John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

FIC: The Education of J*E*F*F W*I*N*G*E*R

I posted a new fic yesterday, but you probably missed it, because I posted it as a private entry. It's public now, so I'm posting this as a pointer to it, and to provide some annotations. I would recommend you read the fic, then come back here to read my annotations on it.

Title: The Education of J*E*F*F W*I*N*G*E*R
Author: jheaton
Spoilers: Through 3x19 for Community
Rating/Warnings: PG
Word Count: 18,470 (posted in 10 parts)
Disclaimer/Notes: See Prologue for disclaimer and general notes.

Prologue | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Epilogue


The Education of J*E*F*F W*I*N*G*E*R
This is, I suspect, the most obscure pop-culture reference ever used in a Community fic. Back in the 1930s, Leo Rosten wrote a number of short stories featuring Hyman Kaplan, a immigrant to the U.S. and a night school student taking lessons in English who typically signed his name as H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N. Some of these stories were collected into an anthology called The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N. I've never read any of the stories, but my mom had a copy of the anthology. Several months ago when I was trying to think of an idea for this story, the title "The Education of J*E*F*F W*I*N*G*E*R" sprang to mind for some reason, and it tickled me so much I decided to build the story around it.
Following the Jewish tradition of giving a child a name that starts with the same letter as the name of a deceased loved one, Daniel is named after Annie's father, David. (They reconciled after he was diagnosed with cancer.) Annie's father has not been named in canon, so I used the name lapacifidora gave him in her epic There's Only One Girl In the World For You. (Link is to the last chapter, which contains links to all previous chapters.) Daniel is 10 in the prologue and turns 11 in the epilogue.
I conceived of the OmniStream in a drabble I wrote in 2010 as being the dominant social networking platform of 2018. By 2028 (which is when the prologue is set), it's even more dominant, having expanded into hardware and providing so much content that it basically IS the commercial Internet.
Rosemary Hopkins nee Pollock
Her first name is the same as that of my kindergarten and first grade teacher. I would've named her after my third grade teacher, but I couldn't remember her first name. The last names are those of a couple of friends from Buffy fandom, whose mutual love of tea inspired what Annie said about heating water in the microwave.
Pueblo Road
Write what you know! Where I live, the closest sledding hill is at Olbrich Park (sounds like "old brick," hence Neuenstein, German for "new stone"), but there's a much better one at Hiestand Park (the west edge of which borders Wittwer Road), on the other side of Milwaukee Street (a city elsewhere in the state, hence Pueblo, after the Colorado city of that name).
Part I
This is set during the summer of 1988, when Jeff was ten.
James. K. Polk Elementary School
Polk is, of course, my favorite U.S. president, but this choice was further informed by my own elementary school , which also was named after a U.S. president.
Frank Charles
Named and patterned after two real-life sole practitioners I know.
Named for a paralegal of my acquaintance.
Camden Point
The fictional town of Camden Point was founded by a veteran of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry who fought in the Battle of Camden Point, a minor Civil War battle fought near Camden Point, Missouri. It was a Union victory, though perhaps not their proudest one; the Colorado cavalry unit and another unit from Kansas ambushed a Confederate cavalry troop as they were having a picnic in a pasture outside of town.
Kent College of Law
A real school. Technically it's Chicago-Kent College of Law, though speaking as a former resident of the Chicago area I don't think anyone ever calls it that.
Part II
This chapter is set early in 1992, when Jeff is 14. Which may seem old for an eighth-grader, but his birthday is so late in the year that he's always one of the oldest kids in his class.
Eli Whitney Middle School
My middle school—well, junior high, at the time—was named for a famous American inventor. Thus also Jeff's.
Ed Cieslewicz
Named after the former mayor of my current hometown. It's pronounced chess-LEV-ich.
Mrs. Sanders
Her name was inspired by my junior high Vice Principal, with whom I had a run-in or two. Originally, her name was Randi, but that name was too soft for the the way I envisioned the character, so she became Helen. As originally conceived, she was a person who genuinely disliked her students and took pleasure in making them suffer, which was a lot of fun to write, but she was coming off as cartoonish, so I reconfigured her as someone who saw herself as performing a sacred calling, which I thought would make her a more sympathetic character. But dearygirl thought I'd made her too sympathetic, so I rewrote the whole thing from Mr. C's POV, the better to make it clear that she was definitely in the wrong. (Incidentally, Mrs. Sanders hates that Mr. C lets the students call him Mr. C, because she thinks it encourages disrespect.) But she's not a bad person, just misguided and bearing scars from her own middle school days.
