This kid Rudy was careening through the halls, avoiding his chorus class, which he loves. The principal had elected me to police the halls that period because he was in a meeting. The third time I saw him whip past, I was like, “Rudy. You’re kidding me, right?”
“I can’t…” he starts up, grinning, laughing, pleading with his arms. “It’s my aura. It’s telling me where to go!”
Later that afternoon, in another class, the same kid offers his thesis on the theme of “A Black Man Talks of Reaping,” a poem by Arna Bontemps.
“It’s about struggle,” he says, and I’m like, go on…
“The line where he says, ‘my children glean from fields,’ it’s, like…”
I can hear everyone’s eyes roll. They all know the exact moment when Rudy shifts to bullshit mode.
“It’s, like…I picture a man in a field, and he’s workin’, and we’re lookin’ at him, and he’s workin’ hard…and he’s struggling. Yeah,” he says, having hit upon the word “struggle” again. I scratch my chin thoughtfully and knit my eyebrows.
“I’m not convinced. Tell me what about that line invokes struggle for you.”
“THANK YOU,” exhales DeMario. “Nobody ever calls him on it and make him explain hisself.”