Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be out of touch for a few days.
Last winter, I worked as a substitute history teacher in a minority school during Black History Month. The New Jersey world history curriculum demanded that I teach the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the Cultural Revolution. In other words, all white dudes, all the time. During Black History Month.
So I assigned a do-at-home project. The students had to interview someone in their family about their personal family history, and then do a family tree as far back as they could manage.
Some of those reports were fascinating. There was one kid, a tall, silent black guy, who wrote that his grandmother lived on the Nanticoke Indian Reservation. Another kid discovered that he was related to Philadelphia's recent mayor, John Street. And one girl who stood up to read her paper said, "I am going to tell you about my strong, proud, African American grandfather..." It went uphill from there.
The student who stands foremost in my mind, however, was a fellow I'll call Orlando. (My regular readers will notice I use this name alot.) One morning, Orlando came in with the most amazing news: His grandfather told him that his great-great-grandfather had cut his own leg off with a machete. And died in the process.
The G-G-G-granddad in question worked in the sugar cane fields in the Dominican Republic. He got some kind of infection that worked on his leg until the pain became unbearable, and in a moment of insanity, he hacked his leg off.
Right now I'm glad I don't have a machete, because I would be adding a whole interesting new twist to the old Johnson family history. My leg hurts like hell, and I can sure see how someone would go crackers and start slashing.
So I'm going to lie low for a few days, trying to keep my mind off machetes and other extreme pain-relieving measures.
Judging from some of the weblogs in my sidebar, many of you know about bad-ass pain, so you'll bear with me, won't you?
Meanwhile, if you want religious enlightenment, go to YouTube and search for Vulture vs. Phone Book.
If you want yet another reason why you should avoid fundamentalist Christianity like unto the verminous plague, go to YouTube and search Electric Pickle. Trust me, you will find this video funnier than anything I've ever written here.
Please bear with me. The sugar cane harvest will be over soon.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS