AMERICA

AMERICA
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dichotomy

OK! I won't make you look that one up in a dictionary.
It means:  Something that appears to be one thing. But is either something opposite or unexpectedly different from what it appeared to be.
The dictionary says:
Etymology: Greek dichotomia, from dichotomos
1 : a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities ; also : the process or practice of making such a division
2 : the phase of the moon or an inferior planet in which half its disk appears illuminated
3 a : bifurcation; especially : repeated bifurcation (as of a plant's stem) b : a system of branching in which the main axis forks repeatedly into two branches c : branching of an ancestral line into two equal diverging branches
4 : something with seemingly contradictory qualities

Well this word, Dichotomy, is the story of my life. People take one look or listen at me and assume that they know all there is to know about me. In Grammar School I attended a Catholic School. Right in the middle of "The Bible Belt" of The Coastal Plains of North Carolina. I wore a white button down dress shirt, dark blue pants and a blue neck tie to school, everyday since first grade. And since I walked to and from school everyday, I was forced to run a gauntlet of local public schoolers who thought that because I was dressed like a nerd, they could bully me around. But, I had learned to use my hands to inflict great discomfort from one of the cruelest people God had ever let draw breath. So these bumpkins were in for a lesson. But whenever I showed up at home with with grass stains or blood on my clothes, I was in trouble for "playing in my school clothes."
In the 4th grade a Jesuit Priest taught me how to question authority. Especially dogmatic authority. And despite what you may think! Not any of the priests I knew or met where molesters. I was a choirboy, an altarboy and a boyscout at the local Catholic Church. And no one ever approached me in an unethical manner. But the Jesuit had no idea what mentality level lay behind the blue eyes he had empowered. And when I couldn't find suitable answers to the questions I had. I rejected my faith and turned to science. When I transferred to the government school, I should have gone to the 7th grade. But for reasons unknown to me still, they put me in the 6th grade. The public school 6th graders were learning science and history and math at levels I had mastered in the 3rd grade. So I was branded a nerd by my class mates and a troublemaker by my teachers.
When a friend asked me to go to a Baptist Church with his family one Sunday. I immediately remembered the words of Sister Anastasia. "If you ever go to a Protestant Church you will burn in Hell for eternity." So when I crossed the threshold of the Narthex and I didn't burst into flames, I was greatly relieved. But on that day, I also found out that Catholics weren't Christians anyway. The Pastor said it in the pulpit. And the teacher echoed it in the Sunday school later that day. Well who was that person hanging on the cross in the Catholic Church? Who had died for my sins? Who was that guy? So I rejected all religion. To me, God remained the the Everlasting Creator of the universe. But, my opinion of "religion" was echoed in the declarations of Marxist Philosophy "Religion is the opiate of the masses."
And long before the Beatles invaded America with their mop-top hair dos, I was wearing hair down to my collar in complete rebellion to the self inflicted haircuts my father forced on me as a Marine brat. It had nothing to do with politics or rejection of my country. And when I went to a high school in the sticks, I really got a dose of prejudice. To the teachers I was the embodiment of evil incarnate. But since I was a straight "A" student they could only accuse me of cheating. I was forced to retake exams and rewrite papers with supervision. My biology teacher was particularly accusing. He was dumbfound that I could just stare into space while he recited the science book, which I had already memorized before the first week of class, and still Aced his tests and pop-quizzes. So we would go to the principal's office and I would take another exam, written for just such an occasion, with Mr. Dizney and a Secretary watching.
And while this was annoying. It was nothing compared to the crap I got from the boys in the AG Shop. The teachers who taught Carpentry classes were all three missing fingers. So imagine me wanting to learn how to use a band saw from those guys. Not very likely. And almost every white male student was a member of the local neo-Nazi youth club. And they all wore the uniform. A royal Blue corduroy jacket with an Organizational Patch on the back. The patch was a sun gold yellow bisected ear of corn with the letters "FFA" emblazoned in the center. Most of the time between classes and lunch, they congregated outside the AG Shop building, smoking cigarettes and building the  "Good Old Boys Club" to legendary status. But every once in awhile they found time to add me to their agenda of things to correct about modern society's troubles. Most of the time it was just an excursion into verbal abuse. "Faggot", "Queer" "Nigger-Lover" and the ever popular words of the day: "Hippie" and "Dope-Smoker."
Despite the fact that none of those names was accurate! Every now and then these Good Old Country Boys just couldn't resist the temptation to "teach me a real lesson."
Next time: A "Haircut! Or: Assault With a Deadly Weapon?"

10 comments:

Kelly Combs said...

Kurt - off topic...
I'll be back later to read & comment on your blog, but I had accidentially published a blog post I meant to preschedule. So I retracted it. It is scheduled for 3/5 now. (I prewrite my blog as often as I can). Today I wrote 4 posts! :-)

So sorry you got a peak at it - but it was by accident. You'll have to wait. Jusque-là

MsDarkstar said...

I hear ya on this one! I went to an Episcopal Boarding School. Within the first week I was branded a "Witch" and "Satan Worshipper" (neither was true... I'd grown up with next to no religious background but apparently not knowing The Lord's Prayer was the mark of a Satan Worshipper in their book).

People are afraid of anything just a LITTLE different. I've just never been a good sheep (someone who blindly follows).

Kelly Combs said...

I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

"I had learned to use my hands to inflict great discomfort from one of the cruelest people God had ever let draw breath." This statement concerns me. I hope it wasn't someone who taught you by inflicting pain on you.

Be blessed.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Tough childhood AND you chose the military? (and obviously you never killed anyone or you wouldn't have gotten in) Can't wait for more!

Edie said...

You are something! I'm looking forward to the rest... and to getting caught up on the ones I've missed. :)

Was your last comment to me serious or one of your witty remarks? LOL! In writing it could go either way with you. :D And you know that if I don't have one, I can easily fix that. :D

<°)}}}><

Christiejolu said...

Kids can be cruel thats for sure. I see it every day on the playground. I was miss judged as well. I was friendly and I guess flirty so I got labeled a "slut" in middle school. I was so not a slut, so it hurt my feelings. As far as religion goes I was born Catholic, when I say born Catholic I mean my Dad was Irish Catholic. So I was baptised and all, but I was raised to decide for myself. I am still figuring that out.

2Thinks said...

I figured this was the reason I liked you.

Heff said...

I personally am a victim of something similar, known as "DICK-otomy".

Stop by my place, dude, if you ever need a drink.

samurai said...

I have to confess i've struggled the "judge without really knowing" mentality. I have a hard time knowing how to interact with people unless i can somehow "figure" them out... and that is not really a good thing. I know that... and yet i still struggle. 8(

Keep up the great blogging my friend. I've subscribed to your blog via Google Reader... I don't always "get" it, but i almost always enjoy it.

a brother in Christ

Kimberly said...

Kids are kids, they do what they do unfortunately, but it was cool back then. Today if a kid looks at someone funny he is probably labeled as a pre-serial murderer.