Tuesday, July 9, 2013

That wasn't in the Course Description

In my college days I spent 5 weeks one summer knocking out an Introduction to Sociology course to fill a requirement. Five days a week at 7 a.m. If nothing, I secured great parking.

The professor invited a wide variety of guest speakers to keep us engaged. It worked. I found it was easy to get myself up so early because I was curious to see who would be speaking each day.

We were introduced to a cross-dressing male who was happily married to a noble woman who accepted this quirk. She was so accepting in fact that she would often tell "Bob" to go away and not come back until he was "Barbara." I am positive I could not be so understanding.

We also met a beautiful young woman who said she weekly turned down offers of dates from male suitors because she preferred women. And, I sat captivated in my seat as a young man wept and confessed he was homosexual. He spoke of his wrenching struggle to come to grips with his sexuality and the moment of truth when he confided in his mother. 

He said he wept as he told her and felt physically ill. The mother looked at him and said, "Finally! I have been waiting years for you to tell me this. You are what you are. Get over it! I have to go make dinner." 

"No hug?" someone asked.

"No hug!" he sobbed.

Despite the truly fascinating people that came to class none was more intriguing than the professor himself. He had assortment of oddities built-in to his character. He told us about his intense collect of dream journals. Every morning he told us he would feverishly write about the dreams he had as he slept. He would log his mood and events taking place and reference past journals in attempts to decipher what each dream meant. I would sit and listen to his analysis of his nightly visions and think to myself, "Dude, what did you have for dinner?"

One day the professor crossed a line between quirky and certifiable. I arrived at class to find all the desks arranged in a circle. I quietly took my seat as the professor stood in the middle. His whole being was humming. He had something he was very eager to share.

Once the seats where full the theatrics began. The professor began to tell us about an intense class he attended over the weekend. It took him to the very roots of his existence. He experienced his very own birth. That's right. His birth. He paused as he let us attempt to digest the enormity of what he said. I was hoping he wasn't going to whip out a black and white 8mm reel but I soon realized that would have been preferable.

The professor began to tell us about how, under the awesome tutelage of someone theoretically sane, he was transported back to his mother's womb. He slowly lowered himself to the floor and curled himself into the fetal position and began writhing and wiggling. This could have been the most uncomfortable situation I have ever been in. It was like watching something immensely private and wishing you could be anywhere - and I mean ANYWHERE - else.

Sadly, it didn't stop there. The professor began to make meek little cries and whimpers interspersed with comments like, "It was blackness! There was pain! I was being ripped from my cocoon!" And then with finality he thrust his body forward on the floor and wailed like the newborn baby he thought he was. He screeched that the "light is blinding! So cold. I am so cold!" It was positively horrifying. I had just watch my 60 something year old professor emerge from his invisible mother's hoo-ha.

My classmates and I sat in stunned silence. We looked at the floor, the ceiling, anywhere but at him or anyone else. I wanted to shower. I wanted to take a bar of Lava soap and scrape the icky away. I remember shuffling out of class; no one said one word. I know we were all wishing it was a Friday and not a Monday. And, I knew we were all grateful is was a short summer session.

When we pushed out of the building into the cool summer morning life began to return. I walked numbly to my car and listened as classmates began to speak again. I did finally start smiling again when I heard one classmate ask his buddy, "Dude, do you think that is going to be on the final?" Oh, how I hoped not!

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