Notes from the Life of a Total Genius

BOOK: Notes from the Life of a Total Genius

For Curtiss, whose email style I can only try to emulate; and for Chelsey, who instilled in me the daily need for both dark green and orange vegetables.


testing … texting …

Who is this?

its rob


rob zack moron. this is my new #

Robbie! How’s it going man? How’s Lethbridge? What’s your new school like?

ok I guess. girls r hot. im gonna go 4 football

I wish you were here. This week has been so weird without you!

New teachers this year too (none are hot). I have Ms Whitehead again for English.

Three years running. Clearly she can’t get enough of the Bean! Ha!

I’ll send you an email about it all. Too much to write in a text.

ya i can tell.

From: Arthur Bean ([email protected])

To: Robbie Zack ([email protected])

Sent: September 4, 19:42

Dear Robbie,

All right, so first, they painted the cafeteria. It’s still white, but they want to put a big mural on one wall. If you were here, you could have entered the contest to design it. That would have been awesome. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same at school as last year. Except for the new teachers, like I mentioned. The new principal is Ms Kraleigh. No word on what she’s like yet. I’m taking Drama this year too, so I met the new Drama teacher. His name is Mr. Harker, but he said that he hates being called Mister. So instead we are going to call him Hark. I asked him if he was an angel (like the Christmas carol) and if he could sing, and he said that he can but once he gets going, he can’t stop singing and that he wouldn’t torture us with his extensive musical knowledge. He’s really cool. If you were here, you would like him. He’s funny and he wants us to do cool stuff and really push the envelope this year.

Other than that, things are pretty normal here. I have my first meeting with Mr. Everett about Kennedy and me being co-editors of the newspaper. I haven’t talked to Kennedy at all this week. I saw her in English, Science and French, and yesterday at lunch, and I saw her today between classes but I barely noticed her at all. She looked really tanned. I don’t know where she went for summer vacation. Probably somewhere fancy. She still hangs out with Catie too, but I don’t know why anyone would choose to hang out with Catie. Girls remain a mystery.

How was the last week of camp? I’m sorry I had to leave before we finished our film. Did it turn out all right? Camping with my dad was OK. We were right beside a lake, but it was freezing, not like at Flying Spirit camp. I can’t believe I had to leave one camp to go camp somewhere else! Hanging with my dad got a bit boring too, so I was glad that Luke came with us. It’s too bad you couldn’t come. Maybe you and Luke will visit at the same time this year and you guys can meet. Clearly, your mom didn’t plan moving away properly. My cousin lives in Edmonton. You live in the exact opposite direction. Did she not think about me at all in her relocation?

Ha! Just kidding.

Sorry. I just realized that this is really long. I hope you actually read the whole thing.

Yours truly,

Arthur Bean

From: Robbie Zack ([email protected])

To: Arthur Bean ([email protected])

Sent: September 4, 22:00

hey artie

ya things here r weird. living w mom again means that shes allways around and makes me lunch to take. like i want to bring a lunch! i told her i can eat at the caf, but she says its unhealthy. caleb stays in his room all day and theres alot of yelling.

so far my new school sux. its really small and no one talks to me. witch is kind of like the end of last yr in Calgary anyway. Ha! im allready planning coming home.


September 5th

Dear RJ,

It seems so strange to be in grade nine. It feels like just yesterday that I was afraid of the grade nines. They were so much cooler than us! Now there are kids in the lower grades who will worship me! Ha! Hopefully all the adoration won’t go to my head.

First things first, I need to convince Robbie to move back to Calgary. I still can’t believe he would choose to live in Lethbridge with his mom. So far, grade nine sucks without him here. I didn’t have anyone to eat lunch with, so I ate by my locker and felt like a nerd. I hate feeling like a nerd. Until I can either get new friends or convince Robbie to move home, it looks like it’s just me and you, my trusty RJ. A reading journal as a friend … man, I AM a nerd.

I have big plans for tomorrow though. I’m going to find out if Kennedy is talking to me. She’s probably figured out by now that all the stuff people said about Robbie last year was made up. And then she will apologize for everything that happened last year, and we can hang out again. By hang out, I mean as
. I don’t even want to date her anymore. I’m a cool, single guy at the top of the school chain. Let the ladies line up! Kennedy will see exactly what she missed out on!

