Milking An Elephant

Old Freud says that dreams are the Royal Road to the unconscious.  But lots of brain guys with more scientific orientations don’t think dreams mean anything; the brain while sleeping just farts cigarnow and then relieving pressure and these are dreams.  But trying to make anything of them or find any meaning in them is about as stupid as trying to tell the future by looking at the guts of a sacrificial chicken. 

But when I was going to see my therapist I decided I should look into my dreams just in case they had something to offer.  First, though, as I have said, I couldn’t remember my dreams.  To remember my dreams I had to tell my brain before I went to sleep: remember the dreams.  But I guess my brain was anxious or worried about forgetting the dream because instead of just remembering as I had ordered it to do the damn brain insisted on waking up at any manner of ungodly hours, mostly somewhere between four and five in the morning when my dream cycle hit. 

Sometimes I would wake up so suddenly that the waking up just wiped out the dream.  Sometimes I could remember a bit of a dream but it was so pathetic it wasn’t worth remembering.  Sometimes I would wake up with no dream but with an erection.  I had not told my brain to wake me up for that but apparently on this issue had a mind of  its own.

Sometimes I would get up and write the dream down in a book I kept for that very purpose.  Here’s a dream from May, 1985; it’s a little dated maybe but a bit funny I think:

“I see a woman milking an elephant.  To do this she needs a special rocking chair, very huge.  Once she gets in the rocking chair and gets it going with a special stick she pushes against the ground the momentum of the rocking chair helps her squeeze milk from the elephant’s teats.  Actually, I can’t quite see the woman.  I see her feet just under the belly of the elephant.  The chair is so huge her feet are way off the ground.  A random cycle of violence has broken out.  A kind of hysteria and children are killing adults.  They walk around like robots and have tiny pistols. I am late on the scene and have no idea why these children with their tiny pistols are so riled up.  I pull aside a curtain and enter a tent like room that has two huge elephant milking rocking chairs in it.  But nobody is seated in the chairs.  They rock violently, so hard, they leap into the air.  A child appears and shoots another child with his tiny pistol.”

I have no idea what this fucker means.  I am sure I could make something up.  For example, obviously the tiny guns are tiny penises.  Maybe the elephant’s teats are penises too.  And women are milking those teats.  Obviously there is a good deal of gender confusion in this dream.  But it hurts my brain to think about it.

Maybe dreams don’t mean anything or mean just what you want them to mean.  But I think they do contribute something.  Without this dream I do not believe that ever in my life I would have written the words “milking an elephant” or come up with the idea of huge elephant milking rocking chairs.

College Humor

Back in 1963, I was a wine drinking buddy with the editors of the college humor magazine and they asked me to write something (found below) and I did.  Looking back, I guess my sense of humor hasn’t changed much over the years or my troubles with self-esteem.

Farter Knows Best

wolfmanThis is the story of my climb to success. I hope that it will serve as example and in­spiration to all the downtrodden of America. From low and unpromising origins I rose to success as is only possible in America.

When I was two years old my mother passed the nursery in which I was taking a nap and saw a white vapor, which she as­sumed to be smoke rising from my bed. —"Help! Help! — She cried — Baby is on fire! She then doused me with several buckets of water. So at a very early age I almost died of drowning which my father often said would, have been better both for the world and my­self.

Upon a closer examination, my mother found that I, indeed, had not been on fire. The vapors remained a mystery till later in the afternoon, when she discovered their true origin. Thus my mother had strange hews to deliver to my father when he came home. Father — she said, grasping his hand and gently squeezing it — I have news — what is it beloved wife — responded my father who was a preacher. Father (we must excuse my mother’s language for she was a very plain person) Baby farts colored farts — and so my deformity was made, known to the world.

Ha! Ha! — responded father.

My father did not believe my mother until the next day at church where I again revealed my fatal fault. My father was that day giving a sermon on the innocence and worth of chil­dren, when right at the close of his sermon a yellowish vapor began to surround the first pew where I sat with my mother. The yellow­ish color was due to the Gerber’s carrots I had eaten.

