Friday, August 17, 2007

Some Gratuity

January 26, 1986, I am fifteen and in ninth grade

For the second time. I arrive to Algebra class

Which is a subject I get only because there is

A serious fear of failure, because this is the only

Private school in the whole Kanto region which means

The whole city of Tokyo, which is a pretty vast

Area of foreign property for there to be more than ten

All English speaking schools, and my parents

Are paying a lot of money for me to get away from the base

And “Social promotion” and things like drug abuse.

So I show up to Mr. Scrace’s class at 7:10 am in Yokohama

After having ridden the train for almost two and half

Hours that morning because the only school that will

Take me is also in another city and I have to got on

The train by five and change three trains before I get

To Yokohama where I have to walk a mile

And half up to the top of the bluff before I’m at school.

So Mr. Scrace, this hoary voiced Australian wack job

Of an Expat, if there ever was a boozey stereotype, he was it,

Except he was more dour than drunk and wild

Manish in his attack on stupidity. “look at you all!” he’d shout

After asking for the Z of the X and Y coordinates

He’d just handed out. “A row of cabbages all of you, in a row!”

And honestly I didn’t mind being compared

To a vegetable. I kind of aspired to it anyway. So I come in

And Mr. Scrace says the Space Shuttle just blew up

And I laugh because I’m not really sure what he’s talking

About, but I think it finally sounds kind of cool.

“You think that’s Funny?” Mr. Scrace always seemed to

Have two little balls of white spit salt at either end

Of his mouth, adding that Hermit quality to the unkempt

Rapture of his prophetic beard. And I have to say

I was afraid. Not for the Shuttle, not for the lives lost and

All that other end of innocence crap the Television

People went on and on about. But I was truly afraid for my

Own precarious future. And as you might guess,

Many years fter I was expelled from that private school

I learned that Mr. Scrace also went mad and was

Sent back to some sheep land institution, lost in Australia

Where Sky Lap melted back to Earth. Thank you

Mr. Scrace, for being so genuinely Bat-Shit crazy.

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