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.
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.