What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Faithful iPhone few

The topic of our in-class discussion was highly controversial: We were hashing out the role of race in today's political scene and trying hard to avoid stepping on any of the hair trigger explosives littering the topic area while remaining relevant and interesting. For some students, this was a germane and current subject. For others, myself included, this was a key part of the course's participation grade.

"We don't call Asian students 'yellow' or Native American people 'red.' Why should we call ourselves 'black?' It's a superficial label that is actually demeaning to our culture and race. That's why we don't like the word 'black.' I am from Moundou, Chad -- well my family is; I was born in Dallas. My family is from Africa and we are African-Americans. That's what we want to be called. Not 'black.'" LaFawnduh, the class' only minority student, was making her attempt at an A in participation. I wanted to ask about "African-Americans" from the Carribean, maybe check and see if Usain Bolt wanted to be called an "African-American," but thought better of it. I am white; asking a question like that would be tantamount to interrogating a woman about her fashion. I was out of my league.

The rest of the class seemed to feel this way and an awkward pause formed over the room. That's when Blake, a poorly adjusted derelict who sits in the back of class, asks mind-numbingly dumb questions and has the face of a Halo addict, made his presence known with an impossibly loud snicker that sounded as if it escaped accidentally despite his intense will to avoid the expulsion. Everyone in the room turned partially to get a better look at Blake, who had gone unnoticed through the first part of the discussion. Blake's face was flushed with effort - presumably because he had been trying hard to avoid laughter - and more blood rushed to his face at his public embarrassment.

"Sorry," Blake apologized but offered no explanation for his stifled laugh.

A few minutes later, I got my chance to participate. "I think black candidates should paint themselves white to fool voters. They could apply some of that skin lacquer like what Marcel Marceau used. Just daub it on really thick like primer. Or all the white candidates could paint themselves black like Robert Downy Jr. in Tropic Thunder. If they did it throughout the electoral season, no voters would be the wiser and we could just evaluate the candidates on their merits and not worry about skin color. Maybe that is Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream."

The class sat still in a sort of stunned silence. Then Blake snickered again. This time I'd been watching. His attention was not occupied by class at all. Far from it, he was responding to something on his iPhone which he had hidden behind the binding of his notebook. Blake's utterance ignited the rest of the class and my participation score was saved by a few seconds of polite laughter.

After class, I asked Blake what he was reading on his iPhone. His response both surprised me and made my afternoon: "Funny Class Notes."

This class nerd and total derelict was laughing in class because of something I or one of my fellow contributors had written. He was reading my blog!

And he was laughing at the contents.

And he didn't feel a need to explain what FCN was - he only had to mention the name of the site.

And by laughing inadvertently, Blake had become a human, Mr. Pickles-esque advertisement for FCN. He was an FCN evangelist!

I didn't tell Blake the role I played in his mirth, but maybe, if he keeps reading this in class, we'll have another special moment in the future.

Oh yes, and Blake may very be our as of yet unidentified twelfth reader. Thanks for reading, Blake!

3 comments:

LadyLurker said...

Hey, hey, hey! I thought _I_ was the 12th reader!

Or am I 13th, and nobody's picked me up?

MEEEE said...

no! I'M the mysterious 12th reader!!

6+6 said...

Sorry to steal your thunder, but I'm the 12th reader.. :P