5.18.2009

Prerequisites

[I'm reluctant to post anything new because my last twelves posts have been so incredible. Don't miss them -- comments still being accepted!]

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I typed this up today while I was really really bored. It's a list I'd give any student who came to me if I was a guru. I would refuse to bother with them until they had ingested all of this. All of it:
Prerequisites

Albert Camus playing goalie for the Algerian national soccer team. Your own astrological sign. Albert Hoffman riding his bicycle. Dispensing Easy Cheese. Working for under $8.00/hr. Something about the brutal death of Rasputin. Picasso’s Guernica. The Tamil Tigers. Pythagoras’ theorem. How to figure batting average. That black-and-white of the naked Vietnamese girl, napalm in the near distance. The song, “Row, row, row your boat.” A little bit of Spanish. The verses of the Diamond Sutra. The ability to swim in open water. Recognizing Toucan Sam and Tony the Tiger. One fact about the Ganges river. The outlines of Jean Valjean’s story. Pol Pot. How to unhook a bra with one hand. The story about Hitler’s rejection from art school. “Laying out.” The story about the television debate between JFK and Nixon. All the words to Don McLean’s “American Pie.” The opening sentence of Moby-Dick. The difference between an equinox and a solstice. The train-station metaphor for the theory of relativity. Being in a wedding. The square root of 225 without showing your work. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start. Having a favorite episode of Seinfeld. The first five American presidents and the last five. The board game, “Life.” The memory of chatrooms. A good guess about how many Jews were killed in the holocaust. A working theory concerning the Great Depression. Watching The Matrix. The phrase “illegal downloading.” Helping friends move. Wearing Birkenstocks or flip-flops. Going to a professional sporting event. Trimming your pubes at least once. Not loving M. Night Shyamalan’s endings. Breaking a bone or needing stitches. The year twenty-twelve. Who Meadowlark Lemon played for. Knowing what Shostakovich was famous for. Where Luther posted his theses. About the green M&Ms. And Yellow No. 5. The memory of putting the chain back on your bike. Trying Thai food for the first time. What good blood pressure numbers look like. The ability to name the eight or nine planets in order starting closest the sun. The ability to identify a modernist skyscraper. A trip to another country. Using a graphing calculator. Taking a train. Having read at least one of Shakespeare’s plays. Smoking a joint. Rembrandt in the MET. Internet porn (hard & soft). Indiana Jones. The memory of French-rolling your jeans. Trying to pray or meditate. Crying until your head throbs when you’re not alone and older than 18. Cutting the grass. Eating cold Pop-Tarts. “Up All Night” with Rhonda Shear. The names of The Beatles. Bowling better than 150. Taking stuff to Goodwill. Basic understanding of the theory of supply and demand. The names of at least two different antidepressant drugs. John 3:16. Remember reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Hungry Hippos. Admitting you were wrong about an idea. At least glancing at the Communist Manifesto, if not reading it. Something about: Ty Cobb, Leopold & Loeb, Kevin Arnold, and Easy E. The names of three geographical features (e.g., peninsula). The name of any character on Friends other than the original six. Standing in line at the DMV. An outdoor concert. Getting a “C” in a class. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The words to one of James Taylor’s songs. The questionable use of a condom, during sex or otherwise. Mozzarella sticks. Spraining an ankle. The name of the Japanese currency. The name of one of Hulk Hogan’s WWF rivals. Owning Velcro shoes. A good guess about how long ago the earliest cave paintings ever discovered were painted. A distinct 9/11 memory. Seeing an open casket. Jimi Hendrix’s National Anthem. The photograph known as “Earthrise.” The Branch Davidians. Volunteering because you have to, at least once. Dissecting an animal. Skimming text to find your own name. Painting your face. Sinking a three-pointer. A mug of good green tea.

Think of this as preparation for my next post, which is going to be about the necessity of things like authority and expertise (and maybe even "discipline") and the psychological and social benefits of authentic self-cultivation. A post that I will title, "The Student-Centered Civilization and the Problem of Real Selfishness," or something like that.

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