Wednesday, December 23, 2009


This is the nightmare—watching the professor prove a theorem, not understanding the proof, copying every character into our spiral notebooks, and acting like we understand, even though everyone in class agrees, before finals, the only way to pass is to memorize the proofs and write down exactly what the professor scratched out on his green board before sauntering back to the left side of the room, erasing as he goes, saying, “I hope . . . you’ve all . . . gotten it . . . down,” with the same grin he wears on his face this sunny Saturday morning as the wake of privet clippings stretches and his sunburned skull invites melanoma. Finally, he disappears around the corner of his front hedge, the orange snake following him like an eel, and I ask the GPS lady to take me home. As she directs me, I imagine her stating a case for gun control and wagging her wiry finger my way. I tell the GPS lady the hedge trimmers looked quite sharp and could have taken off at least a finger or two. But the GPS lady is adamant as she says to me sternly that she is recalculating my route because I have missed my turn.
Moral: One should only murder old professors in fiction.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Even though twenty years have passed, the professor looks much the same as when he wore sport coat and chalk-smudged tie. He is a short, bald man, having gone to tiptoes to fill the upper recesses of the green board, his white socks flashing with the speed of his dance. Now, as the professor reaches to trim the hedge’s raised ends, white heels flash from his flip-flops like the insides of oysters in the sun. It is a difficult reach, holding the trimmer level to sculpt the hedge ends just so. As I sit in my car with the window up listening to the muted sound of the hedge trimmer, the GPS lady, apparently having thought long and hard about my earlier question about others having nightmares, or perhaps hearing the whir of the hedge trimmer, asks me to repeat my destination.
... To be continued