I often get (secular-world) students sign up for my courses after they have already endured one. This tells me that either this little town is full of masochists between 18-25 or I’m worth being around. This semester, 62% of my classes are filled with what I affectionately refer to as “repeat offenders.” This gives my classes an interesting dynamic. We are oddly familiar for Week 3 of a semester.
Yesterday, one of my repeat offenders slinked into my 9:30 AM class with a Venti and a slice of cake. “This is for you.”
And then it struck me. I had responded to this poor girl’s class-unrelated email and then failed to clarify myself properly. I had played a bit of a joke on her and then got busy with a time-vampire and forgot to tell her it was a bit of a joke.
You see – – – We’ll call her Norma Jean.
Norma Jean is a wonderfully gregarious young women. Unquestionably good-looking. Very level-headed. Calls it like she sees it. She’s my favorite kind of woman. She’s very “girly” and a little silly. Then she opens her mouth and then “bam.” Utterly unexpected brilliance. Her secret weapon in life will be that everyone will always underestimate her because she looks like a particular “type.” She has let me know that she understands this about herself and revels in the stupidity of others’ stereotypical expectations.
I identify with Norma Jean. I have big boobs and big hair and a big personality. I’ve always been underestimated. It took me ten years longer than Norma Jean to learn to revel in it.
Needless to say, I like this girl. A lot.
At the end of last semester, she shared a great deal about her family life, her personal life with a whack-a-doo roommate, her goals, her Self. Among these things, Norma Jean told me about a rough spot that her family endured. She explained that she felt her reaction was selfish but that she’s grown as a person since then.
Over the weekend, she sent me an email that said something like, “If you were in doubt that I was a bad person, read this old English paper. The assignment was to narrate a personal tragedy. Rather then self-reflection on a real event – from which I have plenty to choose – I decided to lie. Enjoy.”
The paper was a very stirring narrative about the lost of a (non-existent) twin. It was so stirring that the teacher of the class brought Norma Jean a condolence card.
Seeing an opportunity to misbehave, Dr. Bad Witch responded: “Norma Jean, thank you for sharing this poignant piece and the tale that accompanies it. You cannot have known this, but I actually did lose a twin.”
Expecting a text or a call, I proceeded to get sucked into a swirling email dramacano vortex(reading them) which simply added to they typical complication of my normal weekend. Sadly, I did not clarify things with Norma Jean.
I accepted the cake and coffee and told Norma Jean that I meant to clarify that mine was a case of “Womb Twin Survival” (a fairly common occurrence – TBW’s daughter started out one of two; it was harder on me as a mother than as a sib).
If you go to my Twitter account, you will see that Norma Jean has enjoyed telling everyone that “The Bad Witch ate her twin.”
Looking around for information on twin death with which to tease Norma Jean, I recalled the idea of chimerism. Having just taught Frankenstein and having discussed Shelley’s use of the term chimera in connection with occult studies, and having just seen the CSI episode, “Bloodlines,” I think this is just one too many run-ins with the term to leave it alone.
So, for this week’s Blog Project, I’ve decided to talk about Chimera.
I don’t know what I’ll say yet. See you Friday?