Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sub Notes: My First Sub Job, Part V

Max possessed two talents that I’ve never seen before or since. The first of these was the ability to say something truly funny in class. Usually if students try to crack a joke, it’s immature. Inappropriate. But this young man kept it appropriate, respectful, and impeccably timed. He was witty. Once after he’d made me laugh, I shook my head. “I can see you being famous someday, Max, but I’m just not sure as what,” I blurted.

“Max can dance,” a girl offered. The others nodded with looks that told me it was impressive. So I asked him if he would perform for my theater class. He shrugged in that way that meant sure, whatever, and we arranged the appointed time.

I still think of those simple words, “Max can dance.” They could not possibly have prepared me. In all fairness, I don’t think any words could have.

There is right now a viral video of a man who is an impressive dancer. I honestly think Max was better. He was a magician. Before my eyes his bones dissolved. He bent in places no human being should bend. His movement wasn’t fluid; he was fluid. He melted and become rubber and elastic and oozing syrup all at once. He was ragdoll, then puppet, then robot, then top. He defied gravity. He glided and floated and flew. He danced with his ears and pores and fingertips. Dance wasn’t something he did, but something he was.

And all the while there was a look of boredom on his face.

I sat dumbly while watching him, though I’m sure my mouth hung open. Because there just were no words. There still aren’t.

The thing with students is this. You always try to find good in them. Sometimes you find wonderful that you never forget, and that is how it was with Max.

He had something going on with his health. I never did find out what, but it made his eyes disturbingly yellow and it made him put his head down sometimes. When I would ask him if he needed to see the nurse, he’d tell me it wouldn’t do any good. He couldn’t go home because he had too many absences. If he missed anymore school, he wouldn’t graduate.

He graduated, and I have wondered about him since. Looked for him—on television, anywhere. Just now I Googled him. I never seem to find anything. I hope somewhere out there he knows. He is special. Many years and thousands of students later, even more so.

(Next week: Part VI)

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Thanks for sharing that story, Tammy. This time, it was a pleasant experience, instead of a scary one.

  2. That'd be cool if you did find him somewhere and hopefully a huge success!

  3. Wow, now that made me feel the extreme teacher in you. This is my favorite... so far. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. On the contrary, Tammy, I think your words brilliantly described this young man. I, too, hope he's found happiness and success with his chosen path in life.

    Critter Alley

  5. That student sounds much more talented than the kid I had who was urged to show me his special talent. He sat down on the floor, put his legs behind his head, and walked on his butt cheeks.

  6. This quote seems strangley appropriate for this talented young man and his struggles with his illness.

    "Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown"

  7. Such an inspirational post. I hope he's doing well. Yellow eyes indicate liver/pancreas problems. To have been touched by him for such a brief time, and to witness the imapct he had on, others is a true joy.

  8. Inspiring! I hope he allowed others to see his talent as he did you. I hope you will find out what happened to him.

  9. Great story. I hope he was able to overcome his physical problems, and that you manage to track him down some day. No doubt he would appreciate you remembering him as a standout in the sea of students.


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