Tara Maxfield
Named, for no particular reason, after a girl I went to school with, Terra. The last name comes from the American illustrator, Maxfield Parrish.
"a flaming heart, encircled by thorns"
If you're not familiar with Roman Catholic iconography, this is the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Helen and Jeff's dad were students at Sacred Heart Academy. Jeff's dad, by the way, was eventually expelled and graduated from the local public high school.
Miss Peck
This is the teacher who assigned the social studies worksheet that resulted in Jeff bringing the U.S. Code to class to challenge an answer. The question was, How many justices sit on the U.S. Supreme Court?, to which Jeff answered nine. She said that there were eight justices, and one Chief Justice. Jeff pointed out that according to 28 USC § 1, the Supreme Court is composed of the Chief Justice, eight associate justices, and argued that if the Chief Justice wasn't a justice by virtue of the adjective, neither were the associate justices; but that in fact, the adjectiveless "justice" was used throughout 28 USC to describe any non-specific member of the Supreme Court. He got the credit. This is, needless to say, based on a real question asked by a real teacher (whose name resembles but is legally distinct from Peck), though the protesting student made her argument by way of a letter from her older brother, a law student at University of Chicago.
Sister Mary Regina
As I mentioned in the notes for Part II, Helen's attitude toward middle school students was informed to a certain degree by that of 0penhearts, who goes by maryarrr over on the Twitter. As a bit of a backhanded tribute to her, I used Sacred Heart as the name of the school where Helen went, and Mary Regina as the name of the horrible nun who mentored/tormented her. Old folk like me may remember the British TV series Elizabeth R., which took its name from the British tradition of the monarch signing documents with their regnal name followed by the letter R, for rex or regina (in Latin, "king" or "queen," respectively). Hence, "Mary R." Anyway, she never really wanted to be a nun in the first place—she was pushed into it by her very traditional Catholic family—and she took out her unhappiness at being part of a religious order (and her fear of leaving it) on kids who were in no position to fight back.
Part III
This is set in September 1995, shortly after the start of Jeff's senior year in high school. He is 17.
"a very young girl"
In my head, this little girl is Annie at the age of 4, but she doesn't have to be. I left it vague because it doesn't really matter whether she is or not and it was more fun that way, so make up your own mind.
"my guidance counselor"
In case you were wondering, Jeff's guidance counselor is named Anne Graham, which is a rough partial anagram of my own high school guidance counselor's name.
Greendale Town Center
This mall made its first appearance in my story "Scenes from a Mall."
I used Gamma as Annie's name for her maternal grandmother in my story "Decision Making for Health Care Administrators." Which doesn't make much sense based on what we know about Annie's family; we know one of her grandmothers is still alive, the one she called her "bubbe" in "Regional Holiday Music," and with a nickname like that you'd think she was the maternal grandmother, what with Annie's mom being Jewish and all. (Bubbe is Yiddish for "grandmother.") But for that story, I needed Annie's maternal grandmother to be dead, so Bubbe became Annie's dad's mother and Gamma was created. I used it again here because I had the thought that this could be part of the same universe as that other story, though that idea was pretty thoroughly Jossed by the end of the season.
Named after my Twitter pal MarkBeierly.
Jeff is looking at a brochure from Cornell College, which just happens to be where I went to college. It is unrelated to the better-known Cornell University in New York, and in fact predates it by a few years. They were named after different members of the same family.
Named after my Twitter pal ittkftt. I had a bear very much like this one when I was a kid. I called him Boo Bear. He didn't have a secret name.
Named after my Twitter pal spinolag. I had a bear very much like this one when I was in college. (You can see me holding him in this picture.) His name was Spike, named not for the neutered vampire but in honor of my friend Kathy, whose nickname was Spike. (She gave me the bear when I went off to sleepaway college.)
Part IV
Set in December 1999. Jeff is 22.
Barron Barton
