An Ode To My High School English Teacher

Mr. Pfouts was round and jolly, a clean shaven Santa Claus. I learned nothing at all about writing from him. Too much apathy, and marijuana. Plus, writing was a pursuit for know-it-all girls. Riding skateboards until bloodied and blasting Motley Crüe had so much more life in it. So I zoned out while this guy blabbed about prepositions and shit like that. 

He had a great sense of humor, though, which I appreciated. He also had lazy man wisdom. This isn't the kind of Stoic wisdom won by philosopher kings in battle, or the insight bestowed upon monks meditating beneath Bodhi trees. It's the kind of wisdom you develop from sitting on the couch, turning on the game, and not taking it all so seriously.

"There's nothing better than waiting for someone to pick you up,” Pfouts used to say. He came in to class one day all excited about this revelation. I guess he had a borderline mystical experience waiting for his wife to pick him up from the doctor's office the day prior. "You can just sit there, and think about things, and there's nothing you have to do. It's wonderful!" 

Of course the advent of smartphones really blew up his theory. Still, he may have been on to something.

And now that I think about it, there is actually one thing Pfouts did teach me about writing. "You should really begin a sentence with the word ‘but' only as often as you enter a room butt first."

He grabbed a stack of textbooks in his arms, and went on to demonstrate how one may occasionally enter a room backwards, his pleated-pant-covered rear end bumping the door to Room 103 out of the way.

For some reason that always stuck with me. But I still begin sentences backwards all the time. It makes me smile, it makes me think about Pfouts.

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