The occasion was a visit with my friend, Matt. Great guy. Fantastic writer. Foodie extraordinaire. He just got back into town from his summer book tour. We talked about books and rodent phobias and Ferguson, Missouri. We dished about the upcoming semester at the university. Matt and I share a similar take on higher education (that it's full of elitist, privileged babies). He has been lucky enough to get a full-time, tenured position in academia, but he doesn't ever lose sight of his roots. (He spent years working in the food industry before he went to college.)
Maybe it's the alcohol in my brain, but I find myself contemplating the reality of my life. I don't think I will ever get hired to teach full-time at the university. After 18 years of contingent teaching, I could fall off the roof of the science building and nobody in the English Department would notice. (I might get a bouquet of flowers and a nice card.) It's a difficult realization. I really thought hard work and dedication would get me somewhere. It hasn't.
So, perhaps I shouldn't drink beer. Or perhaps I shouldn't ponder reality. Or perhaps I shouldn't dream of a better life. Let me ask E. B. White:
Should I dream of a better life?
And his answer this evening is:
"It's about Fern," she explained. "Fern spends entirely too much time in the Zuckermans' barn. It doesn't seem normal. She sits on a milk stool in a corner of the barn cellar, near the pigpen, and watches animals, hour after hour. She just sits and listens."
Dr. Dorian leaned back and closed his eyes.
"How enchanting!" he said. "It must be real nice and quiet down there. Homer has some sheep, hasn't he?"
Yeah, Fern is a dreamer, and Dr. Dorian doesn't see anything wrong with that. In fact, he seems to envy Fern. Sitting in a barn, by the manure pile, talking to pigs and geese and cows and spiders.
Maybe Saint Marty still has a few dreams left.
|Doesn't mix with dreams|
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