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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Problem with Becoming a Polyglot

It may have been noticeable...last semester...my anger at the school system that I found myself locked within. For good reason, I still warrant. As I hope to convey to you. Why do I still complain about what is gone and finished you may ask? Merely because I am not all the way complete with college.

Harding has this grand idea to make all uncerifying English majors become fluent in foriegn languages by requiring them to take a full two years load of world language studies. Well, this sounds as though it is fine and all for the world-traveler such as myself. Those nearly 2 years I lived in Russia, becoming globally aware of the Russian language should surely count. Wrong when you bring it before our beloved institution, the academic university.

Because such global awareness was far from being accredited. I had to dive into America's most annoying lil' cousin language, Spanish. I endured an entire year (last year) of the stuff. I finally got to the level where I could tell the difference between a fajita and a burrito effeciently and could even order a glass of "agua" to go with them both. A year of torture ensued for I was never a stickler for grammar in my language. And that's how all language courses are taught;they immediately propel you towards the incubating lamp of grammatical rules before the egg is even formed. Forget the natural way of learning a language. Concepts and images...the way a child learns. Let's throw in the do's and don't's before a single idea or sense is concieved. That's why in today's world there are so few poets left and way too many computer programmers. Even language has become a science.

Needless to say, after a year of Spanish the greatest thing that I learned was that it was far easier just to point at the Mexican menu and grunt than it is to actually worry about all those cases and conjugations. I you can see, I learned very little.

Then this year rolled around and I fount out that I could graduate by December, a whole semester early, with one option. I would have to double up on the language courses. I greatly feared going into a more advanced Spanish seeing how I probably would have failed Spanish last year if I had had a very strict teacher. So I thought that I would take 2 fresh new languages. They wouldn't let me do this so I was dropped into the 2nd year (no bueno) of Spanish and beginners Italian(Mama mia!).

The result was of this Arabian merchant undertaking was the broadening of neither my Spanish nor my Italian, but of my curse-word vocabulary. Italian was bearable, even fun, for we only learned to count meatballs and talk like mobsters. -But the Spanish;that was the killer. In my advanced Spanish class, I was the idiot who sat in the back that had no idea what was going on or how to say anything. Some days nothing but Italian spouted from my lips. Some days nothing but Russian spoken like a Tolstoy sprung from my tongue. There was never a day that Spanish made its appearance. The teacher taught the class (not me), how to conjugate in 48 bajillion ways and then instructed the class in memorizing the other 58,279 fabillion irregular verbs. I kept waiting for the day that I would walk into class where a large pinata would hang and the teacher would look at me, pointing to the colorful burro and say, " Una Pinata, Brian, Pinata", while handing me a baseball bat.

To make the long, painful story short and pleasant. I passed Italian and even believe that I could talk myself out of swimming with the fishies, if it came down to it. However, my Spanish class I failed miserably like a knight attacking a windmill. So even though I walked, (or flew, if you've seen my video)and even though I'm done with Harding and done with living in Arkansas, I still have to take one measly 3 hour language class of some sort. I wonder what language this time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

My Profound Success

Friends, family, and all beloved readers, I have made the walk and am now a college graduate (actually i have one class to make up before I officially get my degree) but for the most part i'm done with schooling. To sum up my educational journey, I have a clip of the full essence of my own struggles to attain to the position where I am now. I hope you enjoy. It took so much of my education and learning to sharpen my best gifts to be used in the world. Here it is at its finest. The link is http://www.hubuy.com/brian . I must say....look out world here I come.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Graduation Day

Tomorrow I walk. And to sum up my feelings about my entire educational endeavor, I think I am best expressing myself when I write down the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "The Day of the Locusts". Supposedly the story goes, that Bob Dylan was honored by a prestigious university where he was given a PhD for writing the songs that he writes and for being a genius. After the entire ceremony he wrote the following song which is one of my favorites. It's about the state of being bogged down with the cermonial hype and pomp of our educational system, but off in the distance hearing the beauty, wonder, wisdom and call of nature within the sweet rhythms of life itself.

