Menagerie (Zoo) by Kenney Mencher
Kenney's into whispering these days. I asked him about it, and here's his response. Now I'd like to know how he's managed in one painting to recapture my eighth grade social studies teacher, Bud Camfield (that's him in the blue suit) and the chick from down the hall in my dorm. I thought the world of her back then because she'd hug you just for asking, and she felt like a full body pillow. But back to Bud Camfield. He'd gone a little goofy in the head, which is why the school district demoted him from principal to teacher. I thought the world of him, too, and not because he'd give us hugs. Even in the 70s, teachers weren't that dumb. No, Mr. Camfield rocked because he once took me aside and said, "Doug, you and I are the two greatest people I know. You're special and I'm special." Which would have been, you know, a real Mr. Rogers moment, except he followed it up with, "And don't leave your education to the schools. You're better than that. You have to look for culture, Doug. Listen to music, read the classics." And then he wandered off, talking to himself. I took his advice to heart. When I got home that day, I ransacked my parents' record collection looking for something that might qualify as a 'classic'. Hmm. Barbra Streisand? Petula Clark? Andy Williams? Finally, I found something that looked suspiciously high brow: George Gershwin's An American in Paris. All orchestral, no words -- this had to be culture. Shortly thereafter, I hit the library and somehow found Benvenuto Cellini's autobiography. In time, that led me to The Agony and the Ecstacy, as well as someone's biography of Da Vinci. I picked up a Shakespeare collection and forced myself through Julius Caesar. That summer, I read Crime and Punishment, The Stranger, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and a whole bunch of other great stuff besides. Thanks, Mr. Camfield. D.