These past five months, above all, have been a lesson in teen slang. I never thought I would be in my twenties and completely confounded by my students, but it’s officially happened.
I remember being thirteen and a little shit and signing out for the PEN15 club on the blackboard, thinking my substitute teacher would have no idea what I was saying, thinking I was sooooo clever. I realize now, more than a decade later, when my students call me “the plug,” that karma is a very real thing.
A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation that went something along these lines:
Student A: (unintelligible muttering) BBJ! Miss…yeah definitely bro hahaha
Student B: She a total BBJ!
When the surrounding students collapsed into fits of giggles in the corner, side-eyeing me, trying to be subtle, I obviously needed to find out what BBJ was. PSA: Urbandictionary-ing, while useful, is not a foolproof method for this reason.
Me: What’s BBJ, and why is that me?
Me: Come on. Tell me.
Me: I’ll give you candy if you tell me.
One kid: Oooh OK, what kind of candy?
Everyone else: SHUT UP, Brandon! No!
Since it was the end of the day, and rightbefore a weekend, I had neither the will nor the energy to super sleuth the BBJ situation, and I’m pretty sure I went home, ate bread, passed out on the couch, and dreamed sweet, sweet, student-less dreams.
One week later, anonymous student makes “BBJ Lover” his/her username in a classroom game. Everyone laughs and looks at me. Someone else makes “DTG” his username, and screams, “Deep Throat Gang,” from the back of the room. I think to myself, “How could he ever say that to a teacher?!” and then I remember PEN15.
I google both BBJ and DTG, against my better judgment. The results are profane and predictable. I eat more bread and pray for the future of America.
Two weeks pass, and it all blows over. I finally learn what “finna” and “boe” mean, and despite my new knowledge, I do not feel enlightened.
Today, Student A comes to my room at the end of the day, looking for his phone. He asks me if I ever learned what BBJ means. I say no. He laughs at me. I erase the board, feeling old, lame, like a real damn adult.
Student C takes pity on me and tells me that BBJ means “Big Booty Judy,” and it’s so anticlimactic that I’m almost disappointed.
Then I remember they’ve all been calling ME “Big Booty Judy,” and it makes me love and hate everything all at once, and for the first time, I truly understand why half my teachers were eccentric and had sixteen cats and tattooed eyeliner and wore capes.
Thank God for the weekend, people. Finna be lit.