Oh, the benches were stained with tears and
The birdies were flying from tree to tree.
There was little to say, there was no
As I stepped to the stage to pick up my
And the locusts sang off in the distance,
Yeah, the locusts sang such a sweet melody.
Oh, the locusts sang off in the distance,
Yeah, the locusts sang and they were singing for
I glanced into the chamber where the judges were
Darkness was everywhere, it smelled like a
I was ready to leave, I was already walkin',
But the next time I looked there was light in the
Outside of the gates the trucks were
The weather was hot, a-nearly 90 degrees.
The man standin' next to me, his head was
Well, I was prayin' the pieces wouldn't fall on
I put down my robe, picked up my diploma,
Took hold of my sweetheart and away we did
Straight for the hills, the black hills of
Sure was glad to get out of there alive.
And the locusts sang, well, it give me a
Yeah, the locusts sang such a sweet melody.
And the locusts sang with a high whinin'
Yeah, the locusts sang and they was singing for
Singing for me, well, singing for me.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

An Article Straight from the Bison News

So a couple of weeks ago, I got an email from the school newspaper asking me to write them a column. I don't mean to boast but, yeah, it sounded as though they really wanted someone to write a good, entertaining article. Even though, being submerged in writing other papers...I couldn't resist. It took me a little while to find an article topic that would speak to everyone at Harding...but I finally found it within 2 or 3 hours of my deadline. I wrote it and sent it off. It's titled the "Decline of the Hunter". After sending it in, the newspaper people told me that it was too good to just be printed as a mere opinion' s column; they wanted the entire thing to be read, so they waited a week or two and published it as "the" humor column. From what i can tell it was quite a hit. I know for a fact that it was read aloud by teachers to two different classes. To my surprise, some students who I hardly know can even quote my main points in it. So, I decided to allow you, my faithful readers, to be able to read my point on the matter. You may agree or disagree but in reality all that I wanted to do was entertain...so I hope you are given just that.

A tragic epidemic has spread around campus. Girls sit together in intimate circles many nights talking, confused out of their minds, why the typical Harding male does not ask them out. It is my intention to explore these social hang-ups and give you, the reader, a portrayal of the psychology of the sad, repressed male hunter. These are the reasons for our passiveness:

Guys are Pansies…Let’s face it. It’s true. We, men, of the modern era have evolved from our superior war-crying savage ancestors into the sick peevish cowards who fumble pickup lines with frayed flowers. Yes, men can still be some of the most daring reckless risk-takers compared to women when it comes to bombing nations, street brawls, killing insects, and driving through busy intersections. But all of these are dark, gruesome and downright ugly things of the world. However when it comes to beauty; the great warrior whimpers. The white knight retreats. In short, the man becomes a pansy. Nothing is so intimidating to a guy but pure, untarnished beauty. Women seek perfection; but men flee from it. Why touch the hair that looks like it took 3 days of Creation to fix? Hear me ladies, a great work of art must stand by itself. –And it all goes with the thought that if the sweetest, most delicate thing, the female, turns us down then how in the world are we to face and protect you against the uglier things of our ideal world, like black knights and long-mustachioed villains who want to tie you to the train tracks.

Girls have the List…Here I am referring to that special list of characteristics that many girls have in order to search for their ideal mate. “The List” usually refers to phenomenal attributes like “A Christian”, (Of which I heartily agree.) “A Good Listener” (Also understandable), “Likes Kittens” (At this point things get ridiculous). “Has 5 Credit Cards in Which He’ll Let Me Handle All of Them” (Do you see the impossibility we are up against.) It’s not so much that “The List” is bad. There are a lot of good, noble lists out there. It’s just that most guys don’t think in lists. No, we use “The Impulse”. If a girl alarms “The Impulse” then we could have a potential life together. What I’m trying to say is it’s completely illogical for the guy to initiate, when it’s the complex lady who has the list of what she wants and how she wants it. You could argue the same case with all those dating books. Not many guys read those books. The only ones that do read it do so because a girl they like suggested it to them. So if females that have so much preparation in the matter, why are they the ones who get to sit around and do nothing?

Too Much Selection...At Harding we are at a disadvantage. Have you ever been to a huge supermarket while starving? That’s the predicament of the typical Harding male. No doubt he’s starving and no doubt he wants to be filled. But it’s as though he stands there in the center aisle, googled-eyed at the rows and rows of food. His stomach growls and he knows he must purchase something. But what?! Does he go resolutely to the back and pick out a full slab of ribs to be cooked very slowly? Or does he rush over to the snack section and grab a bag of Cheese Curls? Or perhaps he reaches in his pocket and takes out the grocery list that his mother had given him and slowly gathers the ingredients for some awesome chicken casserole. The man’s perplexed, confused, bewildered. He hears the grocery store music play on and feels the pang in his stomach. Images of Twinkies, Pizza Rolls, Celery Sticks, 100% Wheat Bread, No Pulp Orange Juice, etc…all whirl before him and he doesn’t have a clue of where to begin. And then there’s the line! If he did grab all the necessary ingredients for some Fettuccine Alfredo he would have to wait a very long time in, gulp, a line. –And he doesn’t dare open anything before he’s purchased it. That’s against grocery store regulations! It’s all too much. That’s why if I had my way I would go back to arranged marriages.