I was going through my filing cabinet this morning looking for notes on Flaubert, and I came across a file labeled “Old Miscellany.” I couldn’t pass that up.
Oh the gems I found there, including some old copies of the North River News in which I had published some angry letters; some notes from my undergraduate astronomy class; a couple of handwritten essays — probably exams — one was about poetical techniques on which was written “good essay structure, but vague content”; an 1101 research paper dated 11/30/87 about a “Security Sales Worker” — the assignment apparently was to research a career you’d be interested in, and I picked that?!; some clipped comics — probably sent by Dad; notes and feedback on a speech about genetic engineering — the feedback are on bits of scrap paper, and apparently Kip was in this class with me — one of his comments was “You stud! My nipples are hard!”; and a typed essay called “Ian Fleming and James Bond.”
The latter is the oldest and clearly shows my writing acumen from an early age. I scanned it and include it below for your reading pleasure.
It’s not exactly MLA — the margins are way off. This was obviously a copy of the original essay because it contains not one mark of praise from Mrs. Meek. I have to say, too, that her name was likely very appropriate, as I have no distinct memory of her or her class. She might have been jealous of my obvious scholarly potential evident by this first-rate work of research; she must have sensed that my academic achievements in literary studies would soon dwarf hers. Who wouldn’t recognize the rhetorical savvy of phrases like “his popularity status”; “a chap by the name of ‘Q’ produces many technological gimmicks which assist 007 in his defense of the free world”; “Bond was made a widower through funfire” (?); and “Bond had a number of cars ranging from a gray Abstom-Martian” (I wonder if that’s anything like an Aston-Martin?).
Now that I think about it, I don’t really remember anything from the eighth grade other than perhaps awkwardly passing a note to Lucy Langlois, reading Dynamite magazine, working as Ms. Farmer’s aide, and hating to “dress out” for gym class. It’s a treat to get an artifact from my life in 1983. I can’t help but see Dad’s influence in this, too. There’s quite a bit of information on guns and cars, though surely he knows that “Abstom-Martian” is incorrect. Dad, did you even proofread this for me?
I think the most impressive part of this research paper is that it really says nothing. There doesn’t seem to be an explicit thesis — unless “James Bond is cool” is an acceptable one. I’d expect, in all seriousness, that this is pretty lame for the eighth grade. Still, I was a pretty lame eighth grader, and I continued that trend throughout high school. What grade would you give me?
That’s the first installment of “Old Miscellany.” Maybe I’ll post more.