Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The settling of the Great Plains and my big, stupid mouth

My sophomore year English teacher in high school frequently used to tell us that she was from what she called "the boonies." The boonies was not a specific geographical location; it was just a general idea of a place where people apparently had much stronger moral upbringings than us spineless suburban materialist jellyfish. The contrast between the boonies and Skokie was frequently, and condescendingly, drawn. You'd think Skokie was Sin City if you sat there long enough.

One day, Beckus was French-braiding Becco's hair in English class. This caught the attention of my English teacher, who decided to use it as a teaching moment to show that, once again, the suburbs are the evil breeding grounds of shallow, appearance-obsessed ape-people. The moral was obvious: "In the boonies, we never braided each other's hair!"

Finally aroused to defend my noble hometown and its perfectly sufficient teachings regarding morality, frugality, and the care of one's hair, I replied, "Yeah, what did you braid? Cornhusks?"


There was silence. Someone hissed, "Ouchhhh..." from the back.

After class, I was taken into the hallway and told in no gentle terms that I would be a far superior human being if I just glued my mouth shut. Permanently. If that hadn't been such an incisive and accurate suggestion, I probably would've been offended.

My sophomore English teacher actually turned out to be a pretty decent person. But my arrival at this conclusion was significantly delayed by the cornhusking incident.

Anyway, I'm actually catching up on my geography reading now, and I'm on the chapter about the settling of the Great Plains. It involved some corn. That's about the only connection I can make between geography and my sophomore English teacher to justify this entry. Also, as part of a larger effort to constantly sabotage myself, just as I'm catching up in my schoolwork, I get distracted by some bizarre book by some bizarre Norwegian guy about--guess what--the settling of the Great Plains. So now I'm 30 pages into Giants in the Earth instead of my geography textbook.