One of the ways that I had justified spending the summer away from home was by getting a full-time job at the medical library and by taking a couple of classes. I'm sure that my parents knew I was up to no-good shenanigans 90% of the time, but as long as I earned my own money and got decent grades they turned a blind eye to my hard-partying ways.
The class I had selected was called, "Beauty, Sublimity, and Epiphany," and it turned out to be the best class I ever took in my four years at UVM. I loved the books, I loved the laid-back feeling of the summer class, and above all... I loved the professor. Oh, my... did I ever love my professor.
The only thing that kept my crush from reaching full-blown epic proportions was his hair. It sounds superficial, I know, but the man had a mullet down to the middle of his back. Very tidy, very well-maintained, but... a mullet is a mullet is a mullet.
Because of the hair, I never allowed myself to think of him "in that way." Weird, I know. Plus, he was my professor, and I was busy sowing my wild oats and being supremely immature, so I just never officially crushed on him. I just kind of, you know, idolized him.
Some of the books he selected for us to read and discuss are still my favorites to this very day. He introduced me to Raymond Carver, Don Delillo, and the concept of writing with a growing undercurrent of foreboding that is palpable yet hard to pinpoint. Learning how and what to read helped me become a better writer, and I still think of things he said and taught me to this day - 15 years later.
In my Senior year I ended up taking another one of his classes, but that one was a very small honors class about Restoration comedies. We ended up in powdered wigs, waving fans, and speaking like fops, which was fun and all, but nowhere near as deep and meaningful to me as the first class of his that I'd taken.
The last time I saw him was just after I'd graduated. We bumped into each other while browsing in Barnes & Noble and he told me that his girlfriend was pregnant. I congratulated him and was sincerely happy for him, and less than a year later I moved away and began my life as a "grown-up."
Over the years I've thought of him often.
In short, after all these years, I'd put him on a pedestal and always imagined that he was still at UVM wearing cardigans with leather patches on the elbows, still writing, still molding young minds, still rocking his mullet.
The other night, for some odd reason, I decided to google him. I don't even know why. His name came up immediately, and it brought me to what I first thought was a blog. I smiled - oh, the irony! My beloved professor is also a blogoholic just like me!
Then I read a little bit more, and it turns out it's a political blog written by him to document his campaign and new job... in politics. As a politician. A state senator, to be exact.
|See you on deck, Senator!|
At least he ditched the mullet.
I'm not sure if you guys know this about me or not, but I'm not a huge fan of politicians. Sure, maybe my old prof is trying to do "good," and I know I would have voted for him if I lived in the state (because praise Jebus, he's a bleeding heart like me), but the mere fact that he is now a schmoozing, fund-raising, potentially-two-faced politician makes me uneasy.
|I hope he still has a severe case of, "Stickittothemaneosis."|
The good news is that he has published a few more novels since then, some of which have even won awards. He still teaches at UVM. He writes so beautifully -- I just hope he uses his powers for good and not evil.
I'll bet that he is one of the "good ones." I couldn't bring myself to read too much of his political blog, but it's clear that he has been a very busy guy over these past 15 years. I am happy for him and proud of his success, but my initial (admittedly rather baffling) reaction was disappointment. Weird, huh?
I don't understand it myself.