Yours truly,

Arthur Bean

Assignment: Goals for the Year

Welcome back, grade nines! I’m glad to see some familiar faces in my class, and to see some new ones, too. I’m certain we’re going to have a great final year together. This year’s English curriculum focuses on strengthening your writing and critical thinking skills. We’ll be exploring new literary devices and opening our minds to different writing genres in fun, creative ways.

In order to get more out of this year, take some time to reflect on what you would like to work on. Maybe you’d like to be a greater grammarian. Perhaps you want to polish up your poetry prowess, or strengthen your summarizing skills. It’s important to set some personal goals, since each of you has your own strengths and challenges. Think about what you want to accomplish in your final year of junior high English. Come up with three well-defined goals for yourself, and write them down. Let’s see if we can meet these goals together!

Due: September 10

Hey, Artie! Hey, Kennedy!

I’m excited to be working with two very fine reporters this year as the Terry Fox Jr. High Marathon editors. You’re both extremely strong writers, and you have complementary skills to bring depth to the school newspaper this year. So, before we go on, thank you for taking on this challenge. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll work together as a team to make the Marathon the best it can be! Remember, though: there’s no “i” in team, but there is one in “deadline.”

I know you two are friends, which is good, because you can run ideas past each other between meetings. We’ll spend the next meeting brainstorming some great ideas for stories, and marking key events on the Marathon calendar so that we’re ready to send our reporters out on the scene. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns before we start. Otherwise, let’s make this year great by being concise, clear and objective! We’ll be the only paper that is black, white, read all over and totally transparent!

Mr. E.

Dear Mr. Everett,

First, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to run the newspaper. As you know, I’ve been working hard to hone my unique editorial voice over the last couple of years, and I’m definitely ready to let it be heard. I expect that Kennedy and I are on the same page, or at least in the same newspaper section, when it comes to the direction of the Marathon this year. I, for one, would like to get rid of the sports page because I’m pretty sure no one reads it. After all, it’s only there for the kids who are on sports teams, and I don’t think they ever read anything. I think we should have a bigger editorial section and also write about important national and municipal issues. We could use my assignments from Social Studies for this part, since Ms Denault is making us watch the news and respond to it. In fact, if we publish my assignments, it might make my homework better. I definitely write my best work when I know there will be a big audience.

These are just a few of my ideas. Obviously, there will be more.

Yours truly,

Arthur Bean


Hmm, maybe I needed to be clearer: You’re not, as you put it, “running the paper.” As a co-editor you, Kennedy and I will be working
to plan out the paper each week. There will be some editorial articles, but I want you to remember the numerous conversations we’ve had over the past two years about being kind and being objective. Don’t rush to conclusions about other students; remarks like your assumption that athletic students don’t read are exactly what need to be avoided. As a side note, I can’t tell if you’re joking about publishing your homework; if you were, that’s a good one, since it’s clearly never going to happen!

I really do appreciate that you have big ideas for the paper, and we can talk about all of them. I’m as stoked as you are about this year, and you’re a great writer and a radical dude. But it’s going to be important to be aware of other people even more this year. As you young kids say, check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Mr. E.

From: Robbie Zack ([email protected])

To: Arthur Bean ([email protected])

Sent: September 7, 11:45

i was bored last nite so i did a thing 4 ur paper.

From: Arthur Bean ([email protected])

To: Robbie Zack ([email protected])

Sent: September 7, 13:08

Dear Robbie,

That’s awesome! Maybe we can use it for the masthead, although I probably have to ask Kennedy and Mr. Everett. I talked to Kennedy at our editors meeting on Friday. I know you don’t care, and neither do I, but she said that she went to BC with Catie’s family for part of the summer. We kind of talked a bit about non-newspaper stuff. It was pretty normal, almost like nothing happened last year between her and me. I don’t know if she’s still dating the same guy. I didn’t ask, because it doesn’t matter to me at all. I’m so over her. It’s almost scary how much I don’t care. I mean, I still think she’s nice, but just in a friend way. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Yours truly,

Arthur Bean

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