I forgot to mention Billy Brandt’s father who was knifed fatally when he grappled with a masked intruder in his home.
One day, we had a discussion in class. They asked me, where did they go? The trees, the salamander, the tropical fish, Edgar, the poppas and mommas, Matthew and Tony, where did they go? And I said, I don’t know, I don’t know. And they said, who knows? and I said, nobody knows. And they said, is death that which gives meaning to life? And I said no, life is that which gives meaning to life. Then they said, but isn’t death, considered as a fundamental datum, the means by which the taken-for-granted mundanity of the everyday may be transcended in the direction of – I said, yes, maybe. They said, we don’t like it. I said, that’s sound. They said, it’s a bloody shame! I said, it is. They said, will you make love now with Helen (our teaching assistant) so that we can see how it is done? We know you like Helen. I do like Helen but I said that I would not. We’ve heard so much about it, they said, but we’ve never seen it. I said I would be fired and that it was never, or almost never, done as a demonstration. Helen looked out the window. They said, please, please make love with Helen, we require an assertion of value, we are frightened. I said that they shouldn’t be frightened (although I am often frightened) and that there was value everywhere. Helen came and embraced me. I kissed her a few times on the brow. We held each other. The children were excited. Then there was a knock on the door, I opened the door, and the new gerbil walked in. The children cheered wildly.