Curtsy

Curtsy: (n) a respectful bow made by women and girls

I cannot officially report that the stigma ever went away.

I think it passed after a couple of years—but Glenn certainly carried the sniff of it all through his general education days in our small town.

It all happened quite innocently.

For some reason, our high school decided to have a square dance for homecoming.

One of the teachers, our Spanish instructor, was quite the proponent of square dancing, and apparently made a case to the other teachers—how “cute it would be” for a bunch of high school students to participate in the old form of hoofing.

I remember that learning the square dancing was particularly mind-numbing, partly because it was so abstract to my adolescent mind, and also because I thought it looked like some of the stupidest shit I’d ever seen.

But the worst part was when we took one whole day—yes, an entire school period—to learn how to bow and curtsy.

Because somewhere in the process of doing this ridiculous dance (that should have been killed off with the rest of Dixie) there is a lot of this bowing and curtsying nonsense.

So each one of us had to come forward and show off our best bow, if you were a boy, or best curtsy, if you were a girl.

At first, the reluctance in the room hung like moss from trees.

But when the threat of extending the lesson into yet another day was put forth, we all realized we needed to get through this quickly and efficiently, so we became filled with (fake) enthusiasm, which nearly brought our Spanish teacher/square dance aficionado to tears.

Because we were trying to be exuberant, and even a little madcap, when Glenn took his turn–because the girl in front of him had just curtsied–his brain apparently froze and he did a curtsy also.

The room grew still.

Our teacher/instructor was so offended that Glenn was “mocking” her that he ended up being sent to the principal’s office.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Being teenage boys, we made the assumption that unbeknownst to Glenn, his body was screaming from some homosexual prison to be free.

And in doing the curtsy, he was manifesting his real desire, which was to be a fag. (This was long before “gay.”)

Even as I write this, I realize how ridiculous it sounds. But so did everything else I thought when I was fifteen.

Glenn later went out for the football team–probably to prove he was a man.

I think he expressed disdain for girls (like the rest of the macho locker-room gang) just so nobody would think he was “overly sensitive.”

Glenn had to be careful when we showered after gym class—not to cast his eyes in the direction of any fellow. So normally he sat on the bench, quietly dressing and staring into his locker.

This is why I can tell you of a certainty, through this tragic story of Glenn, that the curtsy is mighty dangerous.

 

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Bow

Bow: (v) to bend the knee or body or incline the head

“Every knee shall bow.”Dictionary B

When revivalists get all worked up and have a hankerin’ to preach, they love to pontificate on the notion that someday the world will be destroyed and the remaining rebellious humans who have not been slaughtered in a meaningless conflict will view a Jesus Christ arriving in the eastern sky, and at the sight of his august appearance, be driven down to their knees in reverent worship.

Some find it interesting.

Actually, it’s terrifying.

To write a book that begins with a gentle creation and ends with a third of the Earth being mutilated by weapons of mass destruction hardly seems a storyline worthy of a true Creator. If I wrote such a piece, I would deem it misled, angry and hopeless, and wad it up and throw it away.

So on those occasions when I find myself bowing, it is in the direction of an untold story lying within the plotline of the favored evangelical rendition, in which God’s love for the world is so intense that eventually we grow tired of our stupid attempts at meanness and revenge and simply relinquish our egos in the presence of a redeeming love.

 

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Archer

dictionary with letter A

Archer: (n) a person who shoots with a bow and arrows, especially at a target for sport.

When I was growing up, the pursuit of sports in my home was very seasonal–not in the sense of baseball in the summer and football in the fall, but rather, attention span.

My father and brothers developed interests in activities, and always would find a “good deal” on equipment relating to this endeavor, which they would purchase, only to discover that the materials were inferior, which made it impossible to adequately perform the task.

  • We bought a canoe that leaked.
  • We had some water skis that were cracked and fell apart the first time someone got on them in the water.
  • We had a basketball hoop that was supposed to be easy to set up in your driveway which never got higher than four feet.

Likewise, while watching Robin Hood one day on the television set, my older brother wanted to purchase a bow and arrows. My father thought it was “a champion idea.”

So with no understanding whatsoever of archery, they set out to the local hardware store, where the proprietor sold them one of his old bows and six arrows for “a really good deal.”

Without exaggerating, I will tell you that it took them two weeks to learn how to string the bow. The amount of energy it took to bend the bow for stringing nearly crippled their comprehension. The power required to pull the bow back, to shoot the arrow even two feet, was also extraordinarily daunting.

But after a couple of months, they convinced themselves they were experts on the subject and took me out to the woods to try my hand at shooting at a target.

I hated it immediately.

It took too much energy to pull the string, and because the bow was bent from the numerous attempts to manipulate it to our will, the arrows flew crooked, more resembling boomerangs.

After about the sixth attempt, they were ready to have a competition, to see who could hit the target the most often.

My dad stood ten feet to the side, away from the target, so he could give instruction to my brother and myself to make the competition more interesting.

I pulled back the bow and was ready to shoot it when my dad piped up and said, “No, Jonathan! Use more of your thumb!”

Not understanding what he said, I turned towards him in order to be respectful to his instruction, and as I did I slipped and released the arrow, which flew through the air, knocking his hat off.

It was William Tell without the apple.

My dad never said anything about it, but we quickly packed up the gear and it was stored from that point on, in the garage … next to the half-water ski.

 

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