Wednesday, June 01, 2005

life of buddy don, chaptur 138: ear reglar verbs

the way i been a’ritin bout knoxvull collidge, ye mite could thank twuz bout thonly thang i had time fer, but lack i splaind in chaptur 135: black n white, i figgerd i had thangs wurked out purty good to whar i had plenty of time in bof worlds n a good chants to git sum ritin dun. i caint say i dun much ritin, but i did spend lots of time on tuesdys n thursdys in the white world.

fer one thang, i had that class over at utk, witch i dont member much bout it ceptn one feller in class. i caint member his name, witch that is a lil strange fer me, but thay wuz sumthin bout im that rubbed me the rong way. i had splaind bout how i wuz teachin over at knoxvull collidge n i wonted em to know more bout it than i dun whenever i furst herd bout knoxville collidge n thought twuz a bizness skool, so i tole em a lil bout life over thar n how twuz a cuple of presbyteryun women that gut the collidge a’goin rite in the middle of the civil war in 1863. but all that dun wuz git that feller to ast me wuz i havin inny luck teachin em not to say i be, he be, she be, we be, they be, it be, that kinda talk. whenever he ast that questchun in class i had jes handed out thar papers back to em. this feller had a lil truble knowin witch verb form to use in a sentents, so i reckun he wuz a lil mad bout how i had colord so much of his paper in red.

but i gut to thankin bout it. later on that day, i wuz over at stokely athletick center a’wurkin out with johnny mayhew n bud rankin. johnny luved to wurk out n he finely gut me to go n i gut bud to go n sumtimes we wood even git billy stewart to join us, ifn he could git outta wurk fer the afternoon. twuz a good thang to be a’doon n i gut to whar i wuz able to keep my weight up above 160 lbs fer the furst time in my life, witch ifn yer born skinny lack i wuz, ye lack bein able to build up sum muscles n a lil weight. corse thay wuz a lotta joshin a’goin on with us poor mouthin each other bout how we dint push hard a nuff on a bench press or try hard a nuff to git that tenth pure chin up.

but that day, i couldnt git that questchun outta my mind. fer one thang, twuz clear the feller meant it to stang me, lack i wuz a’gone be hurt by my students at kc a’needin to larn. i figger tiz lack my daddy always sed, witch he bleeved ye gut the wurse racism in the group that wuz closest to the race they wuz a’hatin, n fer him, that wuz poor whites or whut he mite even call white trash sumtimes. he claimd everbidy wonted sumbidy else to look down on n thay wuz a class of white folk that dint have much a nuthin a’goin on fer em ceptn they could say how lease they wuznt black folk, only twoodnt never be the wurds they wood use on a counta they calld em 'nigger' ever chants they gut.

but tuther thang wuz how i dint know eggzackly how to approach teachin my students bout ear reglar verbs, speshly them in that grammar class. twuz true how i wuz charmd by the way they wuz a’usin the langwage, but my job wuz to larn em how to rite standurd english, witch ye couldnt use jes one form of the verb 'to be' n git by. so that day, we gut into a long discusshun bout the verbs 'to be', 'to have' n 'to do'. i gut it a'goin by tellin bout my student n then sayin how i wonted to teach them three verbs. that gut us to wunderin witch wuz mos importunt.

whenever yer wurkin out, ye mite could say yer a’usin all three of them verbs. mayhap ye wish ye could 'have' muscles so ye could 'be' strong, witch that meant ye had 'to do' yer eggcersizes on a reglar basis. so i ast em witch of the three did they thank wuz mos importunt. johnny figgerd twuz the verb 'to be', on a counta everthang ye dun n had added up to whut ye wood be. so we ast did it make ye differnt ifn ye had a closet full or fine cloze or a big ole late model car or a heap of money n he laffed n sed it dint hurt to have inny one of em, but all that matterd wuz whut ye be. then he pointed out how ifn ye wuz born black. twernt sumthin ye could do nuthin bout n twood change everthang.

