Monday, April 14, 2008

Can we talk about this?

During my senior year of high school, my English class spent some time studying poetry. One day in class, we were reading a poem about a woman's husband. He was a hunter, and the poem described the reaction in the natural world as he walked toward his house - rabbits hiding from him in fear and such. When he came into the house, his wife (the narrator) died.

The teacher asked what the poem meant when it said this woman experienced death. Well, I had read romance novels. I raise my hand. The teacher calls on me. "Death is a metaphor for orgasm."

"What!?" sputters the guy sitting behind me.

The teacher gives me a strange look. "That's correct... how do you know that?" How embarrassing. I don't even remember what noncommittal mumbled answer I gave. I guess it's always the quiet ones that surprise people.

Later that week, after a band practice, I overhear this conversation:
Flute player: "Did you know that death is a metaphor for orgasm?"
Clarinet player, blankly: "What's an orgasm?"
Awkward silence from the flute player.

I quickly scurried away, mortified my English class incident had made it all the way around the school gossip line. Looking back on it, though, I'm not sure embarrassment was an appropriate feeling in either of these situations. I've long wondered how that conversation in the band hall turned out.

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