Friday, March 18, 2005

True Romance
We’re just now finishing up that chapter on waves in our crappy textbook, and the last thing we did was read a short (page and a half) play about Poseidon and a Dolphin. We spent a couple of days on that, and then I had the kids write their own myths. I gave some suggested ideas: How’d the turtle get his shell? Why do monkeys like bananas? How’d the snake lose his legs? Etc. I got some funny responses, some half-assed responses, and plenty of kids didn’t bother to do it at all.

A number of kids didn’t quite understand the assignment. One kid named Juan took things to a whole other level. This is my second semester teaching Juan. I had him in a Level 1 class a year and a half ago when we were both new arrivals to the City and Shitty High. He’s always been a funny kid. Back then, before he knew English mind you, he insisted – with a dramatic flourish and an over-the-top “thassa spicy meat-a-ball” Italian accent – that his name was not Juan but was in fact “Ricardini.”

He was a real pain in the ass back then, though, it’s great to see him now; he’s learned a ton of English, passed all of his classes, and is now a Junior and well on his way to graduation and (if there are no immigration issues) a local Community college.

“How I Am Me” he wrote, and proceeded, in only slightly less than lurid detail to tell the tale of his conception.

Sixteen years ago Juan’s mother, a twenty year old virgin, lay naked on a beautiful and secluded Dominican beach. His father, thirty-five years old and a man of not inconsiderable success and experience, stood nearby staring at the lovely and innocent young nude.

At this point in the story, I paused in my reading, and asked Juan if he was sure this wasn’t a “dirty” story.

“XXX?” I clarified further. “Porno?”

He assured me it was not, but our little exchange had gotten the entire class’ attention, and they looked on eagerly as I continued to read. I made a big show of getting all hot and bothered; looking around uncomfortably, bugging my eyes, exhaling dramatically, unbuttoning my collar, clearing my throat, muttering, and fanning my face with my undershirt.

I went back to the story and found the man still staring at the nubile young lass, quickly falling in love with every smooth, ample curve and dark, mysterious recess on her glistening mocha-colored body.

At this point I actually was beginning to feel a little flustered, but I soldiered on.

Soon the man removed his swimsuit approached the woman with a simple, unspoken proposition. He was a man, she a woman. They were alone on the beach. They were nude.

Nature, as it is wont to do, took its course. They made and fell in love. They went back to town and met each other’s parents. They were soon married, and nine months after that fateful day on the beach Juan was born.

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