Boston Public
Chapter Thirty-Seven

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Today's word of the day is...

Harvey's room. Some kid comes in and complains that Harvey ruined his life. "I ruin many lives. In what way specifically did I ruin yours?" Apparently, Harvey wrote an unfavorable letter that kept the kid out of Amherst. Harvey does not seem apologetic in the slightest.

Outside the Un-Geon, Ronnie is talking to Natalie, the girl who got arrested under a bridge. Natalie is saying that the assignment was lame, and all she was really trying to do was really experience the life of a homeless person. Ronnie takes a pause, apologizes for perhaps being insulting, and then asks Natalie where she lives. "With my mother." Where? "Look, I don't want you going there." Uh-oh. Looks like somebody lives in a van down by the river.

Meanwhile, Marla comes into Dick Teachie's room. "What's this I hear about you teaching your class to use a certain word?" Teachie tries to clarify, but Marla's not big on letting other people talk. Then she spots a box full of copies of Randall Kennedy's book, which is called "Nigger." Teachie says it's a good book. Marla's all, "What's the title?" "You see the title." "I also see that you're uncomfortable saying it." "I'm not uncomfortable." "Say it." "I don't want to." "Why not?" "Because in this context, you might perceive it as hostile." She asserts that it's a hostile word in any context, and that he doesn't get to explore it. He wants to know if that's because he's white, and suggests that Marla come to his class. She says she'll have a little chat with Steven instead, and he says she'll have to. Uh-oh. Looks like somebody might end up teaching in a van down by the river.

Delineation Alley. Marla and Steven stride along together, while she delivers one of her patented breathless monologues, that continues long past the point where the person she's talking to has already emphatically agreed with her. Steven promises to look into the Dick Teachie situation. She says he'd better, or various people will crawl up his ass, including her. No, really, that's what she says.

In the special meeting room, the parents of the kid who didn't get into Amherst, Mason, are meeting with Scott and, for some reason, Lauren. I guess because she's the official Lipschultz defender at the school. They are not happy. There's mentions of lawyers and whatnot, predictably. Blah blah blah fire-Harvey-cakes. Scott asks if Harvey has a particular ax to grind with the kid, and the parents hesitate a bit. Apparently, Mason is the one who ran Harvey's pants up a flag pole last year. Lauren asks a salient question, which is, given that animosity, "why ask [Harvey] for a recommendation." The other shoe drops: nobody did ask him.

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Boston Public

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