Having lived alone in a dark cave for twenty-three years, I've picked up bad habits that don’t translate well in urban society—in any society for that matter. Rousseau was absolutely wrong: civilization doesn’t corrupt and nature isn’t blissful. I’m finding it hard to adapt as I exit one world and enter another. You see, my friend, I landed this great teaching job a couple of years ago and I desperately want to fit in. Problem is, I’m still not ready for public consumption. We all have hang-ups; we all have peccadillos. (I once ran over a peccadillo on a Kentucky highway, yet I still have my flaws.) But I’ve been disturbing my colleagues at the office because I talk to myself, sigh loudly, grumble, and grunt. One of the administrators, a pleasant young woman with ostensibly good intentions, had the audacity to come over to my cubicle and bring these outbursts to my attention. Listen, when you’ve lived in a cave for over two decades, you learn to entertain yourself. I tell people that I don’t talk to myself per se; rather, I’m working through issues or testing how something might sound in the classroom or on the stage. Such explanations don’t matter, however. I’m just the guy who talks to himself.
I was raised by a she-wolf out in the wild long before my cave years. I yelp and scratch my crotch ferociously when things don’t go my way. This ogre-like behavior has cost me friends. Faculty steer clear of me and I worry that my job is on the line. The tattooed guys at the local coffee shop look at me askance. Who wants to serve an ogre coffee? When I suckled my mom’s teat, along with her pups, little did I know that I was imbibing lifelong rustic habits. During committee meetings I mimic the sounds of flatulence with my armpits. I still mark my territory when I’m at home. Guests usually head for the door when they see my trousers starting to foam. Yes, I’m rather uncouth, but please be patient: I’m working on normal.