Monday, August 14, 2006

Thoughts inspired by a $100 weenie pig

I got nothin'... We spent $100 on the Guinea Pig, and as already discussed, that critter ain't even good eatin'... I spent almost two hours chasing the cave troll around PetSmart while my older daughter took the pig to the vets for being a weenie pig with skin problems and all I can think of is, "There will not be a mouse, rat, gerbil, hamster, ferret, chinchilla, bunny or weenie pig in my home from the time this one drops dead on somebody's birthday or a children's holiday (both have happened, no lie!) to the time the infant gets big enough to guilt me into it, as the lost goddess of weenie pigs is my witness."

And then I pet the adoptable kittens and wondered if maybe I wasn't overstating the whole 'animals are a colossal pain in the arse' stand just a weenie pig bit. Then I got the $100 weenie pig bill and wondered if we could serve the weenie pig's remains to gullible rich people with my definitely un-pesticided garden snails and make a killing.

But my flummoxulation (great word--made that up myself) aside, I figured I'd talk about Beowulf and the modern teenager...

I teach Beowulf--I love Beowulf...I have a hard time convincing kids that all of that bald poetry is simple story telling at it's barest. There is no complexity, there is no irony, Beowulf good/Grendel bad, the good guy dies with the most toys, the end. Eventually they get it--they really love the part where Beowulf rips Grendel's arm off and what's left of Grendel goes sobbing into the forest to die in a cave like the big carnivorous weenie pig that he is. They love it...they especially love the part where Beowulf throws that humonguloid arm up over the framework of the giant meadhall to rot and says "Me good guy, that proof, so there!" I mean, it's really great territorial chest beating, and if kids didn't get off on that we'd have a world without wars, gangs, and organized sports...but in this day and age it was a positive thing and that totally intrigues them.

I could tell I'd made an impression with Beowulf the day I helped break up the girl fight.

Mostly I let security break up fights, but there is something reckless in me, something that wants the world to know that even though I'm an excessively large woman with a sweet round face, I am still no one to dick with and if I am pissed off, you'd best stay out of my way. It's the thing that drives me to go walking around my not always safe neighborhood alone at nine o'clock on a summer night--in fact, it's the place in me where Cory, my main character comes from. It's a good place, but reckless--it's the thing inside of me that has led me to drop the F-bomb more than once during meetings with my administrator. Sometimes I regret where that place takes me, sometimes I revel in it, but mostly I am surprised by it--if anyone were to ask me I'd say I was a hobbit, not a warrior elf, and when I find myself (like Pippin or Merry) with that bloodied sword in my hand, I couldn't say who was more surprised--me or the dead orc in my way.

This fight was one of those days when that place opened up in my heart and I was in the thick of a big-honkin' girl fight. Now my stepmom (one of the most lovely people to ever walk the earth) once told me that when you're in a girl fight, one of the best defenses is to grab the girl's hair from the back of the head--you have control of the direction the person is flailing and their arms aren't aimed at you. I imagine she got this tactic from when she worked as a ward clerk at night in a county hospital--but in this particularly ugly fight, that random bit of information came flashing through my brain. I have a clear memory of one girl--one of the smaller ones--being dragged away by her boyfriend--he was carrying her like a toddler and her arms and legs were straight out in front of her like she was trying to materialize through his body onto her foe, and that was when the girl in front of me got away from the security guard holding her and she darted in front of me. I grabbed her hair from the back of her crown, and it slowed her down enough for security to tackle her and get her in a 3 point restraint, but, uhm...did I mention I work in a school with an intensely varied ethnic background? Yeah... a lot of the girls have weaves.

The bell rang, the fight broke up, and I was left with a rather impressive hunk of synthetic hair dangling from my hand. I took it back to my 5th period class, where I sheepishly fielded a bunch of 'you go, Mz. Mac' comments from the kids who'd seen me in the fight (my part was so minor--they were being cute, really), and that's when I held up what was left of the one girl's weave.

They busted up, and I told them I was at a loss for what to do with it. One kid (a talker--remember vocabulary? We called him gregarious Gregorio.) suggested that I should nail it above my doorway as a warning to whomever entered not to mess with me.

"Then we could call you Beo-Mac!"

I was so proud of them I almost cried.


Roxie said...

I LOVE Gregorio! And I love Beowulf. I also appreciate the fact that the hero was killed by the monster's MOMMY! "The female of the species is more dangerous than the male." I also love Kippling.

Starfish said...

I loved that story!!! Both your story and Beowulf!