Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Mr. Fowler and the Red Light Special
One of the best mentors I've ever had in my life was my science teacher, Mr. Fowler.
He wasn't a touchy-feely type of guy. He wasn't going to wipe your ass for you, or accept any kind of excuses. Dog ate your homework? Too fucking bad, sunshine.
He was a man who expected you to do, not to whine.
Having said all that, he was one of the fairest people I've ever known. Fair, but tough.
One of the things he decided that we would do was learn to classify leaves. I think he described it something like this: "We're going to make a book of leaves that you'll learn to classify. By 'we', that means 'you.' You'll thank me when you're off camping, run out of toilet paper, and know that what you're wiping with isn't going to turn into an oozy rash."
To learn to classify leaves, Mr. Fowler would take us out on nature type excursions. We'd pick a couple leaves off trees, and take them back to the classroom to try to distinguish what they were.
Me and my best friend teamed up to do our book together, and we actually got pretty good at it.
Mr. Fowler would test us, give us random leaves to classify, and such.
A few weeks later, we were almost finished with our leaf classification book, but still needed a few more samples.
Mr. Fowler took the class out, and let us roam around in the woods, finding what we needed.
Me and my best friend wandered off in search of a cottonwood tree, which was all we needed to finish up our book. I was wearing headphones, singing along to TLC's Red Light Special, and humping random trees small enough to wrap my legs around. Some of the trees I pretended were Mr. Fowler.
I saw my best friend out of the corner of my eye at the same time I spotted the cottonwood tree. I could hear her walking up behind me.
As she got closer, I rubbed my ass on the base of the cottonwood tree and told her "Using Mr. Fowler's scientific tree classifying method, I can tell this tree is a cottonwood, simply by the way the bark feels against my ass."
I turned around to ask her a question, and instead, there was Mr. Fowler.
I immediately felt my face turn horribly red. He said "That's nice, Sal, but I don't think the science community will get behind that."
With that, he walked off, laughing.
Later that week, in class, Mr. Fowler was handing our books back to us, I found a note in mine from the man himself. Next to the cottonwood leaf, was a note. "Classified using RLS method--patent pending."
Red. Light. Special.
You dirty boy, Charlie.