Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cycling with Julius Caesar

After a full day of attempting to teach Shakespeare's relevancy to high school students who would rather read American Idol voting results, I was heading home on my commute when I felt the whoosh of a vehicle roll up next to me. Experience has taught me to look straight ahead. There is no need to antagonize drivers steering large chunks of rolling metal. My peripheral vision assured me this truck was not trying to pass.

Hmmmm, maybe this was just a friend waving to say hi. Maybe it was one of my students wanting to thank me for clarifying the danger of dangling participles. Ignoring commuting common sense, I glanced left and was greeted with a caustic, yet impressive, use of the English language. Never before had I heard obscene adjectives used as nouns and vulgar nouns used as exclamation points. Satisfied with his rant, he accelerated past me, glaring out the truck's rear window while offering a goodbye wave with that one finger.

Still silent, I noticed that while he was scowling at me his truck was veering to the left, crossing the center line and heading toward the ditch. I imagined how delightful it would be to ride past him as he tumbled out of the wreckage. Instead, he caught the drifting truck just in time to save himself and any innocent victims. Between breaths, I simply uttered, “Idiot” and began thinking of ways I could connect this story to Julius Caesar, the Roman senator who endangered Rome’s future with his escalating hubris.

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