Poo Poo Trance

1345546-largeA long time ago I was teaching at a college in Fairbanks, Alaska. I had a student named Jake who was very angry. Very angry!! At least once a few week he would announce how much he hated people. Just about the only people he didn’t hate were his own family. His grandkids and his wife. Everyone else he hated. The weird thing is that he was always trying so hard to get people to like him. He would make everyone cupcakes or he’d buy everyone pizza, but then the next day he was back to announcing how much he hated everyone.

What’s also strange is that he was funny. Funny because most of what he was saying was generally what 99% of the room was thinking. Like one day, he walked in and the room was dead silent, and he couldn’t stand silence so he told me in a (loud) hushed whisper, ‘What’s wrong with everyone? Did someone just die? Why do people pay all this money and then never open their mouths at school? It’s just stupid!’ and I agreed.

He had a weird look in his eye. Almost like there was no emotion behind them. Expressionless. Or rather, the same expression all the time. Like a deer in the headlights. When he smiled or laughed, his face changed but then it was always back to the same empty look.

But he was nice.

I appreciated having him in class. At least he opened his mouth. At least he had a point of view. There’s nothing worse than a roomful of silent people when you’re trying to teach. The blank stares. Nobody willing to stick their neck out. At least he was willing, even if his neck was extremely negative, at least he tried. I appreciated that. He showed me how not to give a shit. He showed me that it’s better to say something stupid than nothing at all. I know many would probably disagree, but I think he’s right. It’s better to at least try to take a stab in the dark, even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re stabbing at. It’s better to make a fool out of yourself and at least almost make it, then get stuck in your own poo poo trance.* [‘Poo poo trance,’ by the way, is a made-up family phrase denoting a cat that has gotten stuck scraping the litter box incessantly because they smell shit but can’t remember whether they covered it up or not so they keep scraping the box mindlessly despite the mound being covered.]

I’d much rather open my mouth and make an ass out of myself then sit in a silent poo poo trance.


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