Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why? Why? Why?

Kwame Oboglo and his wife Zipporah ask, in essence, why in the heck did me and the kid go to Taylor in the first place? From what original state were we transformed into the sort of people who have spent the 40 years since pissing and moaning about it?

Last night I wrote a long convoluted confusing explanation. I know it confused me. I threw that explanation away. The answer is actually simple. I was a working class kid who knew nothing about college and who thought he would probably be a high-school teacher, since those were the college-educated folk to whom I was most exposed. We knew no doctors, no lawyers, no architects. We knew barbers, shoe salesmen, low-level office workers, milkmen. My dad was a locomotive engineer, an engine driver, for the Norfolk and Western railroad. Both my grandfathers and nine of my uncles worked for it at one time or another.

I knew one thing: I didn't want to work for the N&W. Any college was an acceptable alternative to that. First tier? Fourth tier? It never occurred to me to ask.

I was also a born-again Christian kid, so very much afraid of the world and its temptations -- and, of course, I was afraid of my own desires, which rooted up temptations like a French pig roots up truffles. I wanted to be someplace safe. I wanted to please my parents. I didn't want to end up like my uncle the drunkard or my uncle the drunkard *and* the whoremaster.

I feared thinking because I had no idea what I might actually think.

I didn't choose Taylor because my parents wanted me to. There were no arguments, no pressure. It never occurred to me that I would not go to a Christian school. Fundamentalist Christianity was our brand, and we were brand faithful. Any Fundamentalist school would have done for my parents, and there are more than you think. I wanted to go to Taylor. I knew about it because a full-figured girl in my church was going there, and she recommended it. We had such a small church, only about a hundred members, so there was a dearth of girls of a certain age, much less full-figured girls of a certain age.

I wasn't concerned about learning anything. I just wanted to meet a nice Christian girl who would say something like, "Bury your face between these, Monsieur piglet."

And then I would marry her.

Now, why did the kid go? Well, first thing she wasn't just a good Christian girl, she was the child of missionaries. Perhaps, she will come make a guest post at this blog someday, but she did tell me one thing. When it came to going to Taylor, she asked for a sign from God, and she got it.

So you might say she was recruited.

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