Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 11: Wife's Surgery, Classic Saint Marty, "War Story"

The day before my wife's surgery.  It's gray and rainy.  Earlier this afternoon, I mowed my lawn, because I don't know when I will have the opportunity to do it in the next week or so.  I have a feeling that the next few days are going to be very hectic.

So, I am trying to relax some today.  I will watch the Tony Awards tonight.  (I checked.  They are actually on tonight.).  Then, early tomorrow morning, I will drive my wife to the hospital.  I have to be honest:  I am a little worried.  I know she is going to be fine.  She has a first-rate surgeon and will receive great care.  However, I can't help myself.  Her life is going to be in other people's hands.

So, I'm asking anybody who reads this post to say a prayer for her tonight.

Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired four years ago, when I had different worries and concerns.

June 11, 2013:  English, Books, Prayer of the Week

...They said they were schoolteachers and that they'd just come from Chicago and that they were going to start teaching at some convent on 168th Street or 186th Street or one of those streets way the hell uptown.  The one next to me, with the iron glasses, said she taught English and her friend taught history and American government.  Then I started wondering like a bastard what the one sitting next to me, that taught English, thought about, being a nun and all, when she read certain books for English.  Books not necessarily with a lot of sexy stuff in them, but books with lovers and all in them...

Holden meets these two nuns in a diner, and he strikes up a conversation with them.  He learns they are schoolteachers, obviously.  The one who teaches English starts asking him questions about books and plays he's studied.  Of course, being a teenage boy, he mind drifts toward sex.  Holden's mind almost always drifts toward sex.  He wonders how a nun who teaches literature deals with the "sexy" material.

It really doesn't matter if you're a nun or Brad Pitt.  If you're an English teacher, students feel uncomfortable discussing things of a sexual nature in a classroom.  I've been teaching college-level English students for over twenty years, and I can say, without a doubt, that, even though sex is on all their minds, they don't want to talk about it.  It's like the elephant in the room that everybody's ignoring.  That's one of the challenges of teaching young adults.

I love teaching.  I love the hormonal intricacies of young minds.  I love making students see things they've never seen before.  I taught a class a year or so ago called Good Books.  I chose books that all focused on mental illness.  We read about bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and the history of the medical treatment of mental illness in the United States.  It was a great class.  In fact, I would rank it as the best class I've ever taught.  I could actually see the changes in my students' attitudes and thinking.  It was exciting.

I would love to teach full-time at the university.  It's my dream job.  I've been doing it part-time for most of my adult working life.  I don't do it because it pays so well (it doesn't).  I don't do it for the glory (there isn't any).  I do it because I can make a difference in the world.  That may sound corny, but it's what I truly believe.  I can open minds and change people's ideas.  There's nothing better than that.

So, my prayer of the week is about teaching.

Dear God,

Yeah, I know.  You're getting tired of hearing from me.  But You did say that You'd always listen if I wanted to talk.

Well, You know I how I feel about teaching.  You know it's what I've wanted to do full-time for as along as I can remember.  I'm just asking if You could help me out a little bit here.  I'd like some job opportunity to open up at the university.  You don't have to kill one of the poets a week before classes start in the fall.  I don't want anything catastrophic to befall anyone.  I would just appreciate a few little miracles.

Here's what I need:  some publications, some awards in writing contests, and a full-time teaching assignment.  On the scale of miracles, those are pretty small, when You think about it.  The Israelites needed You to part the Red Sea and write some commandments down on stones.  All I'm asking for is an itty, bitty little job at a university.

Thanks for hearing me out.  I know You've got my back, no matter what, so I'll try not to worry (even if my job at the hospital gets eliminated).  You are the God of enough.  You've always given me and my family enough to get by.  I trust You.  Like I have any choice.

Your child,

Saint Marty

It's all about trust

And a poem for tonight . . .

War Story

by:  Martin Achatz

My wife wants to have her breasts cut off.
After babies and breast feeding and mothering,
She wants a surgeon to remove them,
Like infected tonsils or a mole gone black.

She waits for her breasts to attack her,
To fill up with tiny concentration camps
Spilling ash into her blood.
In the dark, she presses her fingers
Around her nipples, into the soft tissue,
Searching for Nazis.

I want to tell her that she's fine,
She's worrying for nothing.
Yet, in the early morning, I know
She hears her mother's last breath again,
Cutting the night in two
                        Like a freight train.

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