26 February 2011

Post 336: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  ISBN: 9780140283334.

I first read this book in tenth grade, and I remember really, really liking it until we started to discuss the symbolism (and I know I'm not the only one who felt this way).  What really appealed to me at the time was the surface story: about a bunch of kids having to fend for themselves, living off the land, and forming a society outside the influence of adults, even if it fell apart.

I was really into books like My Side of the Mountain when I was a kid.  I'm not sure what it is about survival stories that's so compelling.  I mean, if I had to go through a situation like that, I'd most likely wind up like Piggy: fat, whiny, ineffectual, striving to maintain decorum, and ultimately, dead.  I'm certainly in no shape for taking care of myself in the wild.  I don't know a whole heck of a lot about cold weather survival, what things to eat, how to hunt...  Like most people, I'm simply not prepared for roughing it.

To be honest, as much as I like visiting parks and forests, I kind of hate being outside.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is the sun.  The sun hates my eyes.  The sun hates my skin.  I don't know that I've ever suntanned, because I usually just turn red and start peeling.  It's unfortunate that we kind of need the sun for living and stuff, because it's really inconvenient.

The second reason is bugs.  Spiders aside, I'm not what you'd call bug-phobic, but I really, really, really hate it when bugs think they can just walk all over me.  There's something about having a bug land on me that makes me react as if I have seen a spider.  I will do anything to avoid coming into contact with most bugs, and I will do anything to get them off of me once they've landed.  I blame mosquitoes for this.

That all said, there is at least one thing that I like about being outside: eating stuff.  I get a serious thrill out of being able to pick fruit outside, whether it's from the blackberry bushes in my backyard, the apple trees at the other end of campus, or that plum tree outside where I work that doesn't produce plums anymore because it's got some kind of disease (when it did produce, they were great).  Even if we're talking something that I've grown, like a carrot, I just find something supremely satisfying about being able to pull something out of the ground, or off a branch, and consume it.

Of course, you have to be careful.  I once tried eating a puffball that was growing in the backyard and boy was that nasty.  I still gag a little when I think about it. 

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed temporarily working at a bookstore. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

*This post was originally written October 16, 2010 to give the regular blogger a break.

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