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Better Than a Kick in the Seat of the Pants · 9 January 2016


Apparently, I say the same things over and over and over. And if I had a smart phone, I could listen to myself.


Last year, a couple of my AP Computer Science students made an app called The Miyoshi Soundboard that they released on Google Play. It is just a collection of some of the things I say during class. That apparently, I say a lot. Like I said, over and over and over again.


It is funny to read the reviews on it. Students and former students tell about finding their inner truth and say other stuff that makes me laugh. Almost as loud as when I hear myself from across the room. “Getting any work done over there?”


Now that my wife and kids have joined the twenty-first century and gotten smart phones, they have comments too. Not digital ones, just ones to me.


One of my sons, Thing 2, thinks it is funny that there is an app out there about me. In fact, I am amazed that he downloaded it. He must have wanted to show his friends that people not only make fun of me in person, they like to do it online and with apps.


My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, had a couple comments too. Actually, a couple questions. First, she wants to know when the iPhone version comes out. (Probably never according to my students.) And then, she wants to know when the home version comes out. Apparently, I say stuff at home over and over and over again too.


The conversation about a home version came about because Thing 2 is going to be leaving for college next year. The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi asked him whether he might like to have a home version so he could listen to my calming voice when he is away. That way, he would not need to call every day if he got homesick. But there would need to be a different app for that. Miyoshi Soundboard Home.


I know one saying that would need to be on the home version. “It’s better than a kick in the seat of the pants,” is something I say whenever somebody complains about something. My mom used to say, “Monku, monku, monku,” when we were complaining kids. Apparently, it was what her parents said and is Japanese for, “Better than a kick in the seat of the pants.” (In reality, it just means “complain, complain, complain,” but who wants to let truth get in the way of a good story. Of course, if this was a good story…)


Our youngest son, Thing 3, hates that saying. “Anything is better than a kick in the seat of the pants,” he opines. Which is exactly the point. Why complain about life when anything is better than a kick in the seat of the pants? Then again, maybe always hearing that something is better than a kick in the seat of the pants is not better than a kick in the seat of the pants. Which is why “Better than a kick in the seat of the pants,” is his most hated saying.


Another of my favorite sayings was also passed down through the generations. I repeat my dad whenever I say, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.” I do not need to say that phrase much anymore since it seems our kids have everything. But wishing and horses will forever be in my psyche.


There is one more saying that would need to be on the home version of Miyoshi Soundboard, “What does that have do with the price of tea in China?” It is one of those phrases that gets brought out when something said makes no sense to the rest of the conversation. When something comes out of left field. When something said has nothing at all to do with the price of tea in China. Or anywhere else for that matter.


I am sure there are other phrases I use on a regular basis at home. Just like there are phrases I use all the time at school. And I am sure The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi has a catalog of them ready for when the boys at school make an update to Miyoshi Soundboard. In fact, she had me record one in preparation for that day.


I am always flattered when somebody makes fun of me. It gives me a thrill believing I have made enough of a difference in somebody’s life for them to poke fun at me. At least it is attention. And while it may not have a thing to do with the price of tea in China, having an app out there with sound bites from my classroom (or home, hint, hint) is certainly better than a kick in the seat of the pants.


© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi

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