Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Hero

I spent the day yesterday at Tod’s school talking to his team’s students about the local oratorical contest addressing art and culture. The question posed by the group sponsoring the contest asked a pretty long-haired question, so Tod’s team asked me to come in and get all college like on their kids. We put together a pretty interesting and funny presentation, and I headed off to talk to the kids for the day. I didn’t identify myself with my last name, since it’s the same as Tod’s; rather, I was just Professor Tom. The day went well and I had a pretty good time talking with the kids about art and the stuff they see each day around town here in Jackson. The kids were respectful and seemed to like what we were talking about (especially Tim Hawkinson’s art).

But after school, the drama began. A young woman who was very attentive and involved in my first group came up to Tod after class and said:

"I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I have been hearing from a lot of people that you are Gay".

Tod’s reply… "So?"

And her response… she looked at him and walked away.

It amazes me the amount of chutzpah some of these kids have. I wouldn’t have dreamt of asking any of my teachers anything like that when I was in school. I accidentally found my 5th grade teacher smoking behind the dining hall when we were at camp one year (I was taking out our cabin’s trash). I thought I was dead, that I had unwillingly crossed some line that would have me expelled or worse yet, talked to by the Principal. But apparently it’s open season now. I came in one afternoon to pick up Anna while Tod did Market Day and a young boy came up to me and said: "how is she related to you?" while pointing at Anna. I didn’t know what to say so I just looked at him and moved on.

But apparently you can just give them some of their own medicine and they crumble. Tod’s response of “So?” said very little in quantity, but it spoke volumes in terms of message:


Class dismissed.