Thus was my deformity made known to the congregation which giggled immoderately, ex­cept for the people in the first row who thought their clothes might be stained by the gas. From this day forward my father showed little affection towards me. — I wish — he would say — that the cursed infant had T.B. or cancer or something — there is just no dig­nity to this. — My father felt that God had turned against him, and then finally he de­cided that God didn’t exist. And once my mother found my father teaching me how to put cellophane bags over my head.

Father soon after left mother, and then mother left me when one day one of my farts so obscured her vision that she fell down the stairs.

My aunt with whom If- then lived was wealthy and consulted many doctors concern­ing my case. All to no avail. One man de­signed a filter, six feet long, which, was strapped to my rear part and was mounted on a tripod with rollers. But the filtering device was quite hard to clean and more than once the thing ran over me going down hills.

By high school I ha developed ‘great sphincter control. Then in order to gain some social status and dignity I went out for ball at which I found I had uncommon ability. I made quarterback. I then confided in my coach, for whom I had great respect, concern­ing my deformity. He told me not to drink or smoke, and to believe in God, arid that sports would make me a great American, and then he patted me on the back.  I had never before met with such understanding. I felt just like one of the guys.

The first game — all was going well, and late in the second quarter we were in scoring position. I. was calling the numbers when due to excitement I lost control and a great fart escaped me. A green ""cloud (spinach) envel­oped the line. The halfback, a tall boy, saw over the cloud and successfully evaded all tacklers. The referee called illegal procedure.

The coach quickly benched me. He called me a dirty smart aleck, said I would never be a good American, doubted if I believed in God, and hinted that I was homosexual.

I felt there was no justice in the world.

After high school, feeling I had no dignity anyway, I decided to join the army. In filling out the forms I did not mention my deformity and I might have passed the physical, except that I lost control, just as one of the doctors was examining my anal orifice. — Help! Help! — he screamed I’m blinded! Gasp! Yick! —Realizing he wasn’t blinded, he was amazed. —Hey—he said, thumping me on the back —Do that again — A red one escaped me. —Hey fellows! Hey fellows! Come look! 00000 . . . Ahhhhh … Look at all the pretty colors!

For a while I felt I might be accepted re­gardless of my defect. They locked me up and examined me. They hoped to use me as a secret weapon. They sent me out on maneu­vers, but found that I had much the same faults as tear gas, i.e., I was at the mercy of the wind. Finally they rejected me.

I was terribly dejected, but the army inci­dent had given me an idea. I decided to join a circus. Having persuaded the manager that I was not a fraud, he gave me top billing as "The Phosphorescent Farter." I dressed in a skin tight white suit with a hole cut in the crucial area. To clear up confusion I here ad­mit that my farts are not phosphorescent, nor do they corrode metal or blind like tear gas. Regardless my climb to the top was assured. After my first appearance on "I’ve Got A Secret," I appeared on several variety shows, and I’m now scheduled for the "Ed Sullivan Show."

My climb to the top has been long and arduous, but I have reached it.  All you downtrodden take me as an example, and remember there is no justice and all America loves a freak.

Look What I Did!

For a long time, as an adult, I didn’t remember my dreams.  And when I did they were really grim affairs.  Anxiety dreams that just went on and on repeating themselves.  I was always going mightymousesomewhere and I was late or I was on the wrong street, or in the wrong town or city.  And on top of that I was late.  These would go on for a long time.  Repeating themselves.  The one I liked least was I would be down in something like the bowels of a ship going up this stairs and down that one and on and on like a mouse in a vertical maze.  That dream just tired me out.

 I also had the teeth falling out dream.  I called it the Chickletts dream.  Because my teeth looked like Chickletts in my hand once they had fallen out. 