bud tuck the verb 'to have' as the one he bleeved wuz mos importunt. ye wonted to have a safe place to live, a nuff to eat, sum blank notebooks to rite in, n as minny recurds as ye could store, witch one thang bout bud rankin ye need to know is how aint nobidy on the planet luved im sum musick inny moren he dun. he had im a colleckshun of at lease 1,500 albums n twood be a treat to visit im n let im sprankle sum bud in the bowl of his bong n let im take ye thru one of them tapes he wood make, witch he lacked to make speshul tapes that showed how one kinda song hepped in the creayshun of otherns. corse, the thang bout bud at that time wuz how he dint have no job he lacked. he hated teachin, so the one class he had that quarter wuz a’gone be the last he ever taught. he gut im a job in the sunbeam bakery deeliverin bread, but he hated his boss. he gut im a job a dominoes pizza deeliverin pizzas, but he hated whut that dun to his purple gremlin. so makin money wuz a big problem fer im, witch johnny wuz still a’wurkin at the tva n makin good money n he had more time to cunsidder bein in sted of havin.

so twuz only natcherull how they wood take thar verbs the way they dun. i argued twuz the verb 'to do' that matterd mos on a counta ye caint hardly cuntrol whut ye are. ifn yer born with blue eyes, then ye a’gone be stuck with that. ifn yer born with a hare lip or one leg too short or a tendency to build muscles, well, all that ye caint much cuntrol. n whenever it cum to havin thangs, seemed to me lack that wuz a verb that dint wurk out fair. yer mothers n teachers wuz doon the mos importunt wurk thay wuz, but they dint hardly git no pay fer it. sum folks wuz born to rich daddies n dint half to hardly do nuthin to have whut they gut, so dint seem to me lack thatn wuz the mos importunt. thonly thang ye had inny cuntrol over wuz whut ye dun.

johnny laffed n sed in that case i orta shut up n push. dint i ever wonta bench press moren my own weight? 'breathe, docter, breathe! now push!'

that wuz johnny fer ye. then he sed sumthin bout how i should cunsidder sum other verbs, lack the verb 'to go', on a counta he wuz thankin bout movin up to new york city, but we joked bout how that wuz whar billy stewart cum frum n goin back dint seem lack twuz a opshun fer im. johnny sed twuz ok fer billy, but he wonted to have the eggsperients of livin in new york city n bof me n bud add mitted to how we wonted to do the same thang.

so happend i had made plans fer sum racket ball with billy stewart fer later that day n he give me a long speech bout how whut ye have is importunt on a counta how ifn ye git sick n need good medicull keer, ye aint gut a chants ifn ye aint saved ye up sum money. he reeminded me how ye could easy find yerself in a situwayshun whar ye couldnt do much of nuthin, no matter whut ye bleeved. so doin thangs caint be it. besides, he sed twernt nary a one of them three verbs, four ifn ye count the verb 'to go', we had dun discussed thats mos importunt. fer him, twuz knowin, witch he ast wuznt that verb ear reglar too? 'thank about it docter, today i know, yesterdy i knew. ain't that ear reglar?' witch i add mitted how twuz. then he sed how once ye open up the verb 'to know' ye cum purty quick to the verb 'to bleeve' n the verb 'to thank' lack in the sentents, 'whut ye know deetermines whut ye thank n whut ye thank deetermines whut ye bleeve.' i tole im that twuz tuther way round to whar 'whut ye bleeve deetermines whut ye thank n that deetermines whut ye know.' he laffed n joked bout how i had spent too much time in academe to make good sense.

twuznt long after that till i herd how mama n daddy wuz a'bickerin over thar deevorce, witch we figgerd twuz over all reddy n they wuz back together, but turnt out that feller name of fred dint wonta give it up n mama wuz tempted by how he talked whenever her n daddy gut to fussin n fitin, witch they wuz a’doon that mos all the time. whenever it cum to ear reglar verbs, mama mite cum down on the side of 'to sell', as in, 'we orta sell this house n move into that apartment complex on the west side of oak ridge.' corse mamas hole life revolved round sellin thangs lack cloze n shore a nuff, she finely wore daddy down to whar they sold that thar house we had always called mamas even tho twuz daddy that luved it the most. after that, she dint menchun fred no more.

