By Delbert H. Rhodes
The students sit in silence as the professor completed his thought. Although a college class many of the students disbelieve what they just heard. Some of them, those with science backgrounds, comprehend but the young men, even those whom know, feel a tingle of embarrassment; snickers echo from wall to wall. The Professor stands for a while permitting everyone to ‘feel’ the question. The average age of the students: about twenty, some already past thirty, at least two in their late forties. From the rear row, a hand shoots into the air with anxious anticipation.
The Professor seeing the waving hand permits the student to speak. She asks, “Professor, are you saying that men really are women as well?” “No, Miss Goldstein.” “What I am saying is that according to Science, all hominids are ‘female’ first. (And) that the male gender occurs (possibly) accidentally.”
“You see,” the Professor continues, “as it is true that secondary sex characteristics develop later in a fetus’s formation, the male secondary sex characteristics develop, and in the opinion of ‘some’ scientists, as a matter of chance. Actually, they say, the gonads dropping through the inguinal cavity occur (relatively) by hit and miss.”
“Males are chromosomally half female. Twenty-three of the forty-six chromosomes are sex chromosomes, and half are male (XY) and half are female,” said the Professor. “The female of the human species, ‘XX’, is representative of one hundred percent chromosomal material.”
More snickers, and some of the men demonstrate discomfort. Chairs squeak as a few guys feel the need to move about. Obviously, this tid bit of news is something never to write home about. Besides, to some in the class, ‘no college Professor would decide ‘my’ manhood.’
The Professor expands on his question, he asks, “If the males in the class could forget about their egos and social behaviors for one moment, and become feelings, what would you cry about?” Scanning the class for reactions, the question obviously registers strong sentiments, even among the females. Some men tend to stare away considering a proper response. The question, the Professor thinks, is an easy one to digest. Still, no volunteers meet his challenge.
Again, Professor Langley presents the question, “If every male here could for one moment ignore social behavior, what would you cry about?” Looking around the room for at least one hand, there is none. Therefore, someone had to be chosen, “You there, Mr. Davidson, would you care to tackle the question. Help us out a little.”
“Ah, sure Professor Langley: I don’t know, I am not sure, but… maybe I would cry about losing something I liked a lot.” “Something you liked a lot,” repeated Professor Langley. “(And) what might that ‘something’ be?” (The student hoping to be off the hook by submitting his answer begins to perspire ever so slightly. Small globules of sweat blanket his brow. He casually wipes them away as if he feels totally at ease, although he feels somewhat panicky.) “Well,” Mr. Davidson begins, “I really like the watch my mother gave me for my last birthday. It is a very nice Timex. I would be awfully upset if I ever lost it.”
“I see and for how long do you believe you would ‘cry?’” The student now begins to perspire profusely, the Professor is aware of it and continues his pursuit. “Mr. Davidson, ‘how long would you ‘cry?’” Mr. Davidson, a six feet one hundred ninety five pound muscular man, feels a little intimidated. He fails to comprehend the reasoning behind the Professor’s persistence. Mr. Davidson begins to feel singled out. The Professor is relentless. “We are waiting for your answer, sir.”
Davidson reaching into his mind recalls a television program about law school. The Law Professor dug into his students in the exact manner. He did it to ‘train’ their minds to mold them to compel the best out of them. This scenario feels very much the same. Only what is Professor Langley hoping to mold ‘him’ into…a woman? Ridiculous, Davidson thinks, I am a man and not a woman and I do not care to ever become a woman-ever.
“Mr. Davidson.” Davidson, returning from his preoccupation, looks directly into the Professor’s eyes and calmly states, “For as long as it took, sir.” Professor Langley stares back at Davidson and then smiles. “Thank you Mr. Davidson.” The students snicker more but somewhat nervously this time.
From the front row, a male student beckons the Professor. The look in the guy’s eyes is eerie, almost as though he might be ‘on something.’ The student is encouraged to speak. “I was just wondering about the purpose of your scenario sir.” The Professor waits a moment permitting the entire class to digest the question.
“Purpose,” the Professor puzzles, “there was but one purpose, Mr. McCormick, and that sir, was feelings. I wanted everyone, especially Mr. Davidson, to ‘feel.’ To know how it felt to be off balance to actually sense, if you would, considerations other than the norm. I wanted him to dare to be female dare to be a woman freeing him of all social boundaries accessing deeper recesses of spirit of soul of him. Would that make him or any of you men, women, would it make you females? Of course not but it might redesign your perspectives endearing you to the other half-the females, the women here and out there in your worlds. Perhaps you would appreciate the suffrage of women, more.”
Any further responses to the question, asks the Professor. All quiet.
Professor Langley pauses and then paces the room. He studies the face of each student. The question obviously has affected them greatly, even those acquainted with biological science. He never intended to harm anyone or severely embarrass anyone but he did intend to provoke thinking and more importantly feelings. Feelings are the bases for everything human.
Considering critical thinking, feelings are the cement-holding people together. Without feelings, humans amount to little more than automatons, groping about attending task after tedious task. The human race, as we know it, would be without resolve, unsubstantial, unimaginable. Mankind would forever exist without caring.
