Back in High School I was forced by the powers that be in the Seminole County Public School system to take an elective art class for a credit.  For some reason the bureaucracy that was the School Board deemed this a necessary course and thus thrust people like me, with zero artistic talent, to take it.  I can tell you this, never in my adult life when at an interview or applying for a job did the recruiter demand I draw a perfect 3-d table or sketch a pineapple.  I’m not saying that learning how to draw is pointless, but in the pool of life skills one needs to survive this modern world it’s about as useful as a shark is as a floatation device.

So, reluctantly, I took this course.   It did not go well,  it did not go well at all.

The first assignment was to draw a table, sounds simple enough right?  Well not for me, I suffer from a particular retardation that seems to make me incapable of drawing anything properly, straight lines, even basic shapes like circles come out looking like spaghetti noodles.  There was one thing I could draw though, and that was the majestic beast of the western United States… the mighty Bison. 

So floofy…

I do not know where I discovered this intense burning talent I possessed to draw the Bison.  Perhaps I was imbued with the spirits of all the Bisons slain by western settlers who cried for one man to make people remember their proud majestic existence upon birth, it could be that I was born under the long lost Bison constellation, or maybe the Bison is my spirit animal eternally watching over me.  All I know is that my Bison-drawing skills were my only chance at passing this class.  Sure I couldn’t draw a bike, or a person’s face… the actual assignments the teacher gave us, but damn it I could draw all sorts of Bisons.

Draw a table?  I drew a Bison playing poker.  Draw the weather?  Bison in the rain.  Draw an abstract concept?  The regression of man as witnessed by a bison.  To explain that last one, I drew man… well as good of a facsimile of man as I could muster slowly turning back into an ape while on a hill in the background a lone bison watches over it.  Draw a still life?  Stuffed Bison.  Draw a 3-D shape?  I drew a bison inside a shaky retarded looking sphere.  I dubbed that one, by the way, ‘the trapped Bison.’  Each time I did this my grade got progressively worse, not better.  The teacher said I wasn’t taking the class seriously on my report card.  I never thought I’d see the day that an art teacher would discourage one student’s talent because it was unconventional.  I felt hurt, betrayed, and angry.  I cursed my Bison-drawing skills, if only I could have translated it into other drawings… but alas, Bison was all I knew.  I felt like… a lone Bison in the rain.

The true face of sorrow.

Once it became fairly obvious that this art ‘teacher’ was intent on grading us based on drawing ability I ceased my efforts to try and pass the class, now it was just a matter of spite.  After explaining that all I knew how to draw was Bisons and anything else came out retarded she was unfazed and convinced I was mocking her.  Left with no other option but to trudge on with my art I turned every assignment into Bisons.  Not matter what she threw at me I was confidant I could overcome it with my endless capacity for drawing Bisons.  Draw a world?  Bison Planet (all the buildings were fluffy and had horns).  Draw the night sky?  The Bison Constellation.    Draw a food?  Bison eating spaghetti.   By this point the teacher refused to even accept my drawings as gradable assignments.  She’d return them to me with a big fat zero, damaging the value of my art.  So rude.

It was a game we played for 2 months, a game of cat and bison.  She’d try to come up with some weird assignment for me, I’d find a way to include Bisons.  Finally the day of the last assignment came.  She informed the class it could be about anything we wanted it to be, as long as it incorporated an landscape and on the chalk board as well as the print-out she gave to the class it said in BIG RED LETTERS:

The gauntlet had been thrown. I knew what I had to do, and thus I concocted my greatest masterpiece yet.  I drew the sweeping plains of the mid-west full of animal-like shapes all moving and breathing with life.  From the flowing streams full of salmon which decended from the snow-capped rocky mountains to the skys where eagles playfully darted between the low-hanging clouds the scene was bursting with the majesty of nature.  Yet, in the corner, under the shade of a tree… stood a lone Bison.  A single tear falling down it’s powerful and rugged wooly face.  The title of this work I wrote across the bottom in cursive handwriting to enhance the effect… ‘The Excluded Bison.’  I struck a blow that day, a blow for all who would forget the reign of the beautiful Bison that used to dominate the plains.  The spirits of the Bisons looked down on me from Bison heaven that day content to finally move on.  My duty had been fulfilled and it felt a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  A great wooly weight.

Oh and I got a big fat F for the class.

Drawn on an index card in 4 minutes with a ballpoint pen. #Bisons4Lyfe

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