Focus on: Walruses and Whales

I know everyone is anxious to find out what object I’ve chosen to use in some of my photographs on the cruise.  But first, I must fill in some background.  It all begins in high school with an English assignment following our reading of Moby Dick. My friend,  Kathi and I, were in an accelerated English program, which more or less meant that they made it up as the went along.  At the time of this assignment, we were being taught by a student teacher who allowed us to choose whatever we wanted to do for our assignment.

We decided, as the creative geniuses we thought we were, to write a parody of Moby Dick. As crazy as we were creative, we named our book Doby Mick.  Doby Mick being a walrus rather than a mighty whale with an attitude.

Let me preface the following;  This book was  a work of fiction, any resemblance of characters to persons living or dead is purely intentional, I mean, coincidental.

.First, we needed a protagonist and we couldn’t think of anyone more capable of causing agony than our very own lead English teacher.  For with her malicious red pencil she would slash and burn her way through our compositions as if she was leading Sherman’s March through Georgia.  She would then place the offending paper on the overhead projector and it would appear on the wall ten feet tall (or so it seemed to the hapless writer).  The agony would continue as the paper was further critiqued by the erstwhile teacher and the doomed author of the piece longed only for the floor to open and swallow her. Despite her best efforts, however, she did not deter me from writing, as is obvious to anyone reading my posts.

. We named the pencil Herman, and being a pencil, he could write and therefore was chosen to begin the book with the line, “Call me Herman.  Only I have survived to tell thee the tale.”  We chose the name Professor Roberts, later to be known as Captain Roberts for our protagonist and to.to round out the crew, we scrambled the letters in our student teacher’s last name and he became Kokonets Quomodo, the captain’s cannibal friend (more about this later).

The book was exciting and topical, drawing in information learned in our other classes as well.  For instance, the ship was named the Peapod (we were learning about Gregor Mendel, the founder of the study of genetics, and his research cultivating pea plants).  In their quest for Doby Mick, the Peapod comes up against Scylla and Charybdis (Grreek Mythology). and finally,on Shakespeare’s birthday, they encounter Doby Mick. The great battle ensues and  you’d have to read the book to find out how it ends, but suffice it to say you could (If you don’t have a life, that is) read Moby Dick — it’s a close copy.

Unfortunately, one of the writers who shall remain nameless, loaned the only copy of the book  ( Hey, this was 1970, folks, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, in the age before computers, home printers and copy machines.) to a classmate who failed to return it. If anyone out there has that copy write a comment and let me know.  I’d love to have it back,but realize it is probably long gone.  All that remains is our two page synopsis.  Such a loss to the world of literature.

Needless to say, we received an A for our efforts, but were advised to put it in a locked trunk in our attic by our somewhat embarrassed student teacher.  You see, it wasn’t until he was reading parts of our novel out loud to the class that he realized who Kokonets Quomodo was based on. The realization was evident in the flush of red that began at his collar and worked its way up his face.  Thus the” lock it in your attic” comment.  He survived his year with us and actually came back the next year as a fully fledged teacher.  If he could survive us, he could survive anything!

IAnd now for the big reveal,.  If you haven’t guessed already,  Doby Mick himself will accompany me to Alaska.  He wants to meet a humpback whale.  And so do I.

Doby Mick

Herman

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