Do You Mean . . .
“What do you mean, I don’t have to take this class?”
Those words were the first ones that were uttered by me and heard by Ronald Milligan, the boy from Nevada City. He was seated in his chair in the course entitled “The Ancient Near East and Egypt.” I had rushed into the classroom late, due to the pronounced propensity of the instructor of the previous class, Dr. Bell, who taught Expository Writing — to detain his roomful of students late, sometimes very late, past the bell!
The professor of this evening course had just finished informing the beleaguered students that “The Ancient Near East and Egypt” was not necessarily the only course to fulfill the units for non-Western Civ AND intensive English writing. There were other choices in the curriculum . . .
Prior to my final semester in University, I had focused long and hard to find this subject and session that would fulfill at least 4 requirements for my personal and professional needs. And here was this foppish guy, telling me, that I did not NEED to take THIS course.
Professor Fop looked straight at me and quipped: “There are other classes that can fulfill the non-Western Civ requisite. You have to do a lot of writing for this class. You may not be able to do the amount of writing required.”
“I, sir, am an English major.”
There was a deer-in-the-headlights look in the eyes of this supercilious man. Perhaps he had never met an English major up-close and personal. And he did not wish to go over all of the pertinent information about this course, once again, with this late-comer, especially this obvious non-student who was dressed in her work attire of dress and heels and stockings. Moreover, she was a bit breathless, after scurrying from one end of the campus to the other end, from English to non-Western Civ.
That journey in itself is long, no matter where it takes place!
“Well, you can read this information in The Hornet.” Prof. Fop waved me away.
“I wouldn’t wrap fish in that thing.”
My love of journalism was showing. The Hornet was/is the student newspaper at CSUS. I took a look around the room and saw a guy wearing a very faded jean jacket and sporting an all-day five o’clock shadow. This appearance was what Professor Fop would later term the “ba” of Mr. Milligan.
There was no one seated in the chair beside him, and so Professor Fop told me that I could take that seat, right next to, uh, Mr. Milligan.
That seating arrangement persisted until the end of that semester, if not right up until today! There were times when I took advantage of that set-up, such as “accidentally” forgetting my text book, but a guy who is inordinately focused on pinning down his “moments of inertia” sometimes needs a nudge toward the force needed for a desired acceleration, or any acceleration!
Dear Husband later told me that his first thought upon witnessing me that stormy January night was: “Oh, boy. We got a live one here.”
Somehow I always come to life when presented with an obstacle. The bigger the obstacle, the more I come to life. I have asked Dear Husband, Why is that? He shrugs and states that I was born that way. Indeed I was.
My computer programming school instructor penned in his summation of this student on her exit exam: Sometimes overwhelmed with the material, but never afraid to ask for clarification to get the work done.
Whenever the dour clouds of doubt and the gloom of the nay-sayers threaten to stand in the way of your progress, take the time to find some clarity to get the work done. Pause, reflect, and then keep plowing your own furrow!
“The Ancient Near East and Egypt” will always be remembered by me as the path not only to pyramid power, but to living happily ever after! Not only did I out-write the others in this class, I picked up some novel ideas and names to be used in my future writing. Most of the time I am completely unaware that I’m making excellent use of my time, but that state of mind usually occurs when I am performing at my best.
Since that historic encounter of mine during the long ago, the world of the English Major has become a rather foreign place for the countless individuals who love the English language and Western Civilization; but I believe that dimming of the lights for true culture has been but a brief moment. at least in terms of geological time. And it’s all been for a wondrous purpose. If you like your light bulb, you can keep your light bulb . . .
It is therefore only right and proper to say on this dark winter day, that the light of hope shines brightly in the USA and elsewhere in the world. What a wonderful way to begin the next decade!
2020 is so symmetrically arranged and so phonetically balanced that I feel more faith in the future than I have for many years. Never give up on your dreams, or in the power of dreaming. Every moment is a gift, and there is a dream to be found, waiting to come true, in each moment.
Soon, very soon, I shall see a white Christmas on the ground around my own dream house. Next year at this time, I shall be living in that dream house, a drawing that has long awaited realization.
I still think there will be a French château ambiance to that abode — by the time the stucco and roof materials are on it — but Dear Husband believes the spirit of the Ponderosa has found a new home!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!