Here in the Deep South we are chugging along, trying to recover from a spate of tornadic destruction the scale of which hasn't been experienced in nearly forty years. My little Hamlet and college went unscathed, with nary a drop of rain falling, and not much wind, but midafternoon on Wednesday the town suddenly and mysteriously went dark, and there were threats that the power wouldn’t return until May.
Boys deal with this sort of thing by setting stuff on fire. They make flaming arrows out of sticks, dance around fire pits like goblins, and begin eyeing every stray object in terms of whether it will melt or explode. Meanwhile, rational adults of the female persuasion hide the spray cans and pray the ruffians will restrain themselves from dropping their pants and lighting their own farts. The semi-rational adults of the male persuasion smoke cigars and drink, and look the other way, because boys will be boys. And boys like fire.
Don’t tell me this doesn’t happen, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes, right before the lights just as mysteriously returned that very evening, crisis mostly averted.
Thursday dawned bright and clear and absolutely lovely, and in two of my classes I had tests to hand back. Portentously, the internet was still down on campus, which meant that most students would not have been able to check their grades on blackboard before coming to class.
For one girl, who had been anxiously emailing me about when the grades would be up just before the blackout, this meant that her grade, a 64, was a fresh hell she had no time to assimilate. She saw her grade, let out a strangled cry, and began weeping.
Crying Girl, how can I go over the test and try to help the rest of the class prepare for the final when you are crying? How can the rest of the class pay attention and correct their mistakes throughout the snuffling and wet breathing and outright sobs you are emitting?
I pressed on, thinking that a boy would take this in stride. A boy would go home and set something on fire. Or at least a boy would wait until the end of class to cry in his car when he got a bad grade, which is what I used to do.
So there will be a new policy. No crying in class. Please, no crying. Light your farts on fire but don’t cry. I can’t take it.