Friday, October 18, 2013

A Former Student Ate His Dead Girlfriend's Tit, or: The World Is a Colorful Place Full of Mysterious Degenerates

Over the past four years, I have had the distinct and unique honor of teaching adult students at several community colleges the wonders and magic of writing and oration.  These students have come from all walks of life and a variety of backgrounds: several are former members of the military, several are seeking a second career in a field much different than their first career, several are high school dropouts who completed the GED program and now want an Associate's Degree (and even a Bachelor's later on), many are parents with delightful children and more than a few are 'former' criminals and convicts: a couple of 'reformed' drug dealers, an actual pimp who made young ladies work they asses good and, most recently, a man in his late 40's who murdered his ex-girlfriend (while under the influence of a powerful cocktail of drugs and booze) by stabbing her multiple times with a kitchen knife, stripping her naked, cannibalizing her one lady lump and then keeping her corpse in the bathtub for days.

Now, about this whole Tit-Eating thing: when this ex-convict was in my class, I had no idea he had this kind of history.  I rarely, if ever, do.  Students come into my classes - some in their twenties, most a lot older than me - and it's not as if the main office hands me a dossier with their life histories, criminal records and psychological test results.  It isn't until much later (if then) that I find out from other meddling, gossip-y instructors about the nature of some of the student clientele.  I was in the faculty room, and one of the other teachers (a professor of business) was talking to a colleague about this particular murderer.  It essentially came down to "You know about [student name]?  He has quite the checkered past."  I informed both of these instructors that he was in my class over the summer, and actually a decent, if quiet, student.  Ever the skeptic, I wondered how on Earth someone like this was not only allowed to be let out of prison, but was allowed to you know, take classes ... or take classes with me, to be specific.  I was told that he served his 20+ year sentence and was freed (under some kind of supervision).

The crime was committed in a neighboring state in the early 80's, he was only a teenager at the time and the heavy amount of narcotics he was taking contributed to his deranged state.  Since then he was a "model prisoner," turned to Jesus and wanted to positively contribute to society.  My reaction of shock and disbelief was certainly understandable: why is this man not locked the hell up?  Like forever?  What kind of judicial system lets cannibals out to roam the streets?  I understand he served his sentence, but who in God's name is going to hire this PCP-lovin' mammary muncher?  When I got home, I immediately rifled through my collected materials from this person.  It turns out the essays he gave me for class were ... well, they were quite normal.  For his process-analysis essay, he wrote about how to fix and do maintenance on a bicycle.  For his 'personal narrative,' he wrote about a friend from high school who joined the Army.  I was waiting to read something in there that 'gave away' his nefarious and disgusting past, but there was zilch, nada and nothing.  He wrote, and forgive me for saying it, like an adjusted individual past middle age.  The pimp I had in class?  He was ever so vocal about his 'methods,' and even offered to loan me one of his honeys (I politely declined).  The guy who robbed an armored car in NYC and served time in federal prison?  He couldn't talk enough about it.  The dominatrix who told me I looked like Jude Law (in a very noble attempt to get an A out of me even though I knew she was full of shit)?  Her process-analysis essay was about how to tie up a john.  But there was no way this fellow was going to write about eating part of his dead girlfriend.

When I told friends and family about this, lots of eyebrows were raised.  Are you sure?  (Sadly, yes.)  Were these other teachers who told you this making it up?  (Sadly, no.)  Why is this guy on the street?  Did you know?  I mean, if I was aware that someone is capable of this level of deviant behavior would I have treated him any differently than I did or graded him differently?  I certainly wouldn't have probed deeper (to quote one generally inebriated, perpetually stoned acquaintance: "You could have asked him what it tasted like!"), but I most likely would have been more cautious around him (though, as I recall, no one in class - some of whom had to have known - minded sitting next to him).  It just raises so many questions: what drugs were you on, exactly?  What did she do to make you stab her?  Were people in prison scared shitless of you?  When you turned to Jesus did he do a spit-take?  What company is going to look at your permanent record and say, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is cool as fuck, we need someone like you hanging around the office."  He better not ask me for a letter of recommendation.

In teaching this individual, I apparently checked off an entry on my non-existent Bucket List I didn't know should be in there.  Future students: the bar has been set.  You have to collectively up your psychopathic game. You have a lot to compete with.

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