He shares a first name, physiognomy, and attitude with the former vice president for institutional advancement at my college. He's from a family of Kentucky coal miners, and he went to Western Kentucky University. On the speech team, his best event was persuasion, though he also competed in extemp, impromptu, and informative.
Phil Freeman
Named after two of my college professors. Neither of whom are lawyers, nor to my knowledge connected with any criminal elements. Phil grew up on a farm in Iowa, and did his undergrad work at Illinois State University. He competed in all the same events as Bart, but he was best as extemp and impromptu.
"John Varvatos suit"
This one.
Pronounced "BOON-a-Havn." But don't take my word for it; let Brian Cox tell you!
Named after fox1013, who helped me sort out the timeline for this story by explaining how casting for The Real World is done.
Part V
This is set in early in the second semester of Jeff's second year of law school. He's 24.
Karen Avery
Named after the sister of a former co-worker of mine. Not a lawyer, as far as I can remember, but her brother was. The other lawyers mentioned in this chapter, J. Edgerton Trumbull III and Baird, aren't named after anyone specifically.
Hamish, Hamish & Hamlin
My thought is that Ted started out as a small-time lawyer in Denver who lucked into a huge fee, and used it to buy out an venerable but struggling firm, Hamish & Hamish.
Part VI
As is probably clear, this is a missing moment from "Modern Warfare." It's set between the Mexican standoff between the guys and the gals in bathroom and the united study group leaving the building, the transition between which on screen is just a smash cut. Jeff is 32.
Part VII
I wrote this chapter after "Virtual Systems Analysis" aired, and I spent the next few Thursdays in mortal fear that it would be Jossed by one of the remaining episodes. There were a few little things I thought I'd need to rewrite, but eventually I came to the conclusion that I didn't need to rewrite anything as long as I made clear that it was set right after "Virtual Systems Analysis." And by "didn't need to rewrite anything," I mean, "except what dearygirl told me I needed to rewrite." (Though in fact, most of the changes to this chapter were additions.) Jeff is 34.
Chester A. Arturo
Possibly my favorite joke in the story. Playing off the idea that the study group doesn't know anyone's names, Chester A. Arturo is a Latino student who has big muttonchop sideburns that correct to his mustache but no beard, a la U.S. President and occasional Futurama guest starChester A. Arthur.
Otterloop Invitational
Named after Peter Otterloop, from the comic strip Cul de Sac, one of whose main character traits is his love of shoebox dioramas. (As mentioned, coincidentally enough, in today's strip!) The "Professor Thompson" mentioned in the following paragraph is a reference to Richard Thompson, who writes and draws the strip.
Set in early spring of 2015, Annie's second year of grad school. She's studying at University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (a holdover from "Decision Making for Health Care Administrators"), and during the week she lives there in a rented room, but on weekends she goes back to Greendale, where Jeff is setting up a private practice. (He remained there so he could maintain his status as a Greendale student, so his name could remain the official representative of Shirley's Sandwiches.)
Connie Rubirosa
As mentioned, this chapter has its origins in a fic I started working on almost two years ago, when greta_garbo asked to see "cracky crossover" fics. I figured a Law & Order fic certainly qualified, since we knew that Law & Order existed in the Communityverse. Let's just assume the show exists by the characters and actors are all different. Let's see, Peter Graves could stand in for Steven Hill, F. Murray Abraham for Sam Waterston, Edward Winter for Jerry Orbach… Anyway, that fic never went anywhere, so when I started this one, I decided to try to finish it and it here. Very little remains from that original story, aside from the basic premise that Jeff acted like a douchebag at a recruiting event and turned Connie off from the idea of defense law.
Short for Deborah, she's Jeff and Annie's middle child, eight as of the time of this story, though originally I envisioned her as the oldest. Within the context of the story, she's named in honor of Jeff's mom, Doreen; from my perspective, she's named after a high school friend of mine.
Short for Patricia, at four years old she's the youngest child. She was named to honor "Grandpa" Pierce. (Aw!)
"dogpile me"
This whole bit was inspired by my playing with my nephews two Thanksgivings ago. After several rounds of Darth Vader Throwing the Emperor into the Chasm, they decided to throw me into the chasm, then pile blankets and sofa cushions and whatever else was handy on me.
Tags: fanfiction, tv: community, tv: law and order

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