Like most schools in Canada, every September my school does what is known as the Terry Fox run to raise money for cancer research. The run takes place during that month because when Terry Fox had to stop his own run in September 1980 because his cancer had returned, he said that although he had to stop, he expected all Canadians to pick up where he left off and to continue raising money.
This past September, however, BC schools were closed most of the month due to the teachers’ strike, so there was no run. However, my school made the decision to do our run this month, because Terry began his run back in April 1980, so we thought it made just as much sense to do it in April as it does to do it in September.
There are a large number of new people working at my school this year, including our administrators, so we had a staff meeting to talk about how we would do our run. We ended up deciding to run our usual route along the streets of our neighbourhood, inviting parents and caregivers to come along with us. Non-enrolling staff members (like me) and teachers who can’t run or even walk with their students for various reasons (like the late stages of pregnancy) are asked to stand at a few corners along the route, ensuring that everybody goes where they are supposed to go.
I was actually the person who brought that last point up.
“And any staff members who can’t run, plus us non-enrolling teachers, we’re stationed at various corners along the way, to direct the kids and make sure they run along the side of the road and not on peoples’ lawns,” I said. “We’re the – the corner workers!”
The room erupted into laughter. I didn’t get it right away.
One of our teachers with a VERY quick wit then clarified it for me: “And you’ll be wearing your mini-skirt and stilettos?”
Ah. THAT’S why everyone was laughing.
“No, no,” I sputtered. “It’s an auto racing term! You know, corner workers! The guys who stand at the corners of the race track with the flags! The guys who come running out if there’s a crash or a car needs a push or something!”
Don’t ANY of my colleagues know ANYTHING about auto racing?!
So, the afternoon of my school’s Terry Fox run, there I was, standing at my corner in my yoga pants, hoodie, and ever-so-stylish fluorescent orange vest, directing and encouraging the kids as they ran or, in the case of many of the younger ones, walked by. And when that teacher with the VERY quick wit came past, there was another comment tossed my way: “Getting any business there?”
Uh – no.
I guess I wasn’t showing enough leg.