Every weekday afternoon a great sage lumbers over to his customary place at the head of our table. His eyes, ever shifting with quiet energy, pulsate as he scrutinizes us ignorant city folk. He chews his consonants with characteristic thoughtfulness: "Any questions? Comments? Complaints?" On occasional days he receives our votive offerings of oatmeal cookies and plum jam and returns his greatest compliment: "Perfectly edible." The way he says this fills us with pride. Our baked goods are not merely edible, but are edible in a perfect way. He scratches his head. He chews his cud. He chews the fat. He chews his words. He jowls his way through sentences without mumbling. 

Upon his arrival, he is bombarded by questions. Someone asks what he had for breakfast, what he did over the weekend, what he did this morning. The life and activities of one man have never been so scrutinized. Bob is prepared for the interrogation. His replies are short and stop suddenly, leaving a cushion of silence. 

Bob conveys the meaning of his words in the way he says them. Well-known Boberic epithets carry the weight of accumulated practice; the phrase "nutritionally dense foodstocks" feels thick and fertile and heavily mineralized. Strings of adjectives start in familiar territory and run off cliffs: "She was a young, energetic, twisted-minded vegetarian person." Phrases receive unexpected twists: "Use all your common senses." Eternal truths spring out of Bob's mouth: "Everything is either absorbing its environment and coming into being or being absorbed by its environment and going out of being." Bob also takes the time to direct questions back at us: "You never fell face down into a pile of rotting matter and had maggots all over your face? You haven't lived!"

Prospective interns, beware . . . anything can happen during lesson time. If you are the only Israeli at the table, be prepared to explain why you haven't turned the Negev into a rain forest. If you have a beet allergy, you will be advised to eat dirt. You will be informed on how your iris patterns, palm creases, and ears dictate your intelligence and/or career path. 

On the positive side, you will have thrown out all the toxic petroleum jellies that you used to smear on your skin in favor of all-natural sunblock: a thick coat of mud. And you will never ever again be tempted to buy a vibrating seed drill from a shiny catalog with bright pictures. 


Dylan T. Intern, Summer 2016