Favorite

The Observer was raised by wolves. Walked 20 miles in the snow each way to school, lived on leaves and berries scavenged in the dark forbidding forest in which we lived, etc. (OK, so what we really mean was that The Observer’s family was poor, headline-generating dysfunctional.)

So the Observer was vastly amused — and puzzled — by the frenzy generated on the Arkansas Times blog recently by an item about Hendrix College’s inclusion in the new edition of “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges.” What amused and puzzled us was the passionate nature of many of the comments, some of which were astonishingly vitriolic.

The Observer attended Hendrix College. We don’t at all recognize the elitist, wildly liberal, morally bankrupt, pansexual orgy-fest of a school that some of the blog commentators described — and we attended Hendrix in the ’70s. What we do remember is that when we got there, we felt for the first time in our life that we weren’t a freak because we really, really liked to read and we were smarter even than a lot of the boys.

The Observer remembers Kirk Smith, the Hendrix official who oversaw financial aid and who ensured our continued attendance by assuring our weeping self that somehow, some way, Hendrix would find the money to prevent us from having to drop out. He died several years ago, and we will forever regret not telling him how much he meant to us. We remember Dr. David Larson, history professor, now retired, who along with his wife, Marilyn, provided non-wolf role models for adulthood. We remember Dr. George Thompson (a true Burkean conservative) and Dr. Garrett McAinsh, a Scots-dry-wit history professor.

The Observer made friends there that remain friends to this day, friends we probably really would kill for (but they went to Hendrix, so they’re not very violent and, anyway, would think it rude to ask). It was the happiest freaking four years of our life, and if you want to get all personal about it, let’s just go ahead and take it outside, buddy, because though The Observer’s friends abjure violence, remember, The Observer has kept our own fangs sharpened. Don’t blame Hendrix, though. Blame the wolves.


The Observer’s officially part cyborg now, thanks to an operation earlier this summer to clean out and shore up our cervical spine, which apparently decided to walk off the job about five decades early. There’s a thin titanium plate covering the front of three of our vertebrae, held in place by three Tim-Burtonish-looking screws that go right into the middle of the bones. (No, it doesn’t hurt, but thanks for asking.)

So anyway, we’re planning this trip overseas in a few months, and because we don’t particularly like the idea of being thrown into a small windowless room by burly guards yelling Italian at us because they can’t figure out why we keep setting off the airport metal detector in Florence, we decided to do a little advance preparation. We found a website that translates phrases on demand, and asked it how to say “I have a metal plate in my neck” in Italian. “Ho una piastra del metallo nel mio collo.” (Everything sounds so ridiculously romantic in Italian. “I have dog poop on my shoe”: “Ho poop di cane sul mio scarpa.” Beautiful.)

We decided to give it a trial run, minus the language barrier, and headed down to the Pulaski County Courthouse one morning. There, to our surprise, the security guard there informed us it was our shoes, not our robot parts, that were causing the detector to squawk. Titanium, he said, doesn’t set off metal detectors.

Now this seemed to us like a fairly gargantuan hole in the fabric of our nation’s security. A metal that doesn’t trigger metal detectors? What’s to keep an evildoer from fashioning something sharp or, say, bullet-firing from titanium and having his way on any jumbo jet he chose?

Nature, apparently. We Googled the topic, and it turns out that while titanium guns do exist, they’re made from alloys, because pure titanium is too brittle to use on its own.

That makes us feel better about getting on that flight to Florence, but it doesn’t inspire so much confidence in the scaffolding propping up our neck. Somebody get us some chicken wire.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis

    Early this morning, attorneys for nine Death Row inmates, filed an argument with the 8th United States Court of Appeals contesting the state's effort to override Judge Kristine Baker's order Saturday that halted executions scheduled this month.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • Federal judge denies execution stay for Don Davis but larger stay continues

    Don Davis, who's been moved to the killing facility of the state prison for killing tonight at 7 p.m. if a stay of execution is lifted in another federal suit, sought a stay in another federal court Sunday, but the request was denied.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in The Observer

  • Snapshots from an execution

    The Observer stood in front of the Governor's Mansion on Monday night in a periodic drizzle, waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether a man would die, not knowing there would be no execution that night.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • The chair

    The Observer's pal and former colleague, a dedicated Deputy Observer, ran across the following piece of writing while cleaning out an online folder to make room for still more of the snippets and starts and literary flotsam and jetsam that seem to pile up around a writer like snowdrifts.
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • 8 in 11

    The state of Arkansas is planning on killing eight men soon, one right after the other, in 11 days. They are doing this to punish them for having killed people. The Observer used to be very much a capital punishment believer. But then, we sat through a death penalty trial, start to finish.
    • Apr 6, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation