I love 60s Rock and Roll
Sometime in high school Pauline Laro,
a classmate, fulfilled an assignment to
write a short story by using nothing but
the titles of pop songs like Don’t Step
On My Blue Suede Shoes, On Wolverton
Mountain, or Come Along And Be My Party
Doll. She also made little circles for dots
above small case eyes and jays.
I thought this was way beneath what we
ought to be doing in English class. I was
reading Poe and my friend Clark was into
Theodore Roethke so we decided to write
a truly hideous story.
The story which ran four scrawled pages
tops was about a WWI pilot who gets shot
down but bails out successfully only to get
hung up in tree limbs. Years later our
protagonist searching in a marsh for the
bad egg smell of hydrogen gas to buoy
the new German war effort looks up
and sees the dead and rotting pilot.
We called our work Moor Gas and it stunk.
If there is a heaven for English teachers
our teacher, Fred Fosher, probably still takes
our story to bars to show strangers and
get a laugh or perhaps a free round.
I once taught a junior class in Bristol, NH where I asked a girl what the theme of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado was. Without hesitation she said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I regret to say I couldn't stop laughing. I’m still laughing.
Hideous, by the way, is a word Poe alone owns.