Memoir of a Plyg:
EDIFICATION at Utah’s
Hurricane High School
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.Nietzsche
MY LIFE’S STRENGTHENING *
Hey, I was supposed to spend my life on the Riviera drinking wine. So what am I doing in front of you reciting this rhyme about Life’s strengthening, BIG TIME; and living to tell about it, line by line?
Nietzsche said what doesn’t kill us,
Strengthens us in time;
I should be mighty strong, then,
And doin’ fine!
Samples of my strengthening came in 1953:
When I was seven, the small polygamist enclave wherein I lived (Short Creek, Arizona/AKA: Colorado City/Hill Dale, Utah) was raided by lawmen: Utah and Arizona’s police-action effort to rid their borders of the growing menace of polygamy’s lawlessness.
During this police activity, everyone in Short Creek’s reclusive cult was taken into captivity. The men were incarcerated, including their self-proclaimed Prophet LeRoy Johnson. During their jail time, Daddy saw “Uncle Roy” do things “no prophet would ever do!”
So, when freed in 1956, Daddy moved his family to nearby mainstream-Mormon Hurricane, Utah — a small agrarian town where no “Plyg Kid”/Mormon fundamentalist should ever have lived — due to most mainline Mormons’ intolerance of Mormon Fundies.
However, we lived there five years; experiencing painful persecution perpetrated by most of Hurricane’s mainline Mormon teachers and classmates alike—so-called “Latter-Day Saints”/LDS who abandoned polygamy in 1890.”
But my Mormon-Fundy Pa’s stance on this was:
“The Prophet Joseph Smith said we’d be damned if we didn’t live polygamy! So I’ll be damned if I’ll be damned for giving it up!”
So he didn’t. So his kids were damned to suffer for it. So we did! So the following is an example of what I endured due to my fanatic parents’ decisions; and the small-town’s general ostracism toward “Plygs”/Mormon Fundies.
In 8th grade, in a wild attempt to displace me, a Plyg, with a mainstream Mormon kid—so I wouldn’t again end up in the town’s paper as top student—my “Latter-Day-Saint” English teacher Ms. Naegle told us, only four days before the end of the school year:
“Your homework this week is to memorize the whole 105 English prepositions! Anyone who doesn’t memorize them … in order … from A to Z … BY FRIDAY … WILL get an ‘F’ as their final grade!”
So sure was she nobody could do this maniacal assignment, she figured it would get me, Miss Plyggy, out of position as “Best Student.”
She was almost right: Nobody but me did it!
I pert-near met my Maker; but succeeded in memorizing that whole list of nonsense words — on top of homework from other classes; and after-school chores.
Come Friday, I was fit to be tied!
My brain was fried!
But I recited the whole 105
Without a glitch.
It didn’t please the old witch;
She almost died
When her eighty-four 8th graders cried:
“Nobody but Beulah (Stephany) memorized
Those 105 prepositions,
Though we all tried!”
So I, “Inferior Fundy” in their eyes,
Again beat all the little Saints,
Avoided an “F” as my “prize;”
Instead, garnered the
“Preposition Pulitzer Prize”!
But Miss Naegle didn’t recognize me;
Didn’t give an “F” to her other eighty-three–
Though they failed the assignment miserably;
Didn’t even let on she’d ever assigned
Horrendous homework this unkind!
Since then, the only thing I find memorizing those prepositions has been good for is mesmerizing captive audiences like you!
So here goes “The 105 English Prepositions” —
the world’s longest, albeit irrational, cuss-word:
At-about-above-aboard-across-according to-along-alongside-against-among-amongst-amid-amidst-around-after-before-behind-below-beneath-beside-besides-between-betwixt-beyond-but-because of-by-by way of-by means of-by reason of-by virtue of-concerning-considerin-down-during-despite-due to-‘ere-except-excepting-for-from-in-into-instead of-in care of-in case of-in front of-in place of-in spite of-in accordance with-in reference to-in preference to-in regard to-in regards to-in respect to-in addition to-like-‘mid-‘midst-near-‘neath-notwithstanding-of-off-on-onto-on account of-on top of-over-o’er-out-outside-past-‘round-respecting-regarding-since-save-sans-to-towards-through-throughout-’till-unless-until-up-upon-unto-under-underneath-via-versus-Vs.-with-within-without-with respect to or for-without respect to or for-with reference to-without reference to-with preference to-without preference for!
*This concludes the 105-Prepositions-homework assignment.
For more mesmerizing essays on my life’s edification/ education, see my web logs (blogs/essays) at StephanySpencer.com—Stephany with a “Y.”
Comments on my California Writers Club
Open-Mic Preposition Presentation:
God does things for a reason. He does have a wonderfully foolproof sense of humor… as do you. You made me laugh Thursday at Open Mic like I haven’t laughed in oh so long!
Your rendition was a perfect little piece of genius … and your recitation at the end was brilliant. It did nothing but add to the piece.
I have done loads of theatre, film and literary reviews; but your amazing preposition rendition was unusual, exhilarating new stuff; and literally brought me back to life.
It may have and probably did save my life…your leaning over my shoulder at the end of the reading and telling me that I “ought to be one of the poet laureates” really made me feel good — I mean better than I have felt for a long, long time. This morning I feel like myself for the first time in many years. ~Rad