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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Aaah culture!

My first day of class, in College (actually University of Siena) I can never forget. I was sitting in History of Music.
My teacher was explaining something and went on and on rambling about proportions mentioning the Bed of Procuste (or procuste's bed?) heh as an metaphor. Twentyfive little questionmarks sprouted over the student's heads. He stopped, seeing those doubtful eyes and figured: they don't know what they are talking about!
So he turned to the classroom and asked: how many of you come from classica studies high school?
Some twenty odds hands were raised. The he asked: is there anyone amongst you who know what "the bed of Procuste" is?
My littel hand shows up. SO he asks me and I tell him the story of this giant/bandit that used to stop people in the middle of the forest and put them on a bed... and if they were too short he would stretch them and if they were to long he would cut them... in order to fit the bed. Then one day Hercules came by... and proveided him with the same nice service.
The my teacher asked me: what school do you come from?
And I replied, shy: ITC (Institute of math and accounting)
He started laughing: I should take more accountants in my classes from now on.

Culture... mhhh... or curiosity... or presonal gratification.

Another time, I was in Medieval History class and my teacher Duccio Balestracci (hello Duccio! ^_^) was talking about the 100 years war. So he came up with a monologue from Henry the V, (sorry I don't know it too well in English... all my Shakespeare I learned in italian when I was 16) the saint Crispin and Crispian (?) one. Somehow a line in that monologue says "I was there"... so while my teacher is saying "on that day they will say... on that day''... and I utter "I was there".

"Who said that?" he asked. I stood up and apologized. He smiled. "You were there? You don't look that old at all!"

Ha ha ha... but that very same person a few weeks later cracked a joke: History is already complicated as it is, you should not make it worse by telling it in the wrong order. (Once again my apologies for the translations from Italian to English, of something that was originally English).
Is he reallysaying what he is saying? I asked myself.... and he challenged us: who said that? who said that?
Names of philosophers and historians came out from all over the room. Then he looked at me: You are so quiet.
If I may talk... (I asked for permission)... I think I know the answer: It's Anacleto, the hooter, from Disney's the sword in the stone.

Isn't Anacleto just a wonderful name, for a wise bird, by the way?

That teacher and I became friends. When I went to Disneyland and Disneyworld I sent him postcards.
When I went to Italy with my friends, 3 years ago, and took Grace to see the Palio in Siena, I saw him. He was parading with his Contrada del Nicchio(quartier of the shell) and I called out for him: Professor!
He turned to me and smiled: My dear, thank you for the postcards...

I sent those out to him four years earlier... after four years he still remembered ... and first tought was to thank me.

Ah, culture is a nice thing... but more than general, good, solid culture... personal, individual culture is nice! We cannot know everything, our brain is not meant for that, but it is nice to know what we know... it is funny to see how selective our brain can be with the things we like and dislike. Some people know more about this, others about that.. others know a little bit of everything... or there's the ones who know all about one thing.

Personalized culture, what a great thing!

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