Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Commemorative T-Shirts

In which the blogger toots his own horn through the words of others

When I was a younger adult (that is, five to fifteen years ago), I worked in a number of short-term teamwork situations and established a tradition of having my co-workers sign, with multi-colored Sharpies, a t-shirt representing our experience when it came to its conclusion, much like one would sign a yearbook at the end of a school year. I recently had occasion to re-discover these t-shirts and read through them again. I'm going to transcribe those t-shirts for you here. ("Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it goes...")

Shirt from IU's Summer Orientation Program 1996, when I was one of the student-staff supervisors
  • It has been fabulous working with you this summer. I have had the best time and I learned a lot. So, watchagonnawanndois* stay in touch! ~ Kate
  • Scott - Honestly the bestest boss in the whole wide world, thanks for making a difficult job FUN! ~ Gretch
  • Scott, It has been an absolutely wonderful experience working with you this summer. To use your words, Scott, you're cool! Have a good rest of the summer!! ~ Kim
  • Scott, Thank you for being such a good example for us all to follow. You are a very good person and I will never forget you! ~ Maurice
  • Scott, Thanks for a great summer! You really made it so much better, with all the scavenger hunts, cookouts, and groovy messages. I really appreciate everything you went out of your way for. Even though I lost my watch, I look at it as a sacrifice because you have one now. Love you, Sue
  • Scott: Thanks for a great two years of fun with Orientation. You've been with me when I struggled at BW-3's (Blazin's) and in the Forest Dining Hall (The "Vulture"). Thanks for being the biggest role model of our Orientation experience. You truely made this program the way it is: friendly, fun, and always exciting! Take care, Greg
  • Scott -- Just wanna say thanks for being such a great leader, motivator, and all-around person. Keep your eyes peeled + watch for "taco-stick days!" ~ Brandon
  • Scott - Wow, what can we say. You are just one of the most awesome, creative individuals I have ever met. I have learned so much from you. Thanks for it all. Whatchagonnawannadois* stay special and keep in touch! [Heart}, Sarah
  • Scott - You Rock!!! I've already told you a thousand times before, you're great. Truely, it's been a great honor to work with someone who is as wise as you. ~ Rob
  • Well, Scott, what can I say...Thanks for everything!!! Kings Island, When I hit my head, When I was sick, Being a great friend and leader. Keep in touch, Chris A.
  • Scott, I don't know how to thank you for all of your enthusiasm. You kept me going. I will never forget this experience. ~ Liz
  • Thanks for an awesome experience, killer scavenger hunts, and for being yourself (which means being hip)! ~ Dave D.
  • Scott, You are totally awesome. You were a great leader. Thanks for everything. ~ Scott
  • Scott: It's been fun knowing you! Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity! You're a great leader. ~ Tasha
  • Scott, I learned so much from you in so little time. You did a great job. ~ Darrell
  • Scott, I had a fantastic time working with you the past two years. You are a fabulous, wonderful person. Best wishes always! ~ Andrea
  • S. S. Semester, Thanks for an awesome experience! You are a great motivator and mean so much to me! Whatchagonnawannadois* Ha! Always remember that what you do best you do most. Kings Island Forever! 3 outfits are best and quite impressive! Thanks! ~ Southern Comfort [Me: Who? Oh, Courtney.]
  • Scott -- You are the most positive person I've ever met. I'm so happy I had the opportunity to work with you. You are a wonderful person! You will do well in anything you choose to do. Thanks for being a great teacher and friend. ~ Susannah

* In the summer of 1994, the first summer I worked on the summer program staff, we invented the word "Whatchagonnawannadois" because "What you are going to want to do is..." took too long to say when we were giving lost parents directions to get caught up with their children students. This became instantly ingrained in the culture of the student staffs for the four years I worked with the program, including 1996, my third year on the team and first year as one of the supervisors.

From IU's Summer Orientation Program 1997, when I was again one of the student-staff supervisors

