I Am A Graduate Of Young Emilio Estevez Disguised In Old Man Makeup University
Everything I know about writing I learned from a young Emilio Estevez disguised in old man makeup, like he was disguised at the beginning and end and throughout the various voiceovers of Young Guns 2.
It was a hell of a school I was the only student. There were no vending machines There was no campus. Classes were held beside a couple of dumpsters Emilio had used in his film Men At Work.
Tuition was affordable. Acceptable forms of payment: Milk Duds, information pertaining to the current whereabouts of Kiefer Sutherland, and used DVDs. We didn’t have to get the banks involved. Professor Estevez didn’t have time for FASFA. I graduated from Young Emilio Estevez Disguised In Old Man Makeup University with a non-accredited BA in creative writing and debt fucking free.
Our school mascot was Paula Abdul. Professor Estevez emphasized life experience over form.
“Tonight you’re going to write me a story about what it feels like to do homework when you’ve been stabbed.” Professor Estevez would say. “Have you ever been stabbed?” and while I’d sit there trying to remember if I’d ever been stabbed before he’d pull out a long bone handled knife and stab me in the leg. I’d scream and bleed a lot while he cleaned the knife using one of his dusty cowboy bandanas. After the knife had been cleaned and returned to his satchel he’d remind me that he wasn’t a big fan of double spacing and dismiss class.
I wrote a lot of stories about what it was like to try to do homework with a knife wound. For an entire semester he assigned this particular exercise at least once a week.
In the advanced classes instead of inflicting the pain manually and sending me off to write about it he’d ask me about things that were breaking my heart that day and tell me to go write about that.
It was most times hard to tell if Professor Estevez liked what I was writing. His face was hard to read under all that old man makeup and feedback was not given easily. It had to be earned.
Professor Estevez didn’t believe in grading papers. He also hated to be read to, so on those days he’d ask me to read to the class something he’d assigned the day before he’d always walk away from the dumpsters before I’d made it through the first paragraph. He’d stand far enough away so he couldn’t hear me, staring with a wild west looking-glass pointed at my lips, so he could tell when I was done.
When I’d finished he’d adjust his old man hat and false limp back to the dumpster, where he’d say something gravely and profound like ‘I don’t know about that one’ or ‘Write it in a world where the government has massacred all the commas. Them sons of bitches are now extinct.
So I’d go home and write it again without the commas and the next day he’d be all ‘What’s the matter with you boy? You write like you’re racist against commas.’.
I’d go home and get drunk, pass out writing, and wake up with pages emancipated with comas.
I’d show it to Professor Estevez. He’d light it on fire with his hand rolled cigarette without reading it and tell me to go home and write something that didn’t comma pander about what it’s like to have an old man kick me in the nuts. Post nut kicking I’d limp to the bus stop, my hands like a wheelbarrow, cradling my boot printed testicles as gently as one can.
It was a tough school, but Professor Estevez taught me how to translate all the lost love and pain in this world into words.
I learned a lot at my school. According to Professor Estevez, cellar door isn’t the most phonesthetically beautiful combination of words. The most beautiful word combination ever constructed is ‘No no, Pendleton’ or ‘sweet frost’.
Professor Estevez was an enormous fan of