Non sequitur - A post post-modern hero

INT. CLASSROOM

STUDENT

What if I wanted to write how John Milton's Satan is a post post-modern hero? Would that still be within the limits of the assignment?

PROFESSOR

Are you asking me if you can write a paper on John Milton's Paradise Lost in a "Scholarship in the Last Fifty Years" course?

STUDENT

But I'll be using Bourdieu as a discursive lens.

Professor looks at Student wryly, then sits on the desk in front of him.


PROFESSOR

How about I answer your inquiry in the form of a story? You see, when I was thirteen, there this was essay-writing contest put on by the Food and Drugs Administration. The first place winner received $50, which back in 1976 had about the same buying power as $213 and nine cents.  The prompt was something like what is the most American pie? I wanted to argue for chicken pot pie, but I wasn't sure that it qualified, or if they were just looking for dessert pies. So I sent the FDA a letter asking for their definition. What were the exact degrees of distinction between a pie and other pocket pastries? And you know what happened?

STUDENT

What?

PROFESSOR

My parents died. I had to become man of the house. Started working two jobs and put my siblings through college. They all think I'm their father. They call me Dad. Or Papa Bear.

STUDENT

...

PROFESSOR

I tell them I'm not your father. I'm your little brother, Colin. But they won't listen. Do you get me?

STUDENT

I think so. Yeah.

Professor pats Student on his head, affectionately. There are tears in his eyes.


PROFESSOR

Derek.

STUDENT

Yeah, Dad?

PROFESSOR

Never mind.