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Friday, August 31, 2012

School Days

So, like Billy Idol who liked dancing with himself (and the possibilities are rife with that) I am writing for myself. Okay, it's cheap therapy I suppose. So yes, it's been lo these many months now (and people who know me can vouch for the fact that I really talk like that. I say shit like "Lo," on occasion. We don't say things like "Lo" or "Prithee" often enough. There are perfectly good words, used rarely and only by those who quote Shakespeare on occasion. I quote Shakespeare on occasion. Only on occasion because I haven't committed a lot of Shakespeare to memory. I've learned just enough to make myself appear erudite without having to pay it off.

Doing this usually depends on who you're speaking to at the time. That is the key. The other day, I said "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." and just let it hang. I said this to a theater major. The fact that said theater major was now an accountant didn't matter, she could finish it and did while I gave the appearance of someone with a functioning brain, something I was beginning to despair of.

I went back to school ago, online. I want to get a Master's, I'm not sure exactly why because, for some reason, the explanation "Because I want one" seems to annoy people. It annoyed my father, who informed me just today that, at my age, it wasn't as if I could utilize such higher education to any career purpose. I countered by telling him it would look better in my obit if it said M.A. after my name instead of "Bitch on Wheels."

He was unimpressed.

Well, anyway, back to school. I had initially enrolled at Brandman, the on line division of Chapman, some sort of church run school. I have to fill in some blanks, I was last in college at a time with the slide rule was hip. This was my first inkling that maybe something was wrong. The adviser set up an education plan with me and my third semester what set aside for filling in my math requirements. The set me up with a statistics class.

Statistics? For an old on line lady who's last math teacher was Euclid. And I flunked. But, before that I had to take some state mandated English class which was a new requirement. And this is where I started to unravel. The first assignment was to post a brief introduction of ourselves on the message board that suffices for a classroom environment when one is an on line student. I posted a brief introduction. The teacher said it sucked.

I didn't take this well.

He said I had no voice as a writer and it would "behoove" me to learn how to write because I would never succeed in life without that skill. I pointed out that this chatty, fragmented train-of-thought style WAS my voice, particularly when the assignment is "Introduce yourself" and not "Discuss why Mitt Romney is not a twit. Please provide ample citations and outline your thesis." The teacher than told me I had no skills as a writer and it would, again, "behoove" me to learn to write properly. You know, like him. He said I couldn't spell or punctuate. I said "punctuate this" and then suggested he bite me. He then wished me a "blessed day."

We did not part well.

Now, ever since 1975 I have given many people the same advice when they were involved in something that they did not like. The advice, btw, comes from "A Chorus Line." A character is describing going to the High School of the Performing Arts and her teacher is a jerk who constantly berates her. She goes to Church and prays for guidance and, unlike most of us, she got it. As the song goes a voice came up from the bottom of her soul (and out through the top of her head) and said "This man is nothing, this course is nothing, if you want something, go find a better class."

I've told this story and given this advice for years and I decided to take it myself. I found a better class. I still have to take lame ass English, but I discovered that the lame ass English I was taking is NOT required lame ass English. My current lame ass English involved writing a paper over the course of eight weeks, using various multi media and getting peer pressure  reviews. It's okay. Not hard, except that the paper is to be a paper about a happy memory.

Well, okay, I can dig up a few. has to involve someone that I am then going to interview about said happy memory. And THAT'S the rub. I'm almost sixty. These people are dead.  I mean, who can't come up with a happy memory involving grandma? Me too. Now, talk to grandma about the circus. Sure, the median age of my classmates is 17.9. I'm freaking OLDER than their grandmother's.

I was going to make one up, including the person, but now I find out that photographs are involved. Well shit. NOW I have to find someone in the photo box and make up a life history for them, and then come up with a happy memory I had with them and then do some sort of interview. Kee-Ryst

It's not that I don't have said memories, I could probably call up one to use in case I ever need a Patronus. I was happy when my boys were born. Unfortunately neither one of them is much of a conversationalist on that particular memory. I thought of the time my dad sneaked me out of the house after I'd been grounded by my mother and took me to the circus. Now, to this day I remember the absolute wonder of all three rings going at once.AMAZING!  My father doesn't remember that. Seriously?

Maybe the time my fiancee dumped me for a guy? In the long run it worked out for the better, although I have no idea where he is now so there does the interview thing again.

Maybe the day I told my first English teacher to eat me? I have the emails, which might suffice as the interview portion of our program, no picture tough. For some reason I imagine he looks like the older, dissipated Richard Burton, because none of the 17 years olds in the class will recognize him.

So yeah, I'm soliciting happy, media friendly memories. Like the time crazy Uncle Clint started yelling at the furniture...

Oh, by the way, "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..." is from The Scottish Play. Just thought I'd mention it.

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