02 March 2013

Drew: Fucked Without a Kiss

Andrew Dillon, Photo courtesy of Flagler College Alumni Association

We called him Drew-- but only behind his back.  My English professor had an insane cackling laugh.  Uncontrolled, but bright and honest.  People who laugh with restraint are not to be trusted.  He was a poet, mostly.  Volkswagen Breakdown and other Poems.

Had a tiny Olivetti on his desk when he talked me out of taking grammar and explained the etymology of 'fuck' when I used it in his presence. "It means to beat or wail upon," he said. "Old German. Walked by a man painting the Markland house - Suppose he screwed up - He  leaned back from his work and said, 'Fucked without a kiss.'

A Manhattan physician's son,  born and raised on Park Avenue,  he lived the good life. He passed around a first folio of Shakespeare to my class and made sure we held the pages up to the light to see the watermarks.  He was tall, thin and ass-less with Waspy good looks and a bearing that bordered on queer to cultural morons.  Christ, I adored the motherfucker.

But he didn't adore me.  He didn't even remember me at a 10 year re-union until he connected me to my sister and said, "She was an amazing writer. (Snapping his finger) Now I remember!  You were in the Army!  Yes?  I remember you.Your writing was covered in camouflage." 

"Peace, perturbed spirit!"

He did tell me I didn't need to know grammar to write and those who did know grammar couldn't write.  He was my guide through: Survey of English Lit I & II, Milton,  Chaucer and Shakespeare. He'd laugh with that ribald cackle, "Horns! Horns! He was a cuckold..." Then he explained what a cuckold was. He explained what Richard III was.  He explained what the Carpenter's Wife in Canterbury Tales was.  He explained why Hamlet was driving me crazy while  my parent's divorced.

Rumpled corduroy shirt and white wine swilling,
 "Fuck you, (hope I got the grammar right)  Drew..."  
You don't remember who I am,
 but how will I ever forget you?

9 comments:

M.Lane said...

What a fascinating character!

ML

Anonymous said...

Much beloved and admired. He didn't remember me either. ME

greatzamboni said...

And now he'll help you understand Hamlet's ghost. Great post.-z

Smitty said...

A very moving tribute Tintin.

Oyster Guy said...

Beautifully done, Tin.

There is nothing quite like the good English Lit teacher or prof anywhere else in academia. The one quality that marks the breed seems to be a limitless generosity of spirit.

LPC said...

You do know that we High WASPs have ZERO understanding of our impact? Of how in any way someone might iconify us?

Maybe all sub-cultures feel that way. I dunno. I think in mine it's about verbal fluency that feel like an imperative.

Smitty said...

@LPC
I think it's a John Keating thing from Dead Poets Society.

Julia said...

It's hard to get too far in life without a few good teachers, or at least someone outside your family pointing you in a positively-advised direction. I was lucky, and it sounds like you were too.

GSV JR said...

Savage writing, bud.