Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Walking Stick For Emphasis


Years ago, I taught a class where one of the students stayed perched on his chair for the entire period, like a bird ready to take flight. L (not his real initial) often wore a red cape to class and ate copious amounts of pixie sticks during my lectures, sometimes so fast he'd choke on the sugary powder and sputter like an engine in the water about to leave the harbor. I couldn't get mad despite the disruption -- a large part of my interest in the class rests on what L might do on any given day. Sometimes it got a little too interesting like when he started burning himself with cigarettes during break, prompting the other students to come in, yelling, L is burning himself with cigarettes. I walked out to see what I could do, but he'd already stopped and was prepared to resume his usual perched position. I saw the two angry marks on his arm, a testament to what I have no idea, and asked if I could do anything. Nope, he said, lining up his pixie sticks. I like to eat them in order, he said. All grape, all strawberry, and so on. I didn't know how he could stand the pain -- even I could smell the burning flesh from a distance.

Despite having a high capacity for drama and pain, L wasn't the greatest writer and opted to do a huge final presentation in hopes of raising his grade. He showed a video from PETA of a rabbit's vivisection which caused a student of mine who had recently lost his dog to a car accident to sob. The rest of the class tried not to heave as the minutes stretched out, one terrible thing after another happening to monkeys, bunnies, and other creatures. L had his cape on that day and had added a walking stick for emphasis, hitting the desk while defending animals. I didn't hear much of his speech given the general pandemonium in the classroom. But I kept my sights on his self-inflicted burn marks. They looked like eyes, the kind that belong on a doll that stares at you no matter where in the room you move.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I don't think about art when I'm working. I try to think about life." Jean-Michel Basquiat

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: The Chronic Dr. Dre

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Thanks to my newest commenter on the kind words about the photographs! I'm not sure how it works -- I'm pretty new to photography, but I love it. Get a lot of inspiration from Dare Wright, the woman who wrote The Lonely Doll books.

20 comments:

George W. Bush said...

I gave a walking stick to the Pope! It was made by a homeless guy in Texas!

Allastares Cookie said...

Hey, new commenter, Michelle was supposedly married to a professional photo guy. Obviously, he taught her nothing!!!

George Costanza said...

If L had my unique, Maltese Falcon cicarette lighter, he would be too facinated by it to burn himself. I will demonstrate this lighter and show you how it works over drinks at the Old Miami in Detroit, after class on Mondays of Wednesdays, your choice. Of course, we each will pay for our own. Cheers.
Yours,
George

Allastares Cookie said...

Hey, Michelle, get up on one of the desks and do your patented "Vulture Dance" routine. That'll be a great prompt!!!

Vittorio De Sica said...

It's the garden of the Finzi-Continis!!!

The Mad Hatter said...

The Eyes have it!!!!!

Short bus and Special said...

She gots brown eyes. We likes blue-eyed blond ones. They eat better at KYC!!!

Aunt Jemima said...

She gonna slap yo cakes!!!

Uncle Ben said...

Fry yo rice!

Steppin Fetchit said...

Hide yo dancin' shoes!

Amos and Andy said...

Give you an ultomato!

Red Fox said...

Make yo big one now!

Richard Pryor said...

Die honky, die!

Mother Waddles said...

All donations are greatly accepted! Donate your car now!

the walking man said...

I have scars from burning myself with cigarettes and letting others do it as well, why? *shrug* Why not you know the pain and possible infection will eventually go away.

L sounds like an interesting character to bad he didn't hae the ability to pick his life apart and write about it, seems like it all was what could produce the most shock value to me.

I wonder if he went to McDonald's after his presentation for his meat fix.

I can understand the fascination a teacher would have over the weirdness in the classroom, might even add something to relieve the tedium of three or four classes a day but in life I think after about twenty minutes he would be a bore.

As always
Peace

TWM

Huge Hefner said...

Imagine twenty minutes on Jessica Biel.

Kelly Kemp said...

I used to burn myself and cut myself too.

eric313 said...

I think I met L, didn't I?

So strange. And people call me crazy. Just for being good at fiction. But it's a price I'll pay forever; I love writing. I guess that makes me an ugly, skinny, crazyman. taptaptaptap

take care and stay armed!

shaun said...

Michelle,
i hate myself for saying this already, but... some women photo well, some just look like hell, but damn girl you look like an angel in purple. call me anytime. you can get my numger by emailing me at dharmabumwarrior@gmail.com

Plus brains, you are a dream come true.

Susan Miller said...

yowsa, from all appearances it looks as if this guy was keeping people at a safe distance, but what do I know?

I think it would be nice to have a red cape, but I would much prefer an invisible cloak.