David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Two Sheds Are Better Than One

August 31, 2017

In honor of Arthur Jackson.  If you're not a Monty Python fan, you may need to look up Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson.   Because the shed business . . . it really doesn't matter.

Shed #1)  I made a surprise visit to a full-faculty meeting earlier this week.  Since I am on FMLA, and strongly discouraged from talking about work, I had nothing to say beyond an update on my health and the chance to read a poem, freshly written for the occasion:

Put The Shovel Back In The Shed

Put the shovel back in the shed.

I am not ready to be pronounced dead.

Other things I want to do instead.

Put the shovel back in the shed.


Put the damn shovel back in the shed.

There's still oxygen flowing to my head.

Need no more stupid g-tube to be fed.

Put the damn shovel back in the shed.


Put the damn shovel back in the damn shed.

I got a lotta books still to be read.

A lot of things that still need to be said.

Put the damn shovel back in the damn shed.

In all honesty, I would prefer to be cremated rather than buried, but "Put the Match Back In the Box" just doesn't lend itself to as many rhymes.

Shed #2)  Today, in some ways, we shed ourselves of our son, taking him to SMC to move into his dorm room and to participate in  his freshman orientation.  Given that again, I couldn't work the orientation event in my role as VP of Instruction, I got to witness the day as a true outsider, dad of arriving freshman student.  And, it has led me to a second poem this afternoon. 

What We Shed

Every fall, we shed our skin,

flesh and blood,

sons and daughters,

dropped off in hallowed halls.

Our tears are shed

as they lie down in their dormitory beds,

crisp sheets, fresh linens,

far away from our clinging arms,

for the first time

(hopefully for the last time)

as we shed our oversight.


We'll worry that the weight

will rise as the inhibitions get shed,

that the ignorance of their youth,

will leave them helpless in crisis.

Even if blood gets shed,

a scrape on the arm,

cut on the knee,

we must abdicate our healer roles,

have faith in the surrogates

(hopefully the advocates)

we entrust to shed light on their futures.