simplebooklet thumbnail

Chapter One O Captin My Captin I wasn t going to look into the bums eyes Not even a passing glance The streets of Philadelphia had too many people begging for spare change and as I walked out of the train station and towards the city I made a conscious effort to ignore every one of them to avoid their guilt inducing stares You see as a veteran teacher I had spent a career looking into my students eyes It was core to my teaching philosophy and contributed to my success in the classroom At least twice per class period you should look each student in the eyes I d often tell new teachers Let them know you care Acknowledge their presence show them you see them Look and they exist Indeed I could never ignore their eyes in my classroom and in the hallways at our school and that unbridled empathy for all eventually cost me dearly but I could look away on the streets of Philadelphia And I did Each beggar I passed I passed with a defiant unspoken persistence My world Your world I exist You don t At the corner of 22nd and Market however one beggar crossed the boundary He was younger in his early 20s and he was sitting on the ground just a few feet ahead of me He was reading what looked like an old anthology Once again I made a conscious effort to avert my gaze My world Your world O Captain My Captain he said as I approached him 17
Chapter One   O Captin  My Captin   I wasn t going to look into the bums  eyes. Not even a passing glance. The streets of ...
Two Burnouts Walks Into a Coffee Shop Though his remark was odd a homeless person quoting Walt Whitman I kept walking But the irony here I was an English teacher trying to escape my classroom and a beggar was hurling Whitman s O Captain My Captain one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite poets directly at me I needed the escape It had been a tough school year thus far and I was physically mentally and emotionally drained The day before I had been to my doctor s office where he diagnosed me with extreme exhaustion You ve been hit with the Helper s Curse he said his tone serious You ve burned out badly Get off the treadmill Now So at the urging of my wife I called in sick the next day and took the hour long Keystone train to Philadelphia where I explored the city drank copious cups of coffee and thought about my situation I needed to stop to get away from the English teaching world which is why the homeless guy spouting Whitman gave me pause O Captain My Captain he repeated again as I passed his voice growing louder But my back was already toward him and I kept walking After all my wife s instructions were clear This trip was about me About my health About my life I exist You don t I had spent the day as planned I got lost in an old book shop I enjoyed an espresso at 9 a good cup of coffee at 10 a bad cup of coffee at noon and at 2 and at 4 I chatted with a retired police officer explored an obscure art museum and threw a penny on Ben Franklin s grave both for luck and as a token of passive aggressiveness you know a penny saved and all I didn t think much about the homeless guy or Whitman or my job until I approached 22nd and Market again quite by accident honestly on my way back to the Amtrak station I 18
Two Burnouts Walks Into a Coffee Shop  Though his remark was odd   a homeless person quoting Walt Whitman    I kept walkin...
Chapter One saw him from a short distance away and was anticipating that he would say something He saw me and I averted my eyes O Captain My Captain he said again Sorry bud I said without looking or stopping I m not your Captain You re right he said his voice slowing But you were my teacher I stopped and turned my head just a bit He smiled Mr Hansei It s Bobby Bobby Bradley Bobby Bradley And thus began my journey out of the cave 19
Chapter One  saw him from a short distance away and was anticipating that he would say something. He saw me, and I averted...