But when I was a really little kid, before five maybe, I had a couple of dreams which if I remembered them during the day made me feel warm inside.  One was a flying dream.  I would be flying along in the forest and without thinking about it I would swing this way or that and miss this or that tree and if I came to a cliff I did not fall, but flew straight down the face of the cliff and then flew again a foot or two above the ground.

I enjoyed this dream a lot; it’s a dream of having great and magical powers.  Most little ones have that inside them, but in my case, my parent’s beat that out of me pretty quickly.  Well, they didn’t beat it out so much as beat it down and under.  If you are lucky, you get gradually weaned from the idea that you have magical powers so that you are able slowly to adjust and adapt to the loss of those magical powers.  But if they don’t get out this way and get pushed down, you go through life as an adult feeling like shit because way deep down there in the unconscious you still feel as if you have magical powers, but as an adult you are not living up to those powers.  You can’t fly and you never will.

Winston Churchill was walking across a bridge one day and there was the top of a tree not far from the bridge.  So he jumped, like he could fly, or something and almost killed himself from the fall.  He turned out to be a man with near magical powers.

The other one was about money.  I would be walking along and I would notice a penny, and then another penny, and then a dime, and a quarter and so on, a trail of money in the forest, and sometimes I would dig in the earth and find a whole cache of coins.  But most frequently the trail of money would lead to a kind of hole at the base of a tree and I would dig around in the leaves in the base of that tree and unearth whole handfuls of coins.

I guess this dream is about being lucky and striking it rich.  But there’s something about that hole in the base of the tree that reminds me of an anus.  So maybe the dream is about turds. Freud says the kid’s first gift is a turd.  Some kids in fact upon first going to the bathroom pick up their turds and take them back to mom or dad and say, Look Mommie what I have done.  Our turds are our first really big production; the first thing we make all on our own.  So if a little kid ever walks up to you with a turd and says, look what I have done, don’t yell, you fucking little perverted monster get that shit out of here.  Instead, admire the shit for a little bit, and then instruct the little one on the toilet’s flushing function.

Cash on Hand

When I finished my dissertation on Henry James and got a Masters, I was eligible by virtue of having gotten a Masters to teach at Community Colleges, although they were called Junior Colleges at that time, even though I had never had a single class in the fine art of teaching.  Apparently, if you teach pre-college you need to take classes on how to teach, but if you are teaching college you don’t because as they say, in college, you teach the subject, not students.  500$

That tells you a lot about the general theory of college teaching.  You talk about the subject, and it doesn’t really make any difference whether any students are there or not in the room with you.  In fact in many college lectures most of the students aren’t there because the teacher is not teaching students but the subject. So it all sort of works out in the end.

I applied for work at community colleges and I got interviews at 3, some close by, but one up in Monterey took some driving.  And I didn’t get a job.  But the fall before, just in case the junior college thing didn’t come through, I had applied to graduate schools for a PhD.  Also, having flunked out of UCLA, I wanted to prove to myself that I could get a PhD if I wanted. I was accepted at three graduate schools, one a pretty good school back in New York, one a sort of experimental college in the UC system, and the one I ended up at and where I have been as student and then teacher since 1976—30 fucking years. Who knew?

The chair of the department at the experimental university wrote a letter—hand written no less—saying I was there absolute number one candidate, and would I please come.  I mean the guy actually wanted me to come and was trying to convince me.  BUT (huge BUT) they would have not money to give me or TA job for the first year.  Gee Whiz!  Thanks a lot.

 I would have liked to have gone there.  But I had about 500 dollars, a few pairs of jeans, some work shirts and a Volkswagen…After that first year, they would find some money.  BUT… I just didn’t see how I could do it—go to a new place, find a job that paid something, take graduate classes, and keep my sanity.  I needed more structure than that so I went to the place I still am because they offered me a full TA ship because, as I later learned, they decided to bring in grad students that particular year that had previously taught so they wouldn’t have to spend money training them.  I fit the bill to a T.

