She stood with her head cocked on one side in an attitude of disbelief. “Oh, boy,” she said slowly, “is he a case.”
—“The Comforts of Home,” by Flannery O’Connor
Hold on tight for this one. During the exam period, which started Tuesday and lasts until next Tuesday, you don’t have to come to school on the day your free period has an exam.
The school wants you to call it your planning period, but you’re actually free to leave the campus on a regular day and do whatever you want so I call it a free period. Say free period around Lurlene and she goes nuts. She’ll say you’re supposed to be in there planning for what’s coming. I always say I’ve already done that because I have. This usually leaves the woman speechless, and that's always a big moment in the history of American education.
So guess what today is? My free period. I don’t have a third period. I didn’t get out of my nasty bathrobe until ___ o’clock in the ___.
Free to do what, though, I have no idea. You go four hundred miles an hour for almost ten months so it’s hard to slow it down and think about your own desires for too long. But do something healthy, maybe, like a long jog, followed up by weight lifting and some time with the heavy bag? Or something nutritious, like a long afternoon nap?
I performed one of the four aforementioned items and then I watched a DVD that new substitute teacher, Charla, who looks like Tammy Wynette, had given me a few days ago with a sticky note stuck to it that said, in her curly-girly letters, that there were people in this movie like people in our families. Charla is very, very much from Tennessee. I must give off a hillbilly vibe.
Anyway, the movie is called Sordid Lives, and it’s about a bunch of loveable and eccentric people with necks that are sun burned. The movie’s tag line is … A Black Comedy About White Trash.
In one scene an old woman named Sissy is hovering over the dead corpse of her sister while the corpse is laying in a coffin. Her sister’s got a dead mink or a ferret wrapped around her neck and the corpse is smiling. Sissy had already walked into the empty church smoking a cigarette and she says to her freshly dead sister as she’s waving smoke out of the way with her hand … Heyyyy! I guess you don’t mind if I smoke. It just wasn’t the right time to quit with you dyin’ and all. I only lasted for three days. I failed again, but after five husbands what else is new?
There I am late in the afternoon during my all-day free period, in my nasty bathrobe, laughing at the TV screen all by myself. I felt like a lunatic and it felt damn wonderful.
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