The Art Class

This is an interesting attempt at a sort of Shaggy Dog story. I’m not quite sure how well it worked, but I hope you enjoy it!

Jim and Carl had no idea why the public school system forced them to go through the tedious and tiring class curriculum that furthered nothing in their education and only deterred them from what they would rather do: baseball. Both boys were pitchers on the team at their high school, and were best friends and rivals as a result. When they weren’t in season, they would train by playing catch to keep up their skills and their muscles.

Have you ever been in a war zone where both sides were making excessive use of artillery? That’s a pretty good idea for what their practicing would look like, though I think it doesn’t quite get across quite as much of the noise and speed that Jim and Carl were able to accomplish. Seriously, when Jim threw, it was like a rocket ship blasting through the atmosphere wreathed in fire. And when Carl threw, it was like one of those fancy magnet trains, where some lunatic had grabbed the controls and removed the brakes.

But enough about my silly rants on their throws. This is about art class.

I think you know the standard procedure for art classes. A unit on drawing, a unit on watercolor, a unit on sculpture, and a unit on acrylic paint. Not necessarily in that order. But Jim and Carl had gone through most of these in that semester, and they had now come to the painting unit.

“I guess we’re painting today,” Jim said to Carl one morning as they walked through the halls to art class.

“Man, I don’t know why they bother making us go to art class,” Carl replied. “I mean, who’s going to actually use that skill? The five anime nuts? They’re so good, though, that they don’t need the class. I mean, I’m going to play baseball in college – I’m not going to paint after this class.”

“Well, I just hope she doesn’t make us use The Bin for the next assignment. I want to do my own painting.”

“Yeah.”

If you haven’t had an art class, The Bin is the arbitrary pile of images, largely composed of calendar photos and National Geographic magazines, that art teachers distribute among their budding Picassos as bases for their art pieces.

“It’s too bad there’s never anything sports related in the bin,” lamented Jim as they entered the art classroom.

They sat down shortly before the bell rang. Their teacher, Ms. Fucens, stepped up before the class, where she stood only a little taller than the students slouching in their seats. She lectured on painting for the first half of class, demonstrating for them, before she sent them off to work on their own.

“For the painting assignment, you’ll need to choose one of the pictures in the bin over there,” she said, pointing to The Bin. Jim and Carl groaned. “So make sure it’s different from the practice pictures you do. The painting assignment is due next Friday, so you have this week to practice and figure out what you’re doing, and next week to work on the painting.”

The two friends joined the rest of the class gathering supplies and sifting through The Bin for adequate images to copy. Jim, finding a hawk, and Carl, finding a green house, then sat down to begin. They didn’t get much done, since they talked most of the time.

“That’s a decent hawk, Jim,” Carl said near the end of the period.

“Yeah, they look hard, but I guess they’re okay.”

“I think I’m going to try one tomorrow.”

“Sure, man.”

“Don’t forget to turn in your practice paintings,” Ms. Fucens reminded the class at the end of the hour. “So that I can grade them.”

The two of them did birds for the rest of their practice pieces. However, when it came time for the final painting, Jim decided to do a house. Though it was slow going, they managed to finish their paintings on time. Sure, they didn’t do anything spectacular, but I imagine high school art teachers have low standards for people who don’t care about their skills in creating art.

That said, Ms. Fucens did talk to each of them a couple days about the whole painting experience. As they worked on the drawing unit, she went around the classroom and talked to each of the students. When she came to the pitchers, she talked to them together.

“You had some interesting paintings,” she said as she lay the final pieces and the practices on their table, complete with red letters marking grades. “They seemed rather one note. Not that I was surprised.”

“What do you mean?” asked Carl.

“You may not no this, but my brother is also a baseball player. He does some art as well, and his is just as uniform as yours. I guess it’s not for nothing that they say a pitcher paints a house and birds.”

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