Money has played a significant role in my career choices.  I supposed I could have borrowed some money some where for that first year at the place that had no money.  But what did I know from borrowing.  I had a great dread of debt and managed to get all my higher education, 10+ years of it, owing $1000.  What do they call that now, a Pyrrhic victory?

Pluto?

What’s this shit I’ve been hearing about Pluto?  I know this Pluto stuff is a current event and I’ve reserved this space for memory mulling, but this current event is fucking with my memories.  If my memory serves Pluto is a planet and not some fucking “planetary body.”  I learned this for a fact back in elementary school some time.  Seemed like I had to memorize the planets a number of times.  First, Mercury, then Venus, then Earth, then Mars, and after that things gets sketchy for me, but always I knew out there on the edge– planet number nine–was Pluto. 

solarsystem

True, I got Pluto the planet confused with Pluto the Disney Dog on occasion, and if you had asked me like in fourth grade I might have said the last planet was Bluto, after the guy who was always stealing Wimpy’s burgers and trying to duke it out with Popeye.

But for as long as I can remember and as is currently recorded in jillions of textbooks, encyclopedias, books and magazines, Pluto is planet number nine.  But some freaking scientists got together at some international conference and decided among themselves without consulting the public at all that Pluto is NOT the ninth planet because it is not a planet at all but a mere “planetary body.” 

Seems as if one part of the this international body of planet makers wrote a report that said, if Pluto counts as a planet, then so must a number of other planatary bodies, like moons and that big piece of shit out there in the asteroid belt.  So it these radicals had there way there might be 10, 12, 18 planets, who the fuck knows?  Pluto would still have been planet number 9 I guess but it would not be the last planet.  The poor elementary school kids of the future would have had a hard time of it trying to memorize all these planets some of which don’t even have proper names.

But the other guys in this international planet making body decided not to go with the report.  So Pluto all of a sudden stops being a planet, not because it doesn’t fit the definition of a planet, whatever that might be, but because of a power struggle between the radicals and conservatives of the international planet making group.  I don’t have to be there to know that sure as shit somebody brought up the goddamn slippery slope argument. 

Whenever anybody wants to change things, the guys who oppose it bring up the slippery slope argument.  Abortion for a woman who was raped?  Hell, no, if we allow an abortion for even one set of circumstance we have started down the slippery slope, or what about euthanasia; look at those fucking Belgians; they are way down the slippery slope and letting people decide to kill themselves right and left just because they are old and sick and don’t want to live anymore.  I mean what kind of argument is that.

So to avoid the slippery slope, the fucking scientists had to cut Pluto out, had to make like a goddamn canyon, without a slippery slope, and throw Pluto into the pit of being a non-planet.  This is like fucking stupid because what goddamn difference does it make.  Some of the things scientists say make a difference; like don’t drink the water because it has cholera in it.  But what differences does it make to anybody if Pluto is a planet or not.  As far as I know there’s no Agency for the Protection of Planets that might lose some funding of Pluto is not a planet. 

So now what’s the last planet?  Is it Neptune or Uranus?  I forget which but neither one sounds right to me.  Pluto will always be the last planet for me, planet number nine.

Continue reading Pluto?

Will Power

Poor Aunt Sue.  Anyway one day I get a call from her out of the blue, and somehow she has got wind that I have practically finished my work on the PhD and in acknowledgement of the feat wants fordto buy me a car.  Spending time around Aunt Sue was so hard, I was remotely tempted to say no, but I couldn’t have said no in any case to her gesture, and besides my little Volkswagen was on its very last legs.

So she comes up and we spend an afternoon in a used car lot.  First this one, then that one, and really I didn’t fucking care as long as it ran, but I had to feign enthusiasm and interest, and finally she more or less settled on a powder blue Mustang 2.  It was a pretty shitty car but it was the first I had with automatic transmission and that was pretty cool.  She paid 6000 in cash for it in 1979 dollars, so I guess it wasn’t cheap.

