inspired by random and some not-so-random events and people in my life

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Mental Gymnastics for Intellectual Sluts

Years ago I read a short story – I believe it was by Woody Allen – that described an escort service with a twist. The business provided for hire, not nubile young females for mindless sex, but women with post-graduate degrees from Vassar and Radcliffe for cerebrally stimulating conversations. What a mind-blowing idea! It sure gives new meaning to that old chestnut of a phrase, “My wife doesn’t understand me”, eh? Today, I imagine such intellectual infidelities are facilitated, like pornography, wife-swapping and casual sex, by the proliferation of the Internet and its multiple communication channels, and why not? Why should the Internet privilege one set of proclivities over another? :)

Take any one idea,
Mere fodder for
The intellectual mill.
Twist and turn,
Watch it squirm.
Tease it out ad infinitum.
Pinion down for the kill,
Nail it at the climax.

CUT TO: Scene with post-discourse cigarette.

Good Teachers

“We teach who we are.” – Parker Palmer

A good teacher is not one who was born a saint.
What does one who is perfect understand about
The temptations of the flesh,
The tumultuousness of the soul,
The weaknesses of the mind?

A good teacher is not one who has never made any mistakes.
What does one who succeeds all the time understand about
The humiliation of failure,
The agony of defeat,
The bleakness of a life gone wrong?

A good teacher is not one who has never experienced
Life in all its vicious vicissitude,
The helplessness of being disempowered,
The anger of being marginalized,
The vulnerability of being exposed.

Even one who has struggled and overcome is not
A good teacher yet,
Not without being able to say,
With equanimity,
“It doesn’t mean I’m better than you.”

The more I read, the more I understand.
The more I teach, the more I learn.
The more I live, the more I grow.

A good teacher is one who
Can see in all clarity,
Can say in all humility,
Can share in all sincerity,
This is who I was,
Who I still am.

I have been an idiot, sometimes.
I have been a fool, often.
I have been impetuous, unthinking, selfish,
Careless, partisan, opinionated,
Silly, proud, lazy,
Just like you.
I am, but I am learning.
Together, we grow.