long story short, thay wuz plenty of room fer discusshun of ear reglar verbs. nex time i had that grammar class, i gut everbidy a’talkin bout whut wuz mos importunt. wuz it 'to be', 'to have', 'to do'? i dint wonta brang in too minny of them other ear reglar verbs fer that discusshun, but i started out by teachin em bout the hole idee of reglar verbs n then splainin how them verbs we use the mos gits to keep thar form ear reglar on a counta how we use em so much.

i went over how yer reglar verbs wurked furst, talkin bout how ye gut one form fer the four persons known as i, you, we, they. then i give em the rule of he, she, it, witch fer a joke i kindly run it all together lack hesheit to whar it sounded lack he shit. that made em laff but i sed twuz a easy way to member how them reglar verbs wurks, witch ye gut one form fer the furst four n ye generly putt a 's' on he, she or it.

fer instunts, ye gut yer furst four on bake: i bake, you bake, we bake, they bake. then ye gut the hesheits: he bakes, she bakes, it bakes.

the simple past fer reglar verbs is jes that, simple, whar all ye gut to do is add a 'd' or 'ed': i baked, you baked, we baked, they baked, he baked, she baked, it baked.

but tiz the ear reglar verbs that ye half to study n memberize, bof them furst four n the hesheits but speshly the simple past. fer instunts, the verb to be, ye gut the furst four: i am, you are, we are, they are. then ye gut the hesheit: he is, she is, it is. n whenever ye git to simple past, aint hardly simple no more on a counta fer the furst four ye gut: i was, you were, they were, we were, he was, she was, it was. it brakes the rules of the furst four n hesheit.

corse this gut everbidy to laffin, speshly how i wood run hesheit together. i sed since we had coverd the verb 'to be', we orta go over them verbs 'to have' n 'to do': i have, you have, we have, they have, he has, she has, it has; simple past, i had, you had, we had, they had, he had, she had, it had. or to do: i do, you do, we do, they do, he does, she does, it does; simple past, i did, you did, we did, they did, he did, she did, it did.

ye mite could thank ye woodnt half to go over such stuff, but one of the reglar thang i wood find in essays writ by my students wuz forms lack, 'he hadded' n even 'it happend on fridaday.'

finely i ast the questchun bout whut wuz mos importunt, 'to be', 'to have' or 'to do'. that gut a long discusshun a’goin. at the start, near everbidy bleeved twuz the verb 'to be' n i couldnt hardly say much bout it on a counta how bein black had jes bout deetermined everthang that matterd to mos ever one of em. did i ever git a lesson bout whut it mus be lack to be born with black skin. i wood see more bout it as time went by, but twuz the case that they figgerd they had to be twice as good as inny white person to git the same treatment, n even then they figgerd they mite not git it. when they tuck a drive or went to cash a check or tride to git a job, seem lack the color of thar skin deetermined everthang.

but thay wuz a bunch of em that bleeved twuz the verb 'to have' on a counta it seemed lack the real differnts twixt white folks n black folks wuz how white folks had all the money n that meant they gut to deecide everthang. ifn black folk had money, purty soon woodnt nobidy be able to hold em back. look at michael jackson, they sed. he gut rich n purty soon dint hardly nobidy talk bout im bein black. he gut to make albums with white guys playin guitar, lack how twuz eddie van halen a’playin guitar on beat it, witch i dint know that befor one of my students tole me. besides, they ast me, wuznt they a’goin to skool sos they could git good jobs n make good money?

i ast em wuz they everthang they owned? wuz ownin thangs whut made em whut they wuz? bout then a young lady name of janine tookes sed thonly thang that matterd wuz whut ye dun. she splaind how whenever ye wuz ded n went befor god, he woodnt be astin ye whut ye had nor wuz ye black or white, male or female, witch she sed in heaven wuznt nun of that. 'when you die, mr d. you dont be takin nothin with you.' all that matters then is whut ye dun with the life god give ye. that gut em all a’goin till we agreed that ye couldnt cuntrol whut ye wuz born to be nor could ye carry a thang with ye to heaven. so ifn ye wonted to be more or better or even have thangs, twuz a matter of whut ye dun.