 But by that time she had launched her own career, got a realtor’s license, and what’s that other thing—a broker’s license—so she could go completely out on her own, though she still worked with some firm, and she was making money hand over fist and had acquired multiple properties, rentals and such.  Partly she was there at the right time; the California market was making one of its whacko runs.  And I am sure she was good at it.  Pushy, but not too pushy, real smart and I do believe completely responsible.

 But it was a crazy day.  Trying to buy a car in a couple hours in an afternoon was not the way I would do it.  But she wanted to make a grand gesture I guess.  Well, maybe, it worked because I remember it, and the dinner I had to sit through with her afterwards.  She could be pretty blunt and would ask me such questions as, “Are you happy?”  “Is this what you really want?”  That sort of thing.  To the first, I had to say, no, of course since I was absolutely miserable, and as for is this what you really want, well, I had not idea what I really wanted because nobody had ever asked me.

I could have lied I guess and said I was perfectly happy but it wasn’t in me.  So she started to tell me how I could be happy and successful just like her (when all you had to do was look at her and see misery leaking out everywhere).  She had gone to some self-help group and the leader told her what to do.  It was all in the will. First you wrote down what you wanted (which she did on the spot) and then you will.  So she had done that and four years later she looked at what she had written down that day that she wanted—a Lincoln and a mink coat—and she had both. And much more.

That’s all I had to do.  Will it and it would be so.  I could hardly stand to listen to this shit and then it got really weird because sadly it had recently been learned that her husband had cancer, and well, she wondered—she had wondered deep inside herself—if maybe she hadn’t willed that.  God, I felt unhappy.  I sort of felt like crying, for god’s sake, the way people get along.  I guess she was saying that deep inside she had wished her husband dead and more than that her wish had come true. I tried to say, no, no, no, of course not; a person simply couldn’t will such a thing.  But I don’t think I had any positive effect.

I don’t know maybe five year later she developed breast cancer and died in about six months.  It was just too far along.  As a final act of will, she wrote my mother out of her will even though she had promised the old lady she would get something up till a month before she died.

Blind Faith

So first there was Traffic and then there was Blind Faith, both with Stevie Winwood.  Every time I hear their “I Can’t Find My Way Home” I remember the time I got lost in L.A.  It had to have been in my first quarter of graduate school; that would have been the fall of ’68 and I went to visit some friends over past Pasadena, and we smoked a lot of grass, and I couldn’t find my way back to Venice, CA.

 Somehow I missed the first freeway onramp.  So I drove along by some freeway hoping I would find an onramp, but that freeway was hard to follow and I kept losing it and going off to places I shouldn’t have been.  I went into this all night convenience store for directions.  The black guy behind the counter wouldn’t even look at me.  I asked could he point me to the freeway; he said he didn’t know where one was.  So I left.

I was in a pretty shitty area of town.  There are a lot of shitty areas in LA, but if you are a white person and know what onramps to get on and what exits to get off you never have to see any of the shitty stuff.  The freeways organize LA pretty well so you don’t have to see the shitty stuff unless you get lost as I did.

I was pretty fucking lost.  I drove around for hours in my trusty 1959 Plymouth Station Wagon.  Once in a parking lot the Mexican American attendant came up to me and said he would give me a 100 dollars for it.  I said no thinks.  He said 150.  I guess he didn’t get it; maybe he thought it was my “second” car or something.  My parents had driven me off to college in that car.  For some reason my brothers had to come along too.  I sat there scared shitless and clutching Kaufman’s From Shakespeare to Sartre like it was a life buoy.

Getting lost in LA is pretty existential, I guess.  Maybe I remember that night because, in my stoned state, I really got scared and thought I might drive around forever and maybe because getting lost that night was sort of a symbolic representation of the inward lostness that was beginning to eat me up.

When the sun started coming up, I was able to orient myself.  I knew Venice, CA was near the Pacific, so what I had to do was drive west.  The sun helped me figure that out.  Eventually I hit Sunset and I took it on out to the ocean.  I had been lost in LA for about five hours.

