Sunday, July 09, 2006

Literacy Success Story #8

Literacy Success Story #8 - from the notes of a reading teacher working with illiterate adults. The year is 1989, and Barbara Bush, like so many dutiful first ladies, is pushing a big literacy campaign.

Student #122 - Doug, construction worker, Springfield, MO.

Doug, 23, came to the program to improve his reading so he could advance in the construction trade. He was a general laborer and needed to learn how to read plans and blueprints to have any chance of promotion. Doug drank a little and had recently become separated from his wife of five years and his two children. He was living on his own for the first time and fashioned himself as a bit of a ladies' man.

The program director took him on as a student until a good volunteer could step in, but since most of the good reading tutors were young women, it took a while. After three months of twice-weekly instruction, Doug was starting to make some progress, but his late night carousing was also starting to take its toll. He began canceling appointments.

It was at this time that a new reading tutor came along that was able to take over Doug's instruction. Diana was a tough biker chick that had been in the merchant marine and now tended bar at the Silver Leaf on Republic Road. She had dropped out of high school but had worked hard to pass the GED. She wanted to do something to help somebody and give something back.

Doug and Diana had been meeting for several weeks when the program director received a phone call from Doug. He was very upset. Apparently the tutoring sessions with Diana had gotten a little off topic, and he had somehow come down with a case of gonorrhea. Doug took this hard. His doctor had recommended an AIDS test as well, which scared the hell out of Doug given the fact that he'd fucked no fewer than a dozen women in the last three months - and he had to wait an excruciating two days for the test results.

To sum up, the test was negative, and Doug subsequently moved back in with his wife and kids, gave up drinking and found Jesus as his personal savior. Despite our best effort, Doug still couldn't read worth a damn, but the literacy program had once again yielded a stirring success story.


MC said...

Hilarious. And so sad and true.

By the way, do you know your page has some kind of fantasy worth? And yours is up!

RSmith said...

So I guess that means it's not totally worthless, though some might argue.

Thanks for the note.

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