Yes, later it’s explained that Rod Jones played in the NFL, but you can’t count on the reader knowing that. (I didn’t.) And then, what if they don’t follow the jump? How many people now think this kid is fleeing an abusive father? Just changing “hit” to “tackled” would have fixed it.
This is the kind of shit a copy desk exists to catch. Good idea getting rid of them, newspapers.
I ought to know better than to make promises about writing in here. Not like anyone’s calling me on it, not even the dude who used to harrass me about just writing if I wanted to. It ain’t that simple, dude — I’ve had a few things going on. First there was the paper, which I talked about Monday and which I finished and turned in so it’s all good. Then we’re working on another house, which I don’t really want to discuss before we’re signed and in so as not to jinx it.
And then yesterday I learned a friend was killed in a work accident.
He worked in road construction, and was trying to direct a dump truck to go to another site entrance. The driver never saw him.
And I guess that’s what’s making this hit me so hard. It’s not the first time some I care about has died — not even the first time this year. And I’ve been close to death — I was holding my grandfather’s hand as he breathed his last. But to lose someone for no reason — a young guy, perfectly healthy — to have him die and to have it be totally senseless and without any warning … it’s unfair, it’s horrifying, it’s fucked up.
Naturally, now I feel like a dick for being excited about the house thing. What’s worse, I was going to ask this friend for guidance and services fixing the driveway if we got it. Sure, this is a guy who would do anything for his friends, but how am I sitting here thinking about getting his help with my stupid crap when he’s just been lost in this gruesome accident?
Plus I haven’t even spent any appreciable time with him since baseball season ended. So I didn’t even get a recent conversation with him. There’s no way you can ever say goodbye for something so unexpectedly otiose, but to have not even talked recently? Why didn’t I call him? Why didn’t I mention the house personally rather than letting my stepdad do it? At least hear his voice and maybe get some of my excitement on him, share it so he knew I cared enough to do so.
You know that cliche about not waiting to tell someone you love them? Cliches arise for a reason — it’s because they’re true. You never know when some bullshit is going to happen and it’ll be too late.
We’re all mad, sad, upset, disbelieving, frustrated, and low, when we know we should be celebrating his life and the great things he always did for everyone. And we’ll get there. It’s just hard, knowing he can’t do them anymore and there’s no good reason why.
If I had one piece of advice for those of you considering a return to college after years in and out of the work force and having started a family, it would be to go back in time and kick yourself in the nuts for not doing it before you actually had, like, responsibilities. Seriously, what the hell, fifteen-years-ago-I-never-want-to attend-another-second-of-school me? If I’d just done the grad degree then and faced my destiny of becoming a teacher instead of acting like I could just walk away, both my life now (with the MA in the bag) and my completion of the degree then (without small people needing me to keep them alive in between paragraphs) would have been cakewalks.
But if you asked me for a realistic piece of advice, it would be to try to avoid getting the 70+ former high school English teacher who is essentially auditing the class as your peer review partner. You thought it was a pain in the ass doing someone else’s group work in undergrad? Wait until your class contribution is dependent upon evaluting the independent work of a dude with an extra half-century of don’t-give-a-fuck.
The next piece of advice I’d give would be not to give this dude your phone number. If you do this, rather than simply writing a commentary of your work and e-mailing it (like we do in the 21st century) (like the professor ASKED we do) he will call you three times in rapid succession while you are trying to shower.
The first call I ignored. But when the phone rang again right away, I started to worry, as one does when one has kids that are not currently in one’s presence. So I got out of the shower and checked the number — not one I recognized, but a local area code. While I was holding the phone, it rang again. So, by now thinking my daughter was sick or in trouble at school, I answered it.
"Rick? I’m ready to review your paper now."
So here I stand, naked and clammy, listening to Stand and Deliver pointing out every time I’ve attributed a reading with merely a page number for twenty minutes. Which, by the way, is appropriate MLA style, which is what the English department wants.
Have I reviewed his paper yet, you ask? Well, we have class in fourteen hours and he still hasn’t sent it to me. But it’s all good — I expect to get a phone call any minute and have Dangerous Minds read it to me in my sleep.
Man, I’m really bad at this blog-every-week deal. Out of practice, I guess. I’m going to try to write one long post daily this week and see if it jump-starts my groove.