i cum outta that class a’feelin purty good bout how thangs wuz a’goin. i luved teachin, luved it speshly whenever it seemed lack we wuz gittin to deeper thangs that matterd more. dint seem lack much of nuthin had gut a better conversayshun a’goin than that questchun bout them ear reglar verbs. so i figgerd i wood go down to my offus n pack up a few thangs n git home to emily to tell her all bout it.

but i had dun fergut bout cassandra worthy, witch i dint git my backpack loaded befor she cum a’tappin on the door. i let her in, witch she woodnt hardly look me in the eye to begin with. i wuz a lil annoyed bout her a’bein thar, but i had dun sed i wood teach her one-on-one ifn i had to, so thay wuznt nuthin else to do but git busy with it.

twuz hard to figger why cassandra wuz even in that class. she knew how to take apart a sentents lack nobidys bizness, knew the subjeck n verb n the differnts twixt adjectives n adverbs, knew how preposishuns wurked n whut they dun to modify tuther parts of the sentents. so twuz eggcitin once we cummenced to go thru that book, doin a good four weeks wurth of wurk in one afternoon. i figgerd since we had dun cum so far we mite as well take keer of them ear reglar verbs, so i started off that same topick agin.

purty soon i had splained bout them three verbs 'to be', 'to have' n 'to do'. we went over how they wuz differnt n then discussed a passel of other ear reglar verbs lack 'to know', 'to go', 'to think', 'to bleeve'. she ast my why i dint mentchun the verbs 'to say' or 'to rite'. i sed i wuz jes trine to use sum eggzamples. besides, wuznt 'sayin' n 'ritin' jes forms of 'doin'? witch that led me back to my point bout how importunt twuz compard to them other two verbs.

durin the hole talk, she wood look at mos innythang in the room ceptn to look me in the eye, witch i noticed how moren half my students at kc had that habit. i dint say nuthin bout it, but we gut to talkin bout them three verbs till she sed twuz all a silly eggcersize to discuss em on a counta ye caint split em out lack that. ye are whut ye do n whut ye have, she sed. i ast her whut she meant.

she gut quite fer a bit. then she looked up at me n fixed my eye with hers n sed, 'mr d, has anybody ever told you ...' she looked at her hands fer a bit befor fixin her gaze on my eye n beginning agin, 'you have the longest eye lashes?' when she did, she smiled n fer the furst time, i could see whut a beeyootiful smile she had. i wunderd how could i have missed it befor. but she kept starin till i finely looked away.

i sed i hadnt been told that befor even tho twuz a lie on a counta whenever i wuz a lil boy i had gut into truble whenever mama n aint sairy gut to talkin bout how i had long eye lashes n then they wonted to putt sum makeup on my eyes, but daddy cum in n whupped me good fer a'wearin makeup. twuz odd how that wuz all i could thank bout n i wunderd why i hadnt add mitted it to cassandra. i reckun i wuz still a lil embarrassed bout havin makeup on.

so i deecided to change the subjeck n tole her bout how emily wonted me to invite her home. she wunderd why n i splaind how emily wuz touched by whut had happend to her. she flew mad n gut up n started out without sayin a wurd. then she cum back n sed sumthin bout how white people needed to larn to mind our own bizness. n as fer me, she sed i dint even know how ye couldnt split whut ye are frum whut ye have n whut ye do? then she turnt n lef n walked down the hall, leavin the door open to whar i could hear her heels clickin on the tile till she gut to the stairway door. she slammed it.

i walked home feelin awful. i splaind to emily whut had happend, how cassandra had walked out. emily tole me to be payshunt, to real eyes how cassandra lackly wood take a while to wonta talk bout whut had happend to her, how mayhap she woodnt never wonta talk to us bout it. all i could do, she splaind, but keep my ears open n let cassandra know she could say whutever she wonted to n i woodnt make no big deal bout it. besides that, emily sed, mayhap she dint wonta be deefined by whut she dun on a counta whut had jes happend.

i generly went to bed long befor emily dun, so i thanked her fer listnin n then went to git reddy. i had me a habit of brushin my teeth n then washin my face with a hot wash cloth ever nite. i dun it n wuz about to go to bed, but then i had to check to see jes how long my eyelashes wuz.

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