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Roc of Ages - Essay Example

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My first impression of High School was the yawning double doors beckoning entrance, yet blocked by a towering denim clad flannel shirt with one arm cutoff to reveal a missing limb, a laser like scrutiny glinting in his eyes. He was a formidable wall, with a gaze fixed on every detail…
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Roc of Ages My first impression of High School was the yawning double doors beckoning entrance, yet blocked by atowering denim clad flannel shirt with one arm cutoff to reveal a missing limb, a laser like scrutiny glinting in his eyes. He was a formidable wall, with a gaze fixed on every detail. I sheepishly moved aside being careful to avoid eye contact and blending into the crowd funneling through the scant opening left beside the man's immense stature. Was this the school principle Certainly the principle would have been more appropriately dressed so as I hurriedly shuffled to my first class I imagined he was a parent making sure his poor intimidated delinquent child actually showed up on this most important first day of class. To my surprise, my first period teacher revealed the identity of the mystery man when she announced that she was sure we had all met the doorman, Roc.
"Don't try to skirt the dress code" she explained. "And don't be late. Roc likes punctuality". According to the school board classification Roc was the custodian, but as time passed she said we would come to view him as much more than just a simple janitor. She had no reservations in informing us that Roc was not only here to restore order to the mess left behind by students with social skills still stuck in elementary school, but he was also here to teach a class that wasn't offered in any classroom. That subject was humility, humanity, and modesty. I panicked. I wasn't even prepared for biology, much less a class taught by a one armed custodian, not even on my schedule as to where or when it met.
As the first year progressed, I did however, have many opportunities to attend Roc's classes. He was assistant coach for the football team, throwing and catching with one arm as great as Johnny Unitas. He held class in the hallway, on the football field, and at the front door. I was surprised to learn he had a degree in animal psychology and was always willing to be a tutor for any needy student. I once asked him why he didn't work as an animal psychologist and he informed me that he was. High school students are like wild animals. They are unpredictable and have no sense of orderly direction by any human standard. They need conformed, not by force but by example.
He never offered a story about how he lost his arm, but as I came to know him I worked up the courage to ask him about the tragic loss. He simply said he lost it in the Army in a rice paddy near Bien Hoa. My curiosity, working overtime, imagined a firefight with guns blazing as he took out several enemy soldiers. Roc told me that his war wasn't like a John Wayne movie, he was simply a medic dragging an injured soldier to safety when a shell exploded beside them. He, his surviving arm, and the wounded man had managed to make it to the waiting medical evacuation helicopter and both soldiers were lifted safely away from the hostile action.
He had returned to school, got a degree, but never felt comfortable hemmed in by classroom walls or institutional restrictions. Yet, Roc never complained about his loss. He never let it stand in the way of doing what needed to be done. With one arm he could mop a floor, throw a football, or tell you the formula for a Continuous Fourier Transformation. Every student that passed through that school learned something from Roc. Roc was like our school's rock. He was the anchor that kept students grounded, away from arrogance and the pompous attitude of indifference. Read More
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