I’ve set up a pretty good thing here I think. A nice little forum, well, not a forum exactly, it’s just me. But a soapbox. I’ve got a nice little soapbox here to write about whatever I want and to make people laugh, or imagine to myself that I’m making people laugh, or maybe people are reading this right now and thinking to themselves, “Ha! Rob thinks his stuff is funny? That’s laughable!” And even that, somebody making fun of me, they’re still laughing. So even if they’re laughing at me, not with me, it’s still laughter, and so, haha to you too.
But I could be using this for so much more. I could be standing on top of this soapbox telling people what I really think of them. I could use this to get back at all the people who’ve pissed me off, and I could have the final word. Well, sure, they could always just start their own blog and then respond to me, and so technically, they would then have the final word. But that’s a big if. And even if that were to be the case I could A: choose not to read it and just tell myself that I still have the final word, or last laugh, considering all of that funny business I was talking about earlier, or B: I could just write another final word, the real final word, and keep at it until that other person gives up and stops blogging. But both of those are really unlikely scenarios. I haven’t even singled out anybody for revenge. Not yet. But here it is.
I’ve been waiting to give this one person a piece of my mind for a long time now. One time a few years ago I took this drawing class at some local college. This wasn’t my college, like I had already graduated. I was a working man now, working in some office, professionally surfing the Internet all day. But it wasn’t enough. So I signed up for this drawing class. And it was really cool, a nice little thing that I did for myself where I didn’t have to stare at a computer screen and pretend like I was working on spreadsheets.
Except, there was this one old guy in the class. Like he was really old. He seemed cool at first, and maybe it was even a little inspiring at the beginning. I thought to myself, well, no matter how my life turns out, at least I know, if I someday make it to be an old man, I can at least spend my days still taking drawing classes, enjoying this peaceful setting, drawing stuff. He was probably like the same age as the teacher, maybe a little older, and they always talked to each other before and after class, but he mostly kept to himself.
But then one class, the teacher passed out all of these eight by ten glossies of random people, some celebrities, some people that were maybe celebrities. Some of the photos were maybe just regular people, although I couldn’t be positive that they might not be minor celebrities that I’ve never heard of, or maybe even a celebrity from a different country. Like Bjork. I have no idea what she looks like. She’s from Iceland, right? Whatever. I chose Spock. Not Leonard Nemoy, it was an eight by ten of Spock, pointy ears and everything.
I chose mine right away, because I love Star Trek, like I think it’s the best thing in the world, but I’ll get to that some other time. But because I chose mine so fast, I had to stand back and watch everybody else rifle through all of the headshots, carefully examining each one, thinking to themselves, hmm. Hmmmm. Should I pick this one? Mmmm. Maybe. Or maybe I should pick this one. Hmm. I just can’t pick.
I was watching this for what felt like forever, thinking to myself that the teacher shouldn’t have brought in so many photos. It’s the paradox of choice. The more choices, the harder it is to make a choice. Obviously that only applied to everyone else. I picked mine right away. I told you that already. Anyway, like five minutes into it, this guy my age picks up a photo and says to the teacher, “Who’s this guy?” And I looked, because I was already done picking, and I was just super bored and being really nosey about what photos everyone else was picking. I know, I said that like three times now. I don’t know why I’m so hung up on it. Fastest picker. Big deal, right?
So the teacher goes, “That’s Winston Churchill.” And yeah, Churchill’s pretty famous, kind of a big deal, World War II, crumpets and scones. And that old guy, who was still picking his photo, he just stopped, like frozen still, like I was worried that he was having a stroke or a heart attack. His jaw hung all the way open. I mean, if I relax my jaw, it opens a little bit, but to really extend one’s jaw all the way down, they have to physically move it past its natural resting point. And this old guy had his mouth as open as it could get, like a snake unhinging its jaw, getting ready to swallow something whole.
Finally, after like a really awkward minute or two, he showed some signs of life. “Who’s Winston Churchill?” the old man starting saying, to nobody in general, well, in the teacher’s general direction, but to everybody really. He was saying it out loud. He was definitely getting ready to swallow this guy whole. “Doesn’t know who Winston Churchill is?” getting louder this time. But nobody really engaged him. Nobody responded. Not even the teacher really. She met his gaze, maybe even thinking to herself, yeah, it is kind of strange that this guy can’t recognize Winston Churchill, but whatever, I’m a drawing teacher, not a history teacher, and so I’m not going to make a huge deal about it.
But this old guy was like shaking head back and forth in disbelief. “Churchill …” I would hear him whispering to nobody in particular throughout the course of the class. He totally couldn’t get over it, not even a little. At some level I could maybe see where this guy might be coming from. After all, World War II was a huge deal, and this guy clearly lived through it, so yeah, he might be saying to himself, the biggest most defining period of my entire generation, and this kid can’t even identify Winston Churchill. But that’s where my sympathy ends.
I’m not sure exactly how I saw it at the time, because it was so long ago. I’ve replayed the memory in my head a million times since, and you know how it is when you replay something in your head. Things get added, things get deleted. You automatically make the story more interesting every time. I want to say I recognized Churchill from this guy’s photo, but I’m not sure if I did or if that was the first time I really got a good look at him. I absolutely knew about Churchill. I took all these boring history classes in college. But my textbooks weren’t photo albums. I just read about him. Do I have to know what he looks like? I don’t know what Alexander the Great looks like. I don’t even really know what Lincoln looks like, all I see in my head is that top hat and beard. OK, that’s not true. Everyone knows what Lincoln looks like.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s not some prerequisite to know what historical people looked like. I’ve read about tons of historical people, and I don’t know the first thing about their physical appearances. Anyway that’s not my point either. My point is that if somebody doesn’t know something, he doesn’t know it. Instead of sitting there and making this person feel like an idiot for not knowing it, this old guy should have just let the teacher do her job, educate this guy on who it was, and then sit back and think, well, he didn’t know it, but now he knows it. No, this old guy couldn’t take it. How dare you not know all of the things that I already know? Whereas the teacher’s response was, “That’s Winston Churchill,” this old guy’s response was, “That’s Winston Churchill. You moron.”
And so, old man, if you’re still alive, and you’ve somehow stumbled upon this blog, which is probably highly unlikely, because you’re probably too busy reading really obscure Winston Churchill blogs, I’d like to say to you, you were a real jerk that day. You made it like this guy didn’t even know who Churchill was, when in reality he just didn’t recognize his face, probably because he hasn’t been alive in a while. Do you know what William Howard Taft looks like? If I showed you a photo of Taft would you say to yourself, that’s President Taft? Well, I don’t care if you could or couldn’t. You didn’t have to be such a dick. Churchill wasn’t even American.
I wish I could go back in time and start drawing my drawing really close to this old guy’s drawing, to the point where he might say to me, “Who’s that guy with the long face and the pointy ears?” and I’d say back to him, “That’s Mister Spock, you idiot. Get a TV, you loser.”
Man, this letting it all out, it really felt great. I’ve been holding all of this in for way too long.