  • Scott, working with you has been a pleasure! Orientation did not even feel like a real "job"! This mainly is due to you and your leadership style. Scott, you're the BOMB! (unsigned)
  • Scott, Thanks for everything! That's the best way to sum up my thanks to you. Best wishes, Jo'el
  • Scott, Do you have any more gum? That is correct. Thanks for your example. ~Stan
  • Scott, you are a wonderful person! I so enjoyed working with you for the past three years. Keep in touch, Andrea
  • El Capitan, you did a great job this summer! -- Shay
  • Scott -- You make me think, you make me laugh. I'm so glad you've been a part of my life. ~ Melanie
  • You make me giggle! [Heart], Shannon, or "Schwannian the Sheath"**
  • Scott S. - Ooohh! Your inspiring words and encouragement have meant so much to me....You are MY role model. Good luck! [Heart] Keisha
  • Scott, You are awesome! Orientation was the best job I've ever had, and in large part it was due to you! Good luck @ the Disco (also known as Briscoe)! ~Jenni
  • Scott, Keep up that laughter journal! Oprah could call any day! ~ Mo
  • Scott -- You are truly a good friend and inspiration to me. I love your sense of humor and you rock as a leader and boss. You will rock in whatever you do! Stay in touch! [Heart], Rachel PS - Where did you get the butter?
  • YOU ROCK! Scott, You are the greatest! Have fun at Briscoe and at WQ! ~ Scott
  • "Hi, guys!" Thanks for not attacking first and asking questions later! You've been a real role model to me! See you in the North Tri-Quad! ~ Sean
  • Scott -- Thanks for all you do. We couldn't have made this program a success without you. Thanks for your smiles, feedback, and encouragement. Good luck! Take care! ~ Jen
  • Hey Scott, I'd still die for you guys. ~ BR
  • Scott -- Thank you for everything. You are a great friend and an awesome boss. You rock my world with your ghetto ass!! You make things happen! ~ Ro
**My co-supervisor was named Shannon. We used WordPerfect97 for all our premillennial word-processing needs, and the WP97 spellcheck did not care for the word "Shannon." It always suggested the word Schwannian, meaning "of or relating to the Schwann cells," which form a protective, insulating myelin sheath which covers peripheral nerves. Hence, "the Sheath."

From Cross-Cultural Solutions's Ghana Program in June/July/August 2003, when I was the only one over the age of 22 with a group of American and European volunteers in West Africa

  • To the most amazing man with a million and one talents -- ¡Thank You! [Heart] Darcy
  • Croutons forever -- the Garlic kind. Love, Danielle
  • I am so impressed with everything you touch for it all turns to gold. Love, Sarah
  • It's time for ... Key Number!*** You're my favorite game-show host ever! ~ Katy
  • Remember Ziavi -- the most peaceful & hectic place ever. I loved sharing it with you! [Heart] Sonya
  • A voluntre man work with faith. ~Kwaku
  • You have done an excellent job. We shall all miss you. Come back again - and soon! ~ Ellen
  • Here's a tip!*** Do not eat the skin of a grasscutter! Good luck in Canada! [Heart], Hope
  • To the master of fun, the entertainer, the king of cream. ~ Sam
  • SCOTT: Special, Caring, Old, Terrific, Talented. I would touch you for all of these! ~ Abby

*** Since there was nothing at all to do after dark in Ho, we had to get creative. I invented the game show Key Number, which was sort of like "Outburst" and "Name That Tune" all rolled into one. (We should play it some time.) I also started my own improvised cooking show. Based heavily on what I had seen on the Food Network, my catchphrase was "Here's a tip!" and I would then drop some helpful-hint knowledge on the younger kids -- stuff like how to get the skin off garlic easily or how to make a double boiler for melting chocolate. (BTW, grasscutter is a large rodent that is found all over Ghana. Ghanaians can eat it. You should not.)


K.T. said...

I miss taco sticks.

Meana said...

If this doesn't highlight your talents, I'm not really sure what else does! :) Seriously though, it is a testament to our (as in higher ed) should be out here encouraging, inspiring students to do their best work AND keep laughing while they're doing it.

The Zoo Keepers said...

Don't lie. You've been wearing these shirts as undershirts for years so that you can surreptitiously peek at the words of encouragement and praise throughout the day.

Am I right? I am so right.

Also, maybe if you'd been my supervisor I wouldn't have been emotionally scarred by the RA experience... but then again, maybe I would have been emotionally scarred in a good way.

Sean Driscoll said...

Oh, god, my hip hurts, I feel so old. I forgot about Schwannian. I wonder if I still have my T-shirt around... I fear it may have been lost in the last move.

SSS said...

KT -- I know, right? Unlimited flautas WITH nacho bar?! It's one of the things I could ALMOST love Peggy Langlie for. :) Almost.

Meana -- Thanks! With that kind of praise, I could almost be persuaded to start working in Greencastle. :) Almost.

Mrs. K -- Indeed, any time you see me wearing an undershirt, I'm hoping beyond hope that I don't sweat too much and end up with Sharpie transfer, with inside jokes and personal praise all over me. With regard to the emotional scarring, that goes both ways. :)

Sean Driscoll -- If you can find that t-shirt, read it! What a great experience it was to find such great memories. Though I'll be damned if I can remember anyone's last names!