Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

01 March 2007

Crazy, crazy world. Crazy, crazy times.
Crazy, crazy world. Crazy, crazy times.
Hang up your chair to better sleep,
Clear the floor to dance.
Sweep the rug into the fireplace.

I don't even know what to say. It's complicated. I find myself saying that to the students, urgently: that people are complicated, that when they write their stories they should complicate the central figure to make him, or her, seem more real. Real people have all kinds of crazy shit running through their heads (I don't say this part to the kids). Some of us have dangerously crazy shit and are in positions of great power, and choose to send thousands to their death in a vain attempt to satisfy some macho crotch-itch. (I don't have anyone particular in mind when I say that; I'm just sayin'.) Some of us have crazy shit that wouldn't be so dangerous if we didn't deny its existence so vigorously. Some of us have crazy shit that overflows despite our best efforts and, um, complicates things.

I find myself in a profoundly complicated and contradictory state of mind lately, a state of mind nearly incapable of self-definition, a weird blend of everything's-fine and dread. It's hard to tell what's real sometimes. That's never been easy for me, actually; I'm frequently brought up short by the realization of how inaccurately I perceive reality. When one's emotional state literally shifts with the weather, it's difficult -- and dangerous -- to believe the assumptions of one's own mind.

But everything's fine. And that's reality, too. Things keep changing, and you move into the changes as best you can, and if the moment you're in isn't one you enjoy, that's okay; it's about to change. If you're euphoric, don't get attached to it. You're in control. You have no control. Accentuate the positive. Acknowledge the darkness. Deal with your shit. Don't dwell on your shit. You fucked up. You're a good person.

My friend Kumar Lewis died about a year ago, and I'll be going to the ceremony a month from now. We both played the lead, Eugene, in a dual-cast high school production of Brighton Beach Memoirs. We weren't deep friends and I never got to know him particularly well, but there was a lot of camaraderie between us, and I liked him. He had a generous heart, and this kind of goofy, naive, pseudosuave, self-deprecating, easygoing manner that was both annoying and totally charming. I'm sorry that he died.

I haven't been able to bring myself to start looking for a job yet, but I know that I need to. Soon. Things are complicated. That's okay, though, because -- well, it's complicated. But let's just say that life decides to shower you with a shitstorm; it has been known to happen. What do you do? I don't know what you do. What I do is go crazy, and do my best to ride the craziness instead of letting it ride me.

I'm so tired. I've been staying up every night writing, crashing into sleep and out of it too early in the morning. Somehow I can't seem to stop.

It turns out that the book my eighth graders just read has a sex scene in chapter 15 that I overlooked. It's sweet and specific and brief, and not a particularly important event in terms of the plot. Some of the kids were a bit shocked when they discovered it, and when word spread, they had about fifteen minutes of reading and giggling. Then we all moved on. Until a mother found out...

Tune in next week for the next episode of: Felix Helix, Purveyor of Prurient Pornography to Pious Pipsqueaks!



Anonymous frederika said...

Hang in there, WF. I know it's hard.

About the sex scene- I have a friend who was observing another teacher once, as part of a student teaching assignment, and the other teacher had literally mixed up the video of an animated version of a book they were reading with a porn video from home. And she didn't notice for a minute. Until, well, some second graders were quite stunned.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

To think that 8th graders don't know that sex is part of the human experience is ridiculous.

Should mother become a loud prude, there should be a parade that she could be pushed in front of that leads out of town, then disperses, leaving her outside. Close the city gates. Hang up a sign saying Adults Only on the gates, with the understanding that it is adults who realize that sex is okay, really, most times, and that children really are little adults, not dandelions to be hand-cupped from wind.

How's that for a plan?

I'll be running for mayor. I would appreciate your support. I will hire someone to kiss the babies and they will be the best baby-kisser. Surrounded by experts. Depend upon it.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Felix Helix said...

Freddie: I likes me some porn, not all of it, not most of it, but some, and the some that I like -- I like it a whole lot. Feels good plus doesn't hurt anyone equals God in my book, and if God isn't having sex right this minute, he's a punk. Sex is raw and messy and dangerous, and when you don't acknowledge raw messy dangerous things, they fester. Sexually transmitted diseases, be they physiological or psychological, arise from ignorance and nothing else. The bogeyman has power only because we're too afraid to look him in the eye.

Michael: you made me feel better than I've felt in weeks. Thanks.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Frederika said...

Felix: I guess I thought it goes without saying that it's ridiculous to protect 8th graders from sex!!!! It's like, I don't know, making tea without water. or something. Thirteen is the most sexually charged age I can think of -- second only to 32 and prenant:) About a month ago, I was teaching Read 180 to some high schoolers, and my supervisor (department head) walked in as we were reading some very racy stuff out loud. He said to me, "Couldn't you just have them read the Hardy Boy Mysteries? That was good enough when I was their age." And I, well, completely ignored him.

Everybody fuck! It's fun! And talk about it! A lot!

4:27 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bourrillion said...

What book was it, Yo?

Are you saying this has to do with why you lost your job?!

These kids are 14 years old for chrissakes! 14!!! They know what sex is.

7:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home