Teacher Feature – The “Hack Attack”

Mr. Jeffrey Hack, a physical education teacher at Bethpage High School, is a man of many mysteries. Therefore, it was absolutely necessary for me to dig deeper into the story of “The Hack Attack.” Luckily, I was able to hone in on everything that makes him tick.

Believe it or not, Mr. Hack did not always want to be the push-up instructing, mile-running, dodgeball-playing gym teacher he is today. In fact, he didn’t learn that his true passion was torturing students to jog a mile in under eight minutes until he was 24 years old. Originally, he wanted to be a speech pathologist, and he changed his major once he graduated because, quite frankly, anyone he told about his first career goal had to look it up. By the way,it is a person who works with kids who have speech problems, if you didn’t already know.)

Once Hack achieved his goal of procuring a job as a gym teacher at BHS, he saw things that no man should ever see—things he “can never un-see.” He once saw a kid blow his knee out all the way to the side. It was so bad, the school had to call the ambulance and get the kid to the hospital.

Mr. Hack said, “…that knee was at a 90 degree angle. I almost passed out, but that’s not what heroes do. So I called the paramedics.”

Aside from disturbing injuries during his class periods, Hack is happy with the physical education curriculum. “I love that we incorporate lots of cardio into the lessons,” he said. “I just wish our gym was a little bigger. The classes have so many kids in them, and there’s just no room to spread out and dance.”

As much as Mr. Hack loves his job, he says that if he won the Mega Millions, he would decline work, buy a yacht, and travel the world. As for his kids? He would hire “an evil nanny to take care of them and educate them at home, because I can.” At this point, he had to stifle a sinister laugh.

If he won the lotto, he would also have all the time he wants to watch bad, one-star movies and infomercials, one of his favorite things to do. “I love this movie called Mama’s Foot on Netflix. It’s about two guys who go on a journey to try and save their mother’s foot from being amputated. It got one star, but I think it is great.” Hack continued, “Also, I love those OxiClean commercials. Billy Mays is my hero,” he says smiling. He not only would have time to watch one-star movies, but award winning, prominent ones as well—his favorite is Frozen. Mr. Hack proudly declared, “Frozen Fever is alive and kicking at the Hack household.”

Should the Mega Millions never happen, and had he never become a gym teacher, he says that his dream job would be a ringmaster at the Barnum and Bailey Circus: “because [he] love[s] the horsies.”

But, sometimes Hack does not want to be a teacher or a ringmaster—he wants to be a person living in a simpler time with a simpler life. If he had to choose to visit 100 years into the future or 100 years into the past, he would go into the past. “I’m kind of scared to know where technology will be in 3015, if we have the selfie stick now.”

Hack is clearly very fond of the past, as he says that these were some of the best times of his life. In fact, he met his wife all the way back in high school when he was a junior. Mr. Hack said, “We were two years apart. I let her touch my mullet, and we have been together ever since.” Yes, he once had a flowing mane of 90s hair. You heard it here first.

Mr. Hack not only remembers this from high school, but he remembers some of his wild shenanigans as well. “My favorite Saturday night activity was reading Lord of the Flies, my favorite classic novel, alone in my bedroom.” Hack never even used Cliff Notes, “because [he] was a good egg.”

However, Mr. Hack is not such a good egg when it comes to eating. He says that when he’s in school, he needs to keep up with his image of a fit gym teacher and therefore brings healthy lunches of kale salads. But, when he gets home, sometimes he just can’t control himself. He said, “I have kids, so when I’m at home, it’s like pizza and ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” Hack even admits to preferring chunky peanut butter to almond butter. “The chunkier the better. Like a sumo-wrestler.”

Hack embraces his diet almost as much as he embraces his heritage. The tattoo on his arm represents his Irish background, and he is glad to show it off. In the morning, he looks at his tattoo, smiles, and says, top of the morning to you lad. “It’s become a daily thing,” Mr. Hack said.

Although all of his mornings seem to be fine and dandy, they haven’t all been. To my surprise, Hack revealed to me that one day, while hunting with a group of his friends, he lost the group. Eventually, it grew dark, and he was still unable to find them. Soon, his life turned into an episode of Survivor Man–he had to build a small shelter, drink water from a stream, and ration the only food he had with him (two fun-sized candy bars.)

“In that moment, those two candy bars were anything but fun. I contemplated eating my finger at one point.” He was stuck in these Adirondack Mountains all night, until finally he heard his friends fire gunshots the next morning. He ran up to each and hugged him, crying, I missed you all so much.

Mr. Hack remembers:“I was having a meltdown, and all they said to me was, ‘Hey Jeff, sup.’”

Clearly, Mr. Hack is a man of much wisdom and experience–and there is still so much we have not learned. If he gets enough requests, he is considering writing an autobiography. So put a letter in his mailbox if you’d like to read it.