So that song has a special meaning for me.

Jello

Aunt Sue tries to be a good Aunt.  By this time she has long left the migrant worker’s shack by the freeway and moved up to L.A. and married this Italian guy who worked cutting meat in a meat jellopacking plant.  And they are both by this time somewhat along in years and he is Catholic and already has a bunch of kids and his wife had died, so he married Aunt Sue.  Or she married him because she always wanted a family, but mostly they were older in high school or already out of the house and they mostly resented her.  But she was a good cook and an economical housewife and pretty much filled the bill wife-wise.

When I am in college a couple of months, she actually shows up at the dorm and says she has come to get my dirty clothes to wash them for me.  I am amazed but she is right; it’s been a couple of months and I have failed to wash my clothes.  So I go with her with the clothes and visit while she washes the clothes.  I don’t know what we talked about since she couldn’t stand my mother and so didn’t say a word about her, though she did praise my father to high heavens, lord knows what for, unless it was having the fortitude to live with my mother.

One time I don’t know when it was exactly, I go to her place for a visit and my good buddy, Richard, is with me.  He is a real smart guy who started out pre-med and then joined the horde of ex-pre-meds and became an English major.  He grew up in Lubbock TX where Buddy Holly came from and so we had the southern thing going, plus he was pretty much working class, his father having returned from the war not the same and ended up doing all sorts of jobs.  I think maybe he drank too and he died while we were in college.

So Aunt Sue says she is going to fix some dinner for us, and she treats us like royalty and takes us out to the back patio, and offers us beer, and after a while, she brings out the plates that are like completely covered with a steak.  The plate is like hardly visible beneath that steak, and it’s called a t-bone steak because it has a bone shaped like a T in it and  I do believe it was the biggest piece of meat on one plate I had seen to that date.  I remember thinking, damn! But this is a big piece of meat. 

I guess that’s why I remember it.  Nobody had ever given me a piece of meat that size before.  I ate all of it.  And with it came a dinky salad and a bowl of jello.  Aunt Sue had this thing about jello; she served it at every dinner.  Somewhere on the table there would be some manner of jello.  And every time, she served it she would say like clock work that jello would help your blood to clot faster should you cut yourself. I don’t know where she got that from, but it was a bit spooky because you got the feeling she was sitting around waiting for one of her family to cut themselves real bad and bleed out before their blood could clot.

Cons

One summer in high school I take American History.  That’s like three or four hours of American consHistory every morning for six weeks and it is one of the worst classes I took in high school.  All we did was read the text book and memorize stuff for the quizzes.  Now this is the history of America, the country we live in, and from this class, you get the feeling that we must live in the dullest damn country ever created. 

My basketball coach teaches the class if you can call what he did teaching, since he mostly taught by saying read pages x through y and prepare for the quiz, and then we had a quiz and went home.  Did I say, the coach is maybe 6 feet 5, boney as hell, with a narrow boney face, and black hair worn in a flat top!  Also he wears a coat and tie to class and black rimmed glasses perched on his boney nose for reading purposes.  He wasn’t a bad guy I guess, and he took a mild interest in me since I was on the basketball team, and having had a chance to observe me outside of class had concluded that I was a bit troubled.

One day we are out running laps on the track and I have done my laps and am just standing there, and the guy comes up to me and has the nerve to ask if I have a girlfriend.  How he gets off presuming this degree of intimacy I don’t know, but to his credit he hit a significant part of my problem.  And I remember he says,” You don’t have to love’em to kiss’em.”  I was like totally embarrassed, not so much for me, as I was for him because he really wasn’t in the ballpark at all.  I wasn’t worried about love or kissing, I was like totally paralyzed with the fear that my dick might get cut off.  Oh, well, he tried anyway which is more than I can say for 98% of the teachers I have had.

