statement timed perfectly with one of the rarest few seconds in the world — a quiet pause at a Savage dinner.
All the giant Savages turned their penetrating faces toward me. My mother-in-law, the House Elf, was at the head of the table far away. She was suddenly paying attention. She looked like I had just kicked her puppy in the balls.
The Bear slowly explained until even the young Savages could understand. To this day, there are times the Italian Savages call the House Elf, a “big fat liar” in front of me — as a living reminder that the Irish are full of shit.
It could piss me off, I guess. Instead, it makes me laugh, and reminds me that most of our “memories” are bullshit. Like eye-witness testimony, it changes over time — some details “grow”, others are forgotten.
No one ever said it, but my mother taught me, forget about keeping perfectly accurate memories. Blend all your bullshit together until you can spin out at least one good story.
One of her best stories was teaching: “journaling for cannibals” in Bath, Ohio.
I can’t tell it as well as she did, so you poor fuckers are stuck with this Bullshit.