Sunday, April 09, 2006

 

Fred

I mentioned earlier that one of my four readers is my 91-year-old friend and English professor, Fred.

Fred is a bona-fide, word-splitting, bowtie-wearing, British-loving English professor.

My email to Fred announcing the creation of this blog provoked a swift response comprising two single-spaced pages of corrections -- pretty impressive, considering my blog at that point consisted of one page. These corrections came with a personal note, "I will never stop being a g. d. teacher!"

The speed of his response imparted an urgency that I be spared any further embarrassment. I must have sensed this because I dropped what I was doing to make changes.

My subsequent posts evoked a similar flurry of corrections and suggestions. Again, each of these missives bore signs of having been hastily written -- densely-packed paragraphs in lower case with numerous misspellings. Again, I dropped everything to make changes.

Now, these are corrections from a man who has spent most of his life studying, teaching, and writing about the written word at one of the country's most prestigious colleges. He packed classrooms with thousands of appreciative students over the years and gave many of them, including me, their love of Shakespeare, Yeats, and e e cummings.

The corrections on average have exceeded the length of my posts by a factor of two. In the face of such compelling evidence of my inadequacy, I should probably throw in the towel and give the dog a badly needed bath.

But, as I have only four readers -- each of whom are intimately aware of my inadequacies -- the risk of public humiliation is not all that great. Besides, I have already learned a lot from his corrections.

I guess I'll never stop being a g.d. student.

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