Give me a 1,2,3,A,B,C! Let’s hear it for “Education” Rah! Rah! Rah! If I may, I’d like to quote a brilliant insight by B.H. Bates – “Hopefully this is the generation that finally gets it … Never bring bows and arrows to Smart Pillsa gun fight!” Referring to the important roll education plays in the native struggle. After all, if the native that sold Manhattan had had a realtor’s license … Well!
We’ve all heard of people who’ve made it “Big,” without the benefit of an education. If you take these people, pull down their pants and bend them over, you should see a horse shoe protruding! Because “luck” probably had a lot to do with their success. Have you ever heard of Mr. Many Feathers? Chances are you haven’t. How about Geronimo? Of course, everybody has heard of Geronimo. I’ve used use these names to make a point, “that for every Geronimo there’s a lot of feathers that don’t make it!”
I’d like to get serious for a paragraph or so, of you don’t mind. I have to be an “Honest Injun,” I only have a grade eight education myself. Actually I think I dropped out long before then. I couldn’t read, let alone write (some still think so). I tried to read, I wanted to read, but I just didn’t get it. And when I didn’t get it, it made me feel stupid. Feeling stupid lead to frustration, frustration lead to acting up. When the teachers put a stop to that, I learned how to get around reading. I’d fake it, I’d cheat, anything to hide the truth. At the time, even I didn’t know the truth. To me reading was like a trick, a trick everyone got, except me.
For years and years I was a prisoner. An impostor, dreading the day when I’d be discovered. Everyone at some point in their life has read a Birthday card, aloud, right? … Not me! I kept trying though, I’d always pick up a newspaper, to read on transit to work. I’d sometimes have to read a paragraph three or four times before I’d get the jest. Then one day my sunglasses broke, so I picked up a cheap pair of amber colored shades. I sat down and read my horoscope … “HOLY S___!” I exclaimed to myself, when I realized how fast I had read it! And more importantly I understood it! I finally “Got it!” I almost screamed out loud “I CAN READ!” … It felt like an orgasm and thanks to these cheap sunglasses, I “read” my brains out.
I didn’t know how or why they helped my read, until I watched a documentary on T.V., it dealt with the reading disorder Dyslexia (Dyslexia – “Flips” letters and sometimes whole words are seen backwards). It went on to explain that in some cases, simply reading through certain colored lens, tricks the dyslexic mind into seeing the letters in their proper positions. Until I put on those sunglasses, I had to concentrate on every letter of every word, memorize that word then move on to the next. (Indulge me if you will in a mini experiment. Read the following “sentences.” But as you do, concentrate on each letter for one full second, memorize that word, do this until you can recite all three sentences). “Pretty tough way to read, wouldn’t you say? Can you imagine living most of your life like that? That’s why I take education very seriously!”
Who knows what could have been … I could’ve been a contender, I could’ve been a somebody! (For the uneducated, I’m back to acting up). Speaking of “Acting up,” my sincerest apologies, to all my past teachers. As I reflect back on all the crap that I put them through and all they wanted to do was help me. Talk about biting the hand that feeds. If I were “Chief of the World” … Teachers would be paid like professional athletes and vice versa. Athletes are always saying how they’d do it for the love of the game anyways. Teachers would be more famous than any wrestler … Hell, what am I talking about … If I were heap big Chief, I’d condemn TV wrestling to the Isle of Idiots, along with the criminally insane and give them nothing but bread, water and pointy sticks. “Yeah!… It’s good to be the Chief!”
An Elder once told me, “You can use your back or you can use your head!” He also told me about the old Indian and the “Smart Pill” … Many, many moons ago a European from a big city, came to hunt the mighty beasts of the new country. He hired the wisest native tracker in the village to help him on his quest. But the city man was loud and clumsy. He crashed through the forest and scared away all the animals. Then he cursed the old Indian when he didn’t get to shoot anything. On the way back to camp the city slicker said, … “All day I’ve noticed these little piles of brown pellets on the ground … ‘vas is it, Mr. Indian man?” The old Indian smiled and said … “They’re a gift from nature, they’re smart pills!” The fool quickly popped a “pill” in his mouth and just as quickly he spit it out … He hollered at the old Indian, “You let me eat deer shit, just because I was mean to you!” The old Indian replied, “They worked didn’t they, see how smart you are!”