I can remember the only excitement we had in that class.  In high school, unlike elementary school, we have lots of male teachers and we have movie projectors.  Mostly they don’t work, but one day he says he is going to show a movie about American Settlers and the Indians.  And while we are watching the movie we are going to notice something.  We are going to notice that the Indians are not wearing the right shoes, and when we notice that we are not to laugh and, I repeat, we are not to laugh.

Psychologically speaking, this guy was stupid.  Once he said that nobody got a damn thing out of the movie (not that there was anything in it but a pack of lies 1950’s style); all we did was sit there waiting for the Indians and looking at their shoes.  Anyhow whoever made this movie was not into realism because at one point the Indians are charging up an embankment and they are not even wearing shoes, they are wearing tennis shoes.

Sometimes, I just couldn’t help myself.  I didn’t think about it really.  I would sit in the back row of the class and let out a zinger now and then.  I didn’t try to whisper it.  I said it so that the teacher could hear it and my zingers were good enough that usually they laughed too.  So I couldn’t help myself and I say, “Look like Converse to me.”  Back then before Nike, and Reebok and Adidas and all that shit we had like two types of sneakers, Converse and Keds. 

The whole class like roars and the Coach sort of lowers his head and puts his hand to his mouth because he is laughing too.

I mean what the fuck was the big deal.

Bee!

So in high school, I took three freaking years of Latin, a damn dead language.  To the best of my knowledge, unless somebody has a time machine, nobody in this day and age has heard how thosekillerbee Romans actually said the stuff.  So while in French and Spanish you are always talking the stuff, since people know how it is supposed to be said, in Latin all you do is translate the stuff.  And to translate the stuff you have to memorize all manner of conjugations and declinations and stuff or you can just go to the library and check out a translation if you want.

Roland took Latin in our sophomore year.  I don’t know why except maybe I told him I was taking it and so he did too.  We had a pretty interesting teacher that year.  His name was Mr. Dell and he was a full blooded Navaho or maybe Apache Indian.  Anyway he is a full blood Native American, and a good looking guy too in a pretty boy way.  He was sort of short and he always wore a suit, the complete thing.  What a full blooded Native American was doing wearing a suit and teaching Latin to a bunch of working class whites kids I don’t know.  But hey anybody can do anything.  This is America.

I think maybe he was still in graduate school or something like that because he only taught a couple of Latin classes and then he was gone for the rest of the day.  And he wasn’t around the next year which was too bad since he told us about the interesting stuff—the sex and the violence and the gladiatorial games—maybe because he didn’t have a teaching credential and didn’t know any better.

But one day he is standing up front in his blue suit and suddenly he starts waving his hands around his head and fucking screaming!  And then he runs to the side of the room, still screaming, and waving his arms around his head and then he goes right out the door.  Still waving his hands around.  We just sit there looking forward at the spot where he was and wondering what was going on, and Roland says, I think there was a bee.  So we’re muttering about what a wimp he must be, when he comes back in, looking all sweaty and tells us he has this allergy to bee stings and if one bites him he could die.

So maybe that’s why he is a full blooded Native American teaching Latin to a bunch of working class white kids.  He wants to stay away from bees as much as possible.

We like him though because he is a nice guy and a pretty lousy disciplinarian but one day he gets fed up because we are talking too much among our selves and it’s hard to miss because there are only about ten of us and he makes us sit right up front, so what are we going to do but talk right in front of him.  And then he gets angry and says, that the next person who speaks out of turn is going to get what they called a “case card,” which is a kind of form the teacher fills out saying what you did wrong that is sent to the principal and then to your parents.  So I turn to Roland who is sitting right next to me and I say, he’s kidding right? (because I can’t believe he would do that).  And Roland says, yea, he’s got to be kidding. 

And we say this right in front of Mr. Dell who has just said he will give a case card to anybody who talks out of turn and what do you know but the fucker gives Roland and me case cards for talking out of turn.  We couldn’t fucking believe it.

I hope Mr. Dell got his PhD in classics and went on to a nice professor job somewhere far away from bees.