There was this one time during my freshman English class that our professor showed us a National Geographic cover. On the cover were two Indian women (probably a mother and daughter). The older woman was dressed in conservative Indian clothing; the younger woman was dressed in leather with dark eyeliner. The younger woman was leaning casually on her mother's shoulder. My professor showed us the picture and gave us one simple instruction: write about this picture. That's all he said, "Write about this picture." Invoking my creative muse I began to write furiously. After we finished writing, our professor asked us to share our papers with a group of our peers that were sitting near by. I was excited to share my glorious story and equally excited to hear what others wrote. After I listened to my first "peer" share her paper, I sank low in my seat longing to possess the superpower of morphing into other objects, like the floor or a desk or Britney Spears (pre-K-fed).
I listened as my peers read their dissertations on generational conflict or multi-cultural values or the history of leather in India. Every paper sounded like a submission to MENSA. I looked down at my sorry excuse for a writing assignment and considered faking a tourret's episode. It soon became my turn to share my response. I took a deep breath and began:
"It was really hard to accept the fact that my daughter was leading a double life as Cat Woman."
That's right, while everyone else was comparing and contrasting Indian family dynamics with that of Uzbekistanian families, I was writing a juvenile piece on a character from Batman. I could feel the shifting, questioning eyes of my peers. I could feel the sweat gathering on my top lip (and on my forehead, back and earlobes). After I finished, one guy said, "That was interesting." Yup, that WAS interesting. I'm sure it was the first time my peers had seen Forrest Gump personified in the form of a female.
Yup, and I'm teaching the youth of America.