Stephen Lewis, the principal who makes you laugh

Whenever I get a note from the principal or assistant principal at my daughter Lekha's school, I cringe at some of the grammatical or punctuation errors. It reflects poorly on the school, I feel. If principals don't know how to write, they ought to get the English teacher to do it for them — or at least that bright student in second grade. You know, the one who knows the difference between a coma and a comma.

It's too bad that Stephen Lewis, principal of Rock Springs Elementary in La Vergne, Tennessee, didn't consult the student. He might have decided to do some major editing to his recent humor column "Ode to President Obama," which appeared in the The Murfreesboro Post and drew so much criticism, Lewis sent an e-mail apology to parents, teachers, school board members and the "school system" (yes, he even apologized to the vending machine). I'll get to what he wrote about Obama in a moment, but here's what he wrote about Dr. Rishi K. Saxena, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives:

What about this fellow who ran for state representative, Dr. Rishi
Saxena? I’m not sure where he’s from but I’m pretty sure it’s not
Rutherford County. From what I read about him he has some very good
ideas. My advice to him would be to work on perfecting his southern
accent. I’m not talking about southern Bangladesh either. And if he
can’t sound southern, he could at least throw in a few y’alls and a
couple fixin’ to’s every once in a while. [Link]

Funny stuff, isn't it? I'm sure Saxena is laughing so hard, his stomach hurts. He has probably also designed a banner for the 2010 election.

Rishi Saxena

Saxena is from India, not Bangladesh, but Lewis was probably just being humorous. He's a funny guy, as you can tell from the song he wrote:

(Sung by Obama to the theme song of “The Jeffersons”):

“Well we’re movin’ on up,
To Washington, D.C.
To a deee-luxe pimp pad,
Painted whiiiite.
Yeah we’re movin’ on up,
To the White House.
I’ll be jetting with P. Diddy cross the sky.

McCain can’t score on the east coast,
Palin was just a cute, cheap thrill.
Took a whole lot of campaign promises,
To take over Capitol Hill.
Now we’re livin’ in the White House
Chewin’ on the government fat.
As long as we here
It’s tax, tax, tax!
Ripping off the rich fat cats!

Well we’re movin’ on up
To the big time.
To a dee-luxe sweet crib
That’s just too fly.
Moooovin’ on up
To D.C.
I finally showed McCain I’m the guy!”

Thank you! I’m here all week. Try the veal. [Link]

I have a feeling the bright student in second grade would have been complimentary:

Student: "Nice song, Mr. Lewis, almost as good as the one I wrote in kindergarten."

Lewis: "You like it?"

Student: "It's pretty funny. Especially the part where you call the White House a 'pimp pad.' Did you come up with that yourself or did you get help from your parents?"

Lewis: "All by myself. Very creative, isn't it?"

Student: "Yes, it's a very subtle swipe at President Bush."

Lewis: "President Bush? I was actually trying to take a swipe at … oh, never mind."

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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