Tuesday, January 20, 2009


There is a man in a wheelchair and there is something wrong with him. He cannot walk, as though he is missing legs. He glows a menacing orange/red. I and a team are trying to fix him, make him whole again. He watches us and comments on our work. My job is to bring him food every day. We are finally able to make him better again. We put him in a chamber. We stand outside in a hallway, pressing our bodies against the wall. I watch, and suddenly, rays of bright light shoots out of the chamber, and it hurts, as though I am burning away. The light stops and there is still pain on my arms. We enter the chamber and he looks fine. He is smiling widely and staring at me. I am scared but I smile too. I approach him and ask him what he wants to eat. The usual, he replies. He stares. The usual. He touches his ears. And these, he says. I touch my own ears. Yes, he replies, I want your ears, and a little of your cheek too. I go to prepare his meal. I have not refused.


First class of the day is lyrical poetry. *snore* The professor makes jokes. He passes out a paper and we have to put our names in the location we are sitting, a ploy to learn our names. When the name sheet is passed to me, and I've looked at it, I snicker. The thing about English majors: we can analyze dead poetry, but we cannot seem to make a map of our own seating arrangements. When I look around at us, I recognize the shared characteristics of all English majors: we are all pale, sad-looking, and daydreaming. Some of us sprouts full beards, some of us wear the long black coats of the intense artist, some of us scribble furiously in our notebooks, as though the meaning of life were spouting from our pens.

A few minutes into class, the class "genius" breezes in. Every English class has one, and they have each been a complete bore. How to recognize one: he (usually a he) raises his hand each time the professor asks a question, he makes side comments about some ancient literary theory that the professor recognizes but no one else does, he talks about his "research project," he talks really fast, he uses a lot of hand gestures, he talks so much that you wish someone would gag him. I respect the intelligence of these class "geniuses," but I also wish they would respect the fact that they are not the most interesting person in the class.


I don't respect English majors as I should.

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