Some people think cats rule the universe.
(Pedagogy) Philosophy and Nonsense      
Thoughts about writing, education, and experience                                  Presented by Forrest D. Poston

The first goal of teaching is to strengthen, deepen and refine our intrinsic love of learning. All other goals and all methods must stem from that idea. Any that do not support that goal must at least be questioned and adjusted, if not eliminated. Otherwise, we are not teaching but training.

Cats smile.

Writing and Education

Autobiography Challenge

Considering Conclusions

Considering Introductions

Four Meanings of Life

Godot and the Great Pumpkin

A Major is More Minor Than
You Think

The Poetry Process (A look at 4 versions of a poem.)

Thoughts About Picking a Major

Quick Points About Education

Quick Points About Writing

Reading Poetry and Cloud Watching

Revising Revision

Reviving Experience

Reviving Symbolism

Using an Audience


What Makes a Story True?

What's the Subject of This Class? (Being revised.)

Why Write?

Writing and Einstein (The Difference Between Information and Meaning)

Writing and the Goldilocks Dilemma

Links to Other Sites
The Hair Connection and the Nature of Choices
by Forrest D. Poston

 Family and high school friends have often asked why I decided to let my hair grow.  Decide?  Sure, it was my life, and I was particpating in it, but that doesn't mean there was a decision. That makes me start to wonder how many things we decide, and how many we just create bit by bit until we wake up and find the matter long settled without intent, decision, or even a clue.

     Of course, as long as I lived at home, it wasn't my decision.  When Dad said go to the barber, I went.  If he said go back, I went back.  That was fine because I had no real interest in the length of my hair.  As long as it wasn't like when a new barber came to town when I was about six.  For the next several weeks, every kid in the neighborhood wore a hat, and since I was a younger brother, my black cowboy hat got appropriated.

     When I eventually moved away from home, I didn't decided to prove my independence by growing long hair.  I was busy, broke, and lazy, and probably still a bit paranoid about letting a stranger wave sharp objects around my head.  The hair grew while I wasn't paying attention.  Then there was the time I shaved too quickly and cut myself just above the upper lip.  While that was healing, a moustache grew.  Okay, the rest of the beard was my choice.  After all, it went well with the long hair and moustache.  It also meant saving money on razors and shaving cream.

     And I starting getting noticed in ways that never happened in high school.  Sure, shyness and plaid polyester hadn't helped back then, and I was ready to take what attention I could get.  Of late, when I hear, "My, you have lovely hair," I turn and find a great-grandmother type with blue hair, but a compliment is a compliment.  Even more fun is when a young sales clerk comes up from behind and says, "Can I help you, m'am?"  I turn a little slowly, drop my voice to the lowest register I can manage and answer, "Why yes, thank you."  Then I smile a little more for each shade of red they achieve.

     Also, back in high school, no one ever said that I reminded them of anyone.  I was just the guy in polyester and wearing those black plastic glasses long before Charlie Sheen made them cool.  Students have compared me to Jesus, and to John the Baptist, probably on a day when my hair was expressing its more willful side.  They may have hoped that such comparisons would result in a higher grade, but that probably didn't motivate the student who compared me to former cult leader David Koresh.  As I've gained weight, comparisons with Jerry Garcia have become more frequent.  It seems to happen most often when going through the drive-thru at any Rally's restaurant. I don't know what the connection is between Garcia and Rally's, but there may be a connection with the weight gain.

     Today, a cashier said that I looked like the offbeat scientist in Independence Day, not the Jeff Goldblum character.  She meant the guy who gets strangled, another whimsical hair day for me.  I have enough ego to keep my hair long while it still gets attention, but now one of my goals is to someday be compared to a living person, or at least someone who died at a ripe, even over-ripe, old age.

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Back to the Home Page

Other Essays and Poetry

Something Somewhat Vaguely Like a Resume

Being Like Children

The Blessing and the Blues

The Cat With a Bucket List

David and the Revelation

The Dawn, the Dark, and the Horse I Didn't Ride In On (an odd, meandering, semi-romantic story)

Ghost Dancer in the Twilight Zone

The Hair Connection and the Nature of Choices

The Mug, the Magic, and the Mistake

Trumpet Player, USDA Approved



Selected Poems

The Poetry Process

Writing by Current or Former Students

Ms. Write Meets Her Match in Jr. Ms. Write Now
by Heide Perry

I'll Just Have Cats
by Cara Hummel

Toys to Toys
by Allyson Bowlds

Scribbles and Bits

Links to Other Sites