A Van Down by the River

The man sits at a long table next to Lauren. Across the table are all Grant’s teachers, the speech therapist, the occupational therapist, and the head of special ed for the school. It is his third grade review of his IEP—a critical evaluation to determine if services will continue. They all have copies of the thirty-page report, full of dense typing, goals, thresholds met, thresholds not met, and recommendations for next year.

The educators are mostly in their fifties or later except for his reading teacher who is probably in her thirties. The OT specialist has just finished, and now it is the speech therapist’s turn.

“I evaluated Grant two weeks ago. Overall, he had a successful evaluation and met standards of third grade proficiency in reproduction, grammar, and pragmatics. My only note is that we started the examination by asking his name. We know he knows it and knows us, but we must do it for the test. He refused to tell us his name.”

“Really?” the man says. “He didn’t answer?”

“No, he answered, but I didn’t understand it. He said something about being named Matt.”

“Yeah, Matt. What was the last name? He said one. Foley? Does that sound right?”

The man sighs. The reading teacher puts her head down while starting to laugh.

“Yeah, he would say that. You didn’t ask where he lives, did you?”

“Yeah, we did. I think he said … it was strange … I think he said he lives in a van down by the river?”

All the educators stare at the man stone-faced except for the reading teacher who is full-on laughing.

“Maybe you’d like to explain that, dear?” says Lauren.

The man is red-faced. “He likes physical humor so I showed him a Chris Farley sketch.”

No movement from the stone faces.

“It’s from Saturday Night Live.”

“Oh,” says the speech therapist. “Well, that was an interesting choice.”

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