Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What's in a Name?

Those of you who attended our most recent session of the Blog DeCal may have noticed that I was a bit...still. I was sitting in the hallway with my back straight against the wall and my knees pointing towards the ceiling, supporting my arms and clenched fists on top of them. My reflective sunglasses covered my eyes, and so you most likely thought that I was enjoying a most pleasant nap. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. You see, I was cursed by a most unusual enchantment which rendered my body motionless, save for my eyes. Had you taken off my sunglasses, you would have seen my open eyes staring back at you, but my body unable to do a thing about it.

The most peculiar thing was, I placed this spell upon myself.

...In the beginning of August, all potential hall staff members had to go through training. Part of this training included a retreat. While on this retreat, we were told to find a rock to keep with us (we would later learn that the rock represented negative thoughts and such, but that's irrelevant). Everyone found a different rock. Some found pebbles, others took small boulders. My rock turned out to be a healthy-sized piece of quartz. Once we had our rocks, we were left to our own devices.

Almost immediately, what was the first thing everyone did? Name the rocks, of course. Some went with the kindergarten-esque "Mr. Rock" while others tried all sorts of names, from "Stony McBrickface" to "Jeff." I personally named my quartz the intellectual "Ichabod." And with each name came each rock's character. We now felt attached to the rocks since they had names. Many of us could scare bare to lose them. Indeed, little Ichabod is still sitting atop my microwave.

Names have an important power. From the classic tale of Rumpelstiltskin to the princess in the lamentably dull The NeverEnding Story, names have played an important part in the psyche. Because they have meanings, they add to someone's character, even if it may not seem to fit at first. Names are idenity, for sure, but they do so much more. They give life to a character. For example, even if you've never seen him before, you can still get an idea of who Snidely Whiplash is based on his name.

I was thinking about these things as I got out early from my IDS 110 class. And as I sat down outside the door to our Barrows classroom at 4:45, I thought to myself, "You know, I shall become inanimate, lifeless, and still until someone gives me life by saying my name."

And so I did.

It didn't matter how one said my name. It could be gently, as in, "Andrew, are you asleep?" It could be more firm, like, "Andrew! Wake up!" It could be casual: "Hey, Andrew!" Hell, I'd accept it if I could make out my name in my peripheral hearing. Of course, I was listening to music at the time, limiting my auditory capacity, and I couldn't take out my ear buds; I was immobilized, after all.

As people were walking into the classroom, some looked at me. Good, I thought, they're acknowledging my paralysis. Maybe they'll say my name. It didn't happen that way, of course. Most just walked right by, letting a "sleeping" dog lie. Others attempted to communicate nonverbally, via hand gestures, or perhaps a friendly poke in the shoulder. But still, they remained silent.

Oh, I figured it would last for no longer than 25 minutes. After all, that's when the class would start. I figured Miguel would arrive and say to me, "Andrew, the class is starting," thereby freeing me from my prison. But, as Fate would have it, Miguel didn't arrive. That meant that class wouldn't be starting anytime soon. That meant that my predicament had grown dire. If everyone gave up and left, without saying my name, I might be stuck in Barrows for...well, for much longer than I would have liked.

My body became sore. Humans are not meant to remain in one immovable position long, particularly when that position involves resting your tail bone on the floor. Even my hands began moaning in agony from remaining clenched. I needed to move, but I couldn't. Try as I might, I...just...couldn't. The stony enchantment held firm.

Then, people began leaving. First, it was the group in the hall. I was hoping for a "Goodbye, Andrew," or even a, "Damn, that Andrew is a lazy ass." Anything as long as it had my name. But alas, I was left behind like a three-legged puppy. Then more people began leaving the classroom. A few turned and waved to the "sleeping" child ("Perhaps he's not asleep at all; maybe he's just in a bad mood."), but kept their lips shut tight. My name, you bastards! my mind and eyes shouted behind my sunglasses, Just say the name! Before long, I realized that essentially everyone had left. I was left with only one out.

Thankfully, he pulled through.

As Chris walked out, he knelt down and said, quite simply, "Hey, Andrew." Immediately my head jerked, making a small popping sound in my neck. I then proceeded to slough off the stone skin which had been covering my own. While stretching my arms, I happened to glance at my watch, and saw that it was 5:38.

Me: "53-minutes. I've been like that for 53 agonizing minutes."
Chris: "Sleeping?"
Me: "No, just motionless until someone said my name. Thanks."

And with that, we parted ways. Chris may have been confused, but I was simply happy to be mobile again. The life of a nameless rock...that's not the life for me.


Unknown said...

you know, i could undertsand naming my dogs (Chyna and Torrie), my cat (Balzac), my fish (rebel), my car (saratoga) but a rock? that's just not civilized.

Andrew Schnorr said...

You probably wouldn't have liked it in 1975 then...

Unknown said...

God Damn Pet Rocks...
stupid! they were so stupid! they...


forget it. i'm going to eat dinner...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.