I imagine this hat to be a big, bucket hat like one of those Texas Cowboys out on the town one Saturday night. Those seem to have plenty of room for another dream or two so I am throwing in a children’s book. It’s still a book so it doesn’t stray too far from the path but it’s in a form that brings me much joy to write and even a little success. Let me explain.
During my senior year of high school, we were assigned to write a “speech” on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This is a brutal book about European imperialism in Africa during the ivory trade. One of the more famous lines in the text is “The horror, the horror,” uttered by Mr. Kurtz on his death bed, in response to what he had done with his time in Africa. Not one to let such imperialistic endeavors bring me down, I chose to write my argument in rhyming couplets for three pages front and back. I don’t remember the pursuit of this speech, as this memory suffers from a lack of details, but I do remember how quickly the class turned on me, only to win them back seconds later.
Somewhere in the book, Joseph Conrad talks about something “rearing its ugly head.” This quote resonated with me, whether it was from a lesson plan or I read it on my own, so I built my speech around it. About half way through, I used my English teacher, who was one of my favorites, as an example of the something that rears. I looked up to see the silence from the shock. “Did he just say our teacher has an ugly head?” As the line lingered in the air amongst my classmates, I quickly moved on to the next line to recant the ugliness and say with an emphasis on much beauty, much, much beauty. Before they could boo, they cheered as I was able win back the crowd with its cleverness. I even saw my teacher blush a little. In the end, though, I was only able to pull a B on my presentation. The initial shock of my interpretation of the quote must have outweighed the delicate maneuver of retracting such a claim. However, getting a B after momentarily implying that your teacher has an ugly head constitutes some success or maybe just a glimpse at some hidden talent. Let’s throw it in the hat and find out.