There was nothing about him to indicate that he was alive except an occasional movement in his milky grey eyes, but once when a bold child touched his sword, his arm shot forward and slapped the hand off in an instant.
—“A Late Encounter With the Enemy,” by Flannery O’Connor
There’s something I’ve haven’t told you all year, but it’s time to tell you now.
Before the first day of class last August I put a rectangular basket, almost the size of a loaf of bread, up on the metal cabinet in the back of The Cozy Room of Learning to put pencils in. Pencils I knew I’d be collecting from off of the floor after class was dismissed when I’d mope around the room rearranging desks, collecting jackets, expensive laptop computers, binders, and textbooks. Mostly science textbooks are left behind. I have no idea why.
I knew from my substitute teaching days that if a kid really needed a pencil then all he had to do was to look on the floor somewhere.
I brought the basket home yesterday, and today, since I don’t have a sixth period exam, here I am having a nice mid-week day off feeling and looking a little lunaticky in my gross bathrobe.
I poured the basket on the floor to find an answer to something I've wondered about for ten months …
- 80 total items collected from Wednesday, August 12 to Monday, May 24
- 1 highlighter: light blue
- 3 mechanical pencils
- 6 pens
- 70 pencils … of which 2 were brand new and didn’t have a point yet; 4 pencils were broken; and 23 pencils were still a few inches long with a point but didn’t have an eraser. Gnawed off? Pulled off? Eaten?
Dixie, I know you’ve got some questions and concerns. Let me go ahead and comfort you with my reason: It was because I wanted to see how many utensils I’d collect in a school year. About as simple and goofy as that. But the real moral of this weird one is this for all people of the world: What you need is probably right there at your feet. That is, before you ask for some help … try to do the thing yourself.
That sounds about right.
Next Entry ... May 26: Everybody Wins On The Last Day