Terry D. Sutherland
EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF WARPED CEREBRATION
If sciolism were an art form I’m sure I would be a Picasso. For as long as I can remember useless facts and figures seem to adhere to my brain and are randomly released as free radicals from incomplete oxidation in my burning mind.
I have a love of puns and irony and they seem to surface in the form of humor when I can work them into conversation.
It started, I think, with my first grade teacher, Mrs. Fulton. (Mrs. Fulton was also my father’s first grade teacher). I advanced from first to second grade fifty-five years ago, but I’m convinced Mrs. Fulton is alive and well still influencing the futures of first graders. She was an encyclopedia of misrepresentation and wives’ tails, which she executed with Nazi precision in the classroom. She was a big woman and towered over her peers and teaching associates, both male and female. She had a huge wart on the left side of her nose – no matter how I tried to see her in a normal perspective; I could never stop focusing on that appendage. She was a woman of little patience.
Twice a week we took forty-five minutes from our day to go the stage of the multi-purpose room for band practice or rhythm practice. Rhythm practice was a class of twenty first-graders, most of them carrying two sticks each, which they banged together while they marched single file around the stage. There were to tambourines that were assigned to the two girls with the most influential parents – a doctor and an insurance salesman. On occasion we were arranged on stage as a choir – tallest in the back. In this arrangement we were allowed to sing songs like “Old Dan Tucker” and “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie”. Mrs. Fulton loved rhythm practice because she could wear and use the round silver pitch pipe to sound the notes to start the songs. She would sound the note and tell us the letter it represented. They all sounded the same to me. Music was so abstract to me that to this day I don’t know what the letter denomination for music means. Once she explained it by singing “do rae me fa so la te da”. I was usually the student that always sat back in quiet observation; but this time I asked what the name of the song was. She looked at me in disbelief and without a word, dragged me to the corner of the stage, where I stood with my back to the class for the remainder of rhythm class.
I think I was supposed to be left-handed. Mrs. Fulton insisted that there were no left-handed people by birth. She insisted that using one’s left hand caused mental defects in adult life. Each time in penmanship that I tried to write with my left hand she took the pencil from my left hand and put it in my right. To this day I am ambidextrous and can even write with both hands at the same time. However I bat only right handed, and shoot only left-handed. I’m beginning to believe her observation of adult mental problems.
It was the early 50’s when I was in the first grade. Boys with crew cuts and short hair were the norm. Every day during health class Mrs. Fulton explained with prophetic indignation that boys with short hair would be bald as adults. She explained that the top of the head exposed to the sun dried the oil from hair and caused it to fall out. After all, one did not see bald adult women because they did not have crew cuts when they were young.
I gathered all of these facts and stored them in the recesses of my mind to be regurgitated at an opportune time. Through my school years historical facts often intrigued me. For instance the fact that George Washington was a big man caught my attention because they also said he was the father of our country. It just stood to reason that it would take a fairly large person to father a country. I was also intrigued by the fact that he threw a dollar across some river – the only thing that I could reason was that he folded that George Washington bill like a paper airplane and flew it across.
I had read somewhere that during the engagement of Serapis, John Paul Jones proclaimed: “I have not yet begun to fight”. He also said, according to my recollection, to his first mate: “Fire at Will, Smedley.” I often wondered who Will was and why they picked him exclusively to shoot at. John Paul Jones was born in Scotland with the name John Paul. He took the name Jones later – a clear case of keeping up this the Joneses.
You can see why these facts falling out of my mouth would give the impression of knowledge and education – the truth is though, that sciolism is an art form and I am a Picasso.
©Copyright March 23, 2009 by Terry D. Sutherland