Feelings create reality they provide depth to living and the world.
Professor Langley is acutely knowledgeable about feelings. You see the Professor is a highly intelligent man. He fails to understand how he knows and when he actually learned such things. He only knows that he feels them.
The class ends and it is the last class of his day. The Professor makes a few stops on the way home, and then he drives eastward. The streets, during the evenings, are less hurried; most travelers have honked homeward. The skyway is lovely to behold. The sun has fallen below the horizon, and a crimson tapestry fills the skies. The color is breath taking and tends to tease the heavens. Weary and worn: cloud mothers seem eager to end the day. Smaller clouds: are tiny children rallying to mother for comfort and care. In the farthest reaches, mountaintops are puffy in blankets of white.
The snowy mountains have a calming almost sensuous appeal. How lovely it all is, and the Professor absolutely adores this place. People are friendly, oh, there are the occasional problems, but minimal in occurrence, mostly minor frustrations of traffic, spousal disputes, or the like. Although once, Professor Langley recalls, a couple years back, two travelers actually severely injured each other. A fistfight ensued and blood was everywhere. Fortunately, a police cruiser was close by and an Officer handled the disturbance.
The Professor takes a merger onto the major highway, and unless problems occur, within four miles he would turn off, driving into his neighborhood. The trip is uneventful. The house lies just ahead and he feels tired.
Tall oaks line the roadway, their bushy tops tossing in the gentle breeze. Other trees display flowers of pink and white. One family of trees bears an edible seed. A shrub growing close to the ground lines the sidewalks. The plant never requires cutting. A brilliant idea, thinks the professor, the drudgeries of landscaping never his preference.
Because his neighborhood is rural, woodland animals occasion properties. Their searches are for local garden vegetables. Albeit orange trees are here, these animals are too short for the ‘reach.’ Professor Langley has never witnessed any that actually climbed for the fruits.
Imagine a day in the garden: “Hey, Chucky, do you have any coupons for cabbage?” “No, but I have three for tomatoes.” or, “Hey tall guy, claw that sweet juicy for me.” (Additionally), “Gee! Do you think the ‘humans’ will ever understand that ‘we’ (also) dislike lines?” “Probably not.”
Thankfully, the people here adore wildlife and none is injured. The neighborhood sponsors a wildlife campaign. The campaign is well known, and it is flourishing. The membership at last count is about twenty thousand. Soon the campaign would become national.
The houses boarding the street are beautiful. The models vary and they average about $400,000.00. High profile corporate types reside here. (Naturally, the Professor disavows membership.) There are Scientists, Stock Market Analysts, Insurance and other Sales Executives, Attorneys, Judges and even Educators. The Professor knows his nearest neighbors, to say hello at least, but the others he sees from time to time. Busy people never have time for aimlessness.
Professor Langley parks his car in his two-car garage. The frugal type he has little need of two vehicles. He uses the extra space for other things. Although he rarely entertains company, times exist when he welcomes an associate from work. The Professor never socializes at home for recreational purposes. Never. Visitors are restricted to the main areas only. Visits are by appointment.
The Professor’s house, a white three-story Victorian with a wraparound porch, displays black shutters and three chimneys. The roof boasts slate. The house doors, constructed of the finest redwood, are solid. The front steps are fieldstone, as are the house’s lower face, sides and rear. In the east corner of the one-acre property stands a functional water pump.
Two gardens and four fruit trees dress the land. The gardens host various vegetables, and the fruit trees provide oranges apples and peaches. The Professor enjoys fresh foods and is not a poor cook. He also enjoys a night out at a local restaurant, Mexican.
Unnecessary habitation of land is wasteful. Moreover, Professor Langley never has much time nor does he care for cutting grass. This chore he contracts out to a local lawn company. A family business, the guy and his daughter services the property once weekly. The Professor is quite satisfied with the look of the property and is thankful for the help.
A Realtor’s dream, the home provides everything for the educator researcher type. The Professor is an avid researcher and he dabbles in music and desktop publishing. He fails to recall whenever things were different. Life is good and fulfilling. Professor Langley is a very satisfied and happy man. Why would he not be?
The abode is quiet and he deposits his load (everything) to its place. He never remembers consuming any of the foods he purchases albeit, periodically, the articles require replenishment.
Touring from room to room the Professor peers into each habitable space. Although he never fears intrusions, still, he feels a responsibility to secure his surroundings. After all, this is his home and he loves and must protect it. The room he enters now is his bedroom.
The room is spacious with beautiful coloration. Vivid blues, browns, yellows, and greens. The windows are large and there are three. The windows fold inward for cleaning, although ‘he’ never cleans them. Embracing the window frames, floor length curtains permit a private view. The hardwood floor is made of the finest redwood and highly polished. Furnishings here are comfortable but not plush. The Professor is the earthy type. “I don’t ask for much and I never take more than I need,” he always says. Everything here neat and clean, the bed covers are always fresh and crisp. Order in the bedroom, as throughout the house, displays a military appeal.
Plants provide living loveliness throughout the room. Spider plants, so amply named, crawl up the wall in one corner. Professor Langley loves this room and this house. He cannot remember buying or even searching for the home. The feeling leaves him passively estranged. Again, he is without reason to question his life. His world is splendid, indeed.
The walk through completed, Professor Langley ventures downstairs to the kitchen and then opens the ‘frig.’ Naturally: the food has no effect on his appetite; he has none. The unit came with the house and therefore, has purpose. The basement is the Professor’s next stop.
This area of the residence feels cold and impersonal. No matter: For here, the Professor (always) ends his day. Besides, it is routine, why quibble over things never requiring change.
Feeling the need to stretch: the tired Professor extends his arm joints and then those of the legs. The behavior offers a sense of rejuvenation.
“Boy that feels great!”
Professor Langley ventures twice weekly to a local fitness club: he never works out but enjoys the atmosphere. The club is a splendid place and he enjoys interacting with the members. Many of the guys and gals there are championship competitors. Some even participated in the U.S. Olympics. These individuals, as does he, understand the importance of fitness… of readiness.
Once or twice monthly, at a local park, the Professor also plays Chess. There he toils with the art of engagement. Chess, although some may not know, is a game of war. A game of tactic and strategy: created by feudal warlords for explicit purposes of conquest.
The activity keeps him ‘sharp.’ The mind as well as the body requires rigorous challenge. His work certainly is challenging enough, but Chess is a different type. (The type deciding fate and fate decides all.)
Naked, Professor Langley suspends his clothing on a door hook. Next, he takes a shower. His movements are almost mechanical.
From the shower stall and through an internal door, the Professor accesses another section of the house. This area is hidden and the house’s heart.
Opposite Professor Langley and built into the wall is a control center. The equipment is impressive. The design: outstanding; the installation, entrenched; the company, unknown.
On its face are meters, dials, multicolored knobs and switches. The control board registers activity. He often wonders about the Center’s true function. Apparently, it tracks something, but what. Nevertheless, Professor Langley is comfortable with the equipment. The flashing lights, dials, knobs, and switches are as much members of the household as is he. They are family-somehow.
The Professor is thirty-five years old, and of Swedish and Norwegian ancestry. His Mother was born in Stockholm and his Father, Norway. The Professor’s Farther, a Biochemist, before retirement from active duty, had been a Colonel in the Swedish Army. (The Colonel, as do all in the region, believes preparedness and proper training to be a commitment to community and country.)
Blond hair and blue eyes standing six feet four at two hundred thirty one pounds, Professor Langley, too, is a well-trained soldier. Mano a mano he is a handful. Never the violent type, Professor Langley could skillfully defend himself, or others, on the call. The Professor remains on active reserve.
Dr. Langley, a no nonsense type, and the Professor’s Mother, is an Anatomical Physicist. The discipline relates to human and non-human systems. World Science recognizes the Doctor and she is responsible for (all) research development (at Corp. Science Headquarters).
Dr. Langley’s work is highly classified. She has been responsible for scientific projects critical to national defense. An astutely intelligent scientist her staff is exemplary, one of the best scientific teams in the nation possibly the world.
Together the Professor’s parents spend countless sleepless hours at the lab. The two are thoroughly in love with project development. Days and even weeks could go by without a visit to the homestead. Nothing, other than duty to community and country, is more important to them. Nothing. Professor Langley never hears from them anymore, and he, occasionally, feels a little sad. He realizes his parents are instrumental to military research, thus, they have little time for visitations, or, other forms of communication. Never even a phone call, but he accepts things the way they are, besides, any other way would be disorderly.
Twice yearly, however, uniforms tread his doorstep. These visits tend toward inspections: assuring that everything operates according to protocol. The Swedish Military is highly efficient.
The Professor accepted a teaching position at the university two years ago. Leaving his beloved valley in Sweden’s north was difficult. Change, nevertheless, can be inspirational. Change is embryonic it is metamorphic.
The university, located in a very beautiful but smaller region, is about one hundred miles to the south. The countryside and architecture are stupendous; the environment, as would sweet flowers, excites the senses. The teaching position ended as a great decision. Peering into the eyes of change: the Professor thinks, ‘But for the ‘human’ heart.’ With exception to community and country and research, nothing is more desirable. ‘Nothing.’
Professor Langley intends to remain at the university until retirement. After which he would have more time for research. During the past three years, a very important project consumes him. An idea the Professor and his mother originated. The military would benefit from the research; every resource imaginable is at his disposal. Completing the project is a priority, urgent.
Touching a keypad the door opens. Professor Langley enters a room; afterwards, the door automatically closes. The room measures a mere six feet by four feet. Size is unimportant (comfort being of little concern) spatial requirements are minimal. The walls of the tiny room are transparent, the outer room visible.
Within a few seconds, coldness surrounds the Professor, a grayish fog filling the air. Curiously, these effects fail to disturb him, and he remains motionless. Serenely, behind the glass doorway everything fades to blue.
Everything quiets everything peaceful everything stops.
Everything… as it has always been.
Copyright © 2006-2015 Delbert H. Rhodes