Friday, April 20, 2012

Gods of the Curriculae




Summer is coming.
The rains have fallen, the birds have returned, green shoots are writhing up from beneath the softening ground, and the nighttime sky, far from being overcast, is positively pocked with stars.
Summer is coming.
I can smell the changes in the air, in-between the days of autumnal chill.  The rains are coming, the nighttime storms, the jewel-coloured lightning in blue, red, green, yellow, and silver.  Veins of treasure scrawled out on a velvet background.
Summer is coming.  But it is not here yet.
Long, it seems, have I worshipped at the altar of knowledge.  And, in recent times, I have embarked upon my pilgrimage through the wilderness of Formal Education.  There have I wandered all but aimless, unguided, foundering unfed, seeking in vain a Promised Land of green days and warm summer nights.
Unguided, said I?  No.  For there have been those who have spoken, those who have made themselves known, that I and others with me might hear and understand.  Here within the shadowed halls of Wotsamotta U, I and those with me who have persevered this Exodus have found voices that speak to us, if we dare to listen.  They taunt us, guide us, neither friends nor enemies, seeming as the gods themselves.  And, godlike, they bestow their magnanimity and smiting from beyond the clouds, where they dwell in mystery.
And we call them . . . Proffessors.
* * * * *
Friday, Sunday and Monday I sing of Dignified Gibberish.  Here have I found my Deism.  The professor’s writ is plain, his book huge and bopping, his lectures all pre-recorded years ago, sought out by the faithful on the Internet.  His tests are many, accessed through Angel programs and overseen by his choir of TAs, while he himself rests enthroned to pass final judgment over his creation.  He is not without compassion, and answers the emails shot at him like payers with an alacrity rarely seen among those in the god trade.  Yet though he is benevolent, he will not disturb the balance of the universe he has created, for he has said and will not change his mind.  All must marvel at his mystery.  Indeed, who has seen his face and lived?  His machine is sound, and full of wonder.  I believe in a Clockwork God.
Tuesday I witness Public Shrieking, and the glory I have found therein.  Here my professor is as the Olympians, and she is content to walk among us.  Her rules are few, and undemanding.  Unless you are dedicated to kinslaying or desecration of her altars Elysium is almost assured.  She is my Apollo, my sun god, my archer and my lyre.  Yet, for all the light she shines down upon us, she is not to be taken for granted.  Though she has never turned fleeing maidens into laurel trees, nor driven men to madness, I did witness her wrath when two defilers were sharing answers on a test.  She turned them both into rutabagas.  She turned them back, of course, once class ended.  But though the lady of the pair is seen to this day, resentful as any Medusa, the gentleman dropped the course shortly thereafter.  I don’t think he ever truly recovered.
On Wednesday all must be pure, and bow West to Early History.  Here, boundless and full of fire, the professor guides her followers with crook and flail, with PowerPoint, lecture, and Socratic discussion.  Even when suffering and positively green, always she has been there, with handouts and questions to test and aid our understanding of Truth.  When students are suffering and ill, she answers their pleas with emails of handouts and assignments to guide them.  Always her website has posted copies of the slides from her lectures for study, and when her exams have left us burned with multiple-choice questions too horrific to contemplate, she wraps us in comforting linen, with essays and extra credit as our balm and salve. She is my Osiris, my Sacrificed God, and she does not seek my death, only to guide me where she has gone before.
Thursday is Modern Alchemy, where the prof smites us in his mercy.  It is not necessary to love chemistry to reach paradise, only to live as though we do.  Good thing.  He has likened his course to a marathon run – harder and faster as you reach the end – and, since he competes in long-distance racing, he would know better than most.  There are less than a third remaining in his class now, not quite as many losses as in Dignified Gibberish.  Yet, he has shown us favor, even unto us has he revealed that we few are his Chosen People, for we have not worshipped the golden calf of Withdrawal Forms.  He is my Jehovah, my Alpha-Omega particle, my AC/DC God.  For though he may smite with chemical diagrams, papers, and a fully-comprehensive final . . . lo he has revealed that the final shall be almost entirely multiple-choice.  Hallelujah, my brothers.  Hallelujah.  After Exodus, Caanan awaits.
And on the Sabbath, I rested.
--Coyote.

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