what sticks with you

It’s funny what sticks with you.

Sometimes, as with The Time of Your Life, something sticks with me over the years because it was something I really liked. Other times, it’s not.

I had a teacher in high school who taught Moby Dick. I assume she probably taught other things as well (though perhaps not), but it was Moby Dick she was famous for. The class covered Moby Dick for months (or so it seemed), every aspect of it was analyzed, and every detail had to be memorized. Then there was the test, the legendary Moby Dick test. The best students got around 60%, and most got between 40% and 50%. So, everybody failed.

One of the many things on the test was that you had to list the nine gams of the Pequod, in order, describing the thematic and symbolic meaning of each. A gam is, in this context, a meeting at sea between two whaling ships, usually an occasion for some socializing, and an exchange of information and possibly mail.

This popped into my head recently, and I found a couple of pieces on the internet which detailed the nine gams. I even bought a copy of Moby Dick. I didn’t own one, because, after that class, I had been pretty certain I’d never want to read it ever again. I’m sure some people came out of the class and never read another novel in their lives. When I hear that novels are declining in popularity, I think I know one reason.

So, yes, the next chapter will be influenced by the nine gams of the Pequod, though the title comes from a different novel, about a different group of travelers, one which I’ve continue to reread and enjoy over the years (probably because I never studied it in high school).

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