Monday, August 30, 2010

The Oil Filter Wrench

A couple years ago, I had to wade through some gen ed classes. I thought, "This will be interesting. But it will be like having an oil filter wrench in my toolbox when I don't plan on being an auto mechanic." Little did I know that the oil filter wrench would come in handy.

Two years ago, I took a Contemporary Appalachian Lit class. Great class. Most difficult exams I ever had to take (part of the exam was to identify 30 quotes from the 30 readings for that section of the semester, title and author of the piece and which character said it). One of the readings was Robert Morgan's "Poinsett's Bridge", an historical fiction piece about a self-taught mason who worked on the real Poinsett's Bridge in South Carolina in the 1800's.

Fast forward to this semester. This is where the oil filter wrench comes is. I am taking the last of my History electives or "Upper Level Distribution" classes - the History of Appalachia. We have to do a book review. I immediately think, Robert Morgan. "Poinsett's Bridge" is in a collection of Morgan stories, but he has written other books. "Gap Creek" is another novel by Morgan. Badda-bing, badda-boom - I ask my prof about it and he okays the book for the book review. Easy read, great story, quintessential Appalachia. I'm not an auto mechanic, but thanks to Dr. Russell Wilhelm, I just happened to have an oil filter wrench in my toolbox that I was able to use again. Who knows, maybe I'll need it sometime in the future as well.

So, what about you? Are you exasperated with taking those classes that seem to have very little to do with your major or your minor? Don't dismiss them. They may be the odd-looking tool in your academic toolbox, but someday, you'll be glad you took them. Besides, an oil filter wrench can always double as an egg ring. Just sayin'. Stay tuned . . . .

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