I guess some would find my forgotten series (and especially the last image) kind of a departure. After reading a fellow (and much more skilled )blogger post, she had me convinced that my blog had gotten a mind of it’s own. She isn’t wrong, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.
This is an examination of all the “forgotten” things I collected over the years. It was kind of an obsession of mine in my former life. I’m a huge fan of EOA (Ecology of Absence) website. While I might not agree with their philosophy in every detail, I very much want to contribute to their pages some day. But in truth, this is a part of me, just not one I pull out very often anymore. I like the lure of the hidden, of discovery, and sometimes, finding those pictures of “forgotten” things is the closest we get.
It is especially true since I discovered that my Freshman English Teacher died a few days ago. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened. But she was a great person, and had it not been for her, I would have become a very different person. She exposed me to literature that the public schools only grudgingly let teachers teach. Things like Animal Farm and 1984.
She got big names to talk at our school– imagine if you will Robin Williams talking about drugs. This was just after a well known “Life Coach” and “Drug Treatment Superstar” was soundly thrashed and booed out of our auditorium not 20 minutes into a 2 hour speech. By the reckoning of those who Wisely Guide Us All, he did everything right. He was even politically the correct race and everything. He had it all going for him until an auditorium full of cynical teens at an inner city school showed him the door. He tried to relate to them. He tried to talk their language. It was panned out of existence, because what he said did not reflect their experiences. He was talking about a philosophy and a life they could not imagine.
Enter Robin Williams. He gave (and this is a high compliment) the only anti-drug talk worth thinking about– and was so memorable that I cherish it to this day. Though a White Guy, he also knows a few things about the School of Hard Knocks, and what hitting bottom looks like– even what it feels like. Hell he knows what it is to live there– and that’s a part of what makes him so damn funny.
He told us about his drug habit in vivid detail. It was so wild, so scary, so pathetic and so funny that I was crying and laughing at the same time. (I had cynicism down to a science–especially about The Drug Talk. I didn’t see what was so great about drugs, and I thought that the so called adults were so out of touch they were making the problem worse. ) He fully explained that taking those drugs feels really really great, and that often you think you can’t live without them. But the life he described around that fact was so awful one never wanted to even try the most amazing thing that the world could offer.
The only remotely similar experience I have had was reading “Mind Killer” by Spider Robinson. Be warned, it’s Spider on a Depressive bender. He is an incredibly effective writer. It’s strong stuff. Anyway…
These inner city kids… mostly not white… loved it. He was so human, and you could tell he honestly gave a damn about the rest of us– and that we weren’t apart of some program. He crossed bridges by knowing they weren’t really there. What the politically correct “life coach” guy couldn’t do, one of the most difficult personalities to work with in Show Business managed it without breaking a sweat.
He did it because addictions really ruin lives, but also to convince people of that you need to have your facts straight, or your audience will feel compelled to prove you wrong. One of my favorite lines was “if you are going to try to prove to someone that drugs are bad, a little coercion will only prove to the other guy that what you’ve got is really great and you don’t want to share!”
Except I’m sure he said it a lot better than that.