Ariana Who?


I’m forty-seven.

Now, please don’t stop reading. This post is not going to be about inching closer to the next decade of numbers. I promise. No crisis here, just some good ol’ self-deprecating humor.

I’m reminded of being in my (ahem) late forties almost every Monday through Friday. I get Saturdays and Sundays to take my rest, I guess. You see, two of my teammates are in their twenties. Two whole decades of numbers down from mine. It didn’t take long for me to realize I could be their father- and now that one of them is expecting her first child, I could be a grandfather. Thank you, next.

Here’s some things about twenty-somethings.

They text very fast. With two fingers. I use one. I still get the message out, but slower, of course. In a recent meeting with my twenty-something colleagues, I was selected to send a question (via text) to another colleague (who is also likely younger) while they watched. And waited. And waited. And waited. When I looked up, I saw four twenty-something eyes staring at me as if I had just landed from planet rotary phone. Of course laughter ensued and forty stared in my face. Thank you, next.

Twenty-somethings have pop culture pumping through their veins. They can code-switch from teacher talk to pop culture lingo in a split second. Unbeknownst to me, we can be having multiple conversations in a meeting and I must either come up for a breath and/or show my forty card and ask for a quick translation. Sometimes one of them is kind enough to slow down a bit and offer an explanation, but not without an eye roll and a slap on the table “you don’t know who ___________ is?”  And I’m thinking, well, no, I don’t. I thought we were discussing our students’ number sense and ways to make ten. 

And that’s precisely how I learned who Ariana Grande is.

If you, dear reader, don’t know who she is, pause and breathe. I won’t laugh at you. Let Google or YouTube be your friend and then you can return to this post. I’ll be here. Search for Thank You, Next or Seven Rings.

Are you back? Don’t feel bad about taking a minute. I had to. I went home that afternoon  and I did just what I was advised to do by the twenty-somethings. Only I did it in the privacy of my home on my computer. (In the meeting, one of them had pulled up an image of Ariana in a nanosecond to show me on her smartphone, but I was too stressed out about number sense- and remember- I can’t code-switch that quickly.) Anyway, dare I say, I kind of fell in love with Ariana that night. Her tunes are catchy and kind of low-budget creative.

I guess Ariana is pretty big right now. She’s the latest Beyonce, maybe? I do know who Beyonce is. She may be the last pop star I spent my time with before I noticed I was out of touch with the latest pop culture. Perhaps I was still texting on my flip phone when all this goodness began to leave me in the dust.

Since I’ve met Ariana, her lyrics pop up in my mind at the oddest of times. Thank You, Next (the title of one of her hits) has become a phrase I use on the fly. Yes, I did just say “on the fly.” Think about it. You can say “thank you, next” to dismiss many of life’s problems. Don’t want to clean your bathroom? Thank you, next. Grocery shop? Thank you, next. Forget about that long staff meeting? Thank you, next.

It can also be used to give yourself props and get moving on to your next accomplishment. Here are some examples: I cleaned the bathroom!  Thank you, next! I made it to the grocery store before the mad rush. Thank you, next! I didn’t fall asleep in that staff meeting! Thank you, next!

Today, Friday, March 8th, 2019, I’m feeling not so forty (something). I guess I owe this to my dear twenty-something colleagues who I also consider my friends. I also owe this to Ariana. Yes, we are on a first name basis. I may or may not have downloaded two of her songs (so far).

And as for the forty feelings that are bound to creep up again? I guess I’ll turn to another lyric or two from Ms. Grande: I’ve got so much love. Got so much patience. I’ve learned from the pain. I turned out amazing.

Thank you, next.



18 thoughts on “Ariana Who?

  1. This is the perfect Friday post, FUN! So many times I’ve experienced this. My most embarrassing was definitely my lack of savvy about “Netflix and chill.” Boy, did my eighth graders love that! Can’t wait to read more. (My husband just read a newspaper headline aloud, Grand Funk Railroad at Chinook Winds…” Are those guys still alive?”) I say celebrate the victories! Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I laughed so hard. Although I know who Ariana and Beyonce are (and Lady Gaga, and Adele…) I couldn’t name or even identify one song by any of them. I know just enough to get myself into trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fun slice 🙂 I especially liked this whole paragraph: “It can also be used to give yourself props and get moving on to your next accomplishment. Here are some examples: I cleaned the bathroom! Thank you, next! I made it to the grocery store before the mad rush. Thank you, next! I didn’t fall asleep in that staff meeting! Thank you, next!”

    You hooked me on the twowritingteachers page with your title. It’s just too funny that you posted about Ariana Grande today. The last week or 2, my daughter has been asking to watch this gymnastics movie that she has seen several times. I’m trying to explain it to my BFF and I tell her that the gymnasts name (and it’s a true story) is Ariana Grande. It comes out of my mouth and then I instantly say, wait, that’s not right! But now the name Ariana Grande is the only name I can think of. It takes quite a while to finally get out the name Ariana BERLIN. So then the next time my daughter asks about the movie, she says, what’s her name again? Ariana Grande?? No! I say. That’s a singer. But she does it again the next time she watches it. And so do I. I don’t know who many times I called this gymnast Ariana Grande. Then an Ariana Grande song comes on the radio (I’m not a fan. I can’t understand a darn word that comes out of her mouth. And I’m into pop culture. And I’m a music teacher.) and I try to turn it off quickly, but my daughter stops me. “I like this song!” It’s her newest one that has the “My Favorite Things” melody in it. She asks who’s singing and I tell her. “Ariana Grande???!” We both laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So happy for you and Ariana. It sounds as if things are working out great for the two of you. You’re a step ahead of me. Two of my teammates are less-than-half my age; they frequently remind me that they could be my daughters. If I told them I was into Ariana’s music, they’d hire a social worker for me. They already endure my unilateral hearing loss and porcupine-like eyebrows. Sigh. Fully enjoyed this piece. You must be exhausted though — now, go get your rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I LOVE this post! I think the twenty-somethings who surround me would type I LOVEEEE this post. (Am I supposed to read that as “lovey” or “luuuuuuuuuv”? I’m never quite sure.) I enjoyed the self-deprecation, the humor, the play on words, all of it. Solid work!
    PS- I’m 46 and constantly try to prove how cool I still am to my third graders and own children.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is too funny. “Seven Rings” just came on the radio.
    Daughter: “How does she sing like that? Like, what is she saying??”
    Son: “I think it might be French or something?”


    No guys. That’s just how she sings. So you can’t understand a word she’s saying, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a 20 something this had me almost in tears laughing (not AT you, just simply with you 🙂 ) Also, “thank you, next” is something I say to my third graders all the time, who thoroughly love it. This post was hilarious and fun, thank you for sharing!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. HI Keith, I have loved this slice! The whole way you put this together had a rhythm that moved me right through it, made me laugh, and made me think too!
    I dropped you an email the other day. If you get a chance, I’d love to feature either this or your post titled, Ripples on my last day of hosting March 11. Let me know! Thanks so much.

    Liked by 1 person

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