Saturday, August 20, 2011

English 1102, The 5 Sentence Challenge

Or, "Midgets in the oil wrestling industry, a Ryan Butler request."

You're probably wondering what a freshman level English class and oiling wrestling midgets could possibly have in common.

I'm going to ignore that question, and start with another one:  Why would an undergraduate senior, with almost 240 credit hours to her name, be taking a freshman level English class?  Well, way back when I was a senior in high school, I took the AP English exam in Louisiana and blew the top out of it, meaning that I was given credit for the entire first year of English in college.  When I transferred to JMU is Virginia, they accepted that.  But when I transferred to Troy, they wouldn't.  In fact, I'm in the process of contacting the AP group to have them send a copy of my original test results (from over a decade ago) directly to Troy for $35, so that Troy will grant me credit for 1101.  But Troy doesn't accept AP scores for 1102.  So even though I have English credit for 2205 (as well as several other higher level English classes), here I am, taking 1102.

As whiny as the above explanation sounds, I'm actually pleased as a peach to be taking the class.  I -like- English and reading and writing, and, well... learning in general.  So this class is far from being a burden, and (with the exception of costing me $325 per credit hour) I'm thinking of it as a blessing and an opportunity.

All of that to say that my first day of class yesterday, my instructor was saying that the way to become a better writer, is to write.  He then said, "Imagine that I tell you to pull out a piece of paper and write down 5 sentences about music.  Then he quickly ticked off: "I listen to music all the time.  Music is in my soul.  I like to play the guitar.  Music makes the workout go faster.  My favorite genre of music is...."  Then he said, "Now I tell you, turn each of those sentences into a paragraph.  That's the fun part.  The way to become a better writer is just to write.  About anything."

And so that brings us to, 'Midgets in the Oil Wresting Industry.'  About a month ago, I was looking at my blog and realized that if I just did a couple more blogs that day, I would do more blogs in one week than I did in the entire previous month.  I turned to facebook and sent out a request to my friends, "What would you like me to blog about?" retrospect, I should have remembered that many of my friends are funny smart asses.  Ryan Butler, I count you amongst these.  And so tonight, I have decided to take on my English 1102  Five Sentence Challenge by taking on your topic request, Ryan.  Here we go.

1.  I know very little about the Oil Wrestling Industry.

2.  I know the difference between a dwarf and a midget.

3.  I anticipate that you were actually asking about dwarves in the Oil Wrestling Industry.

4.  Midget is actually a derogatory term.

5.  Until I was 12, my entire family (including me) thought that I was going to be a midget.

I know very little about the Oil Wrestling Industry.  The very first thing I did, when I saw that it was a possible topic, was to research it online.  I'm fairly certain you were talking about the female oil wrestling, which is ranked right up there with pudding and mud wrestling.  But I also discovered that oil wrestling is a sport in Turkey performed by the men as a real competition.  It has been passed down as a traditional sport, and was even performed in the middle ages.  The men would oil themselves up with olive oil to make them harder to grip.  I'm certain this is also true in the female version, but it probably plays on lesbian fantasies.  I'm also fairly certain that watching the Turkish men do it leads to absolutely no lesbian fantasies at all.

I know the difference between a dwarf and a midget.  Dwarfism is a medical condition that results in a person being extremely short with disproportionate body parts.  This typically means that they have the head and torso of a 'normal' person their age, but that they have shortened arms, legs, feet, hands, and digits.  It is a hereditary genetic condition that can lead to other health risks.  What dwarves and midgets have in common is that they are under four foot, eight inches tall.  Midgets are no taller than this, but they are proportionately built.  Because they are proportionate, they are sometimes considered to be child sized, even when they are full grown adults.  The term 'midget' only applies to humans, while the term 'dwarf' applies to humans, animals and plants.

 I anticipate that you were actually asking about dwarves in the Oil Wrestling Industry.  I greatly enjoyed watching So You Think You Can Dance this season.  I mention that because every time the dancers stood beside Cat Deeley, I would think, "Wow!  They are so -short-!"  A quick google search shows that Cat Deeley is 5'9", and in some instances, she would tower at least a foot over the dancer standing beside her.  But when the dancers were all on the stage performing with each other, they were all within the same height range and no one appeared to be a midget.  Based on the height restriction above, it's obvious that several of these dancers could be classified as midgets.  All of that is to say that if everyone wresting was between 4'6" and 5', you wouldn't really notice if there were any midgets.  Regardless of their actual height though, you would definitely notice if one or more of them were a dwarf.

Midget is actually a derogatory term.  It originates from the word midge, meaning small fly, and taken further back, shares roots with the word mosquito.  It was coined in the mid 1800s to distinguish very short proportionate people from dwarves and was commonly used up into the late 20th century.  It eventually came to mean dwarves put on display for public ridicule. ( )  It is now accepted as a term of prejudice against short people.  (As an interesting aside in the wikipedia link, check out how this term has very much traveled the Euphemism treadmill.)

Until I was 12, my entire family (including me) thought that I was going to be a midget.  I can still very clearly remember being 12 and going up to the counter at the bank.  I had to stand on my tiptoes to put my chin on the counter.  At 7 1/2 years old, I was 3 1/2 feet tall.

Me at 7 1/2.  Am I about to completely ignore that I'm posing in 2 paper bags?  Absolutely.  This is just for a height comparison with that door knob to my left (;
My youngest son was taller than my 7 1/2 year old height when he was about to turn 4.  I very clearly remember my Grandma Betty telling my mother sadly, as though I wasn't in the room, that she was certain I would never make it to 5' tall.  When I hit my growth spurt at 12 and shot up over that 5' mark, I actually did a happy dance...well...not actually -during- the growth spurt.  I was too busy outgrowing my shoes every 2 weeks and tripping down the stairs because I wasn't used to the size of my body at the time.  But once I reached my final adult height of 5 foot 3 1/2" (and I hold that 1/2 inch very firmly in my height, thank you very much local DMV for rounding me up to 5'4"!), I did my, "I escaped being the shortest in my family dance!" ... only to discover that after we've all grown up, I'm still the shortest of my sisters and the only reason I get to be 1/2 an inch taller than my mother is that her arches collapsed a couple of years ago.  All of this to say that even when fate seemed destined to label me a midget, I never even considered the possibility of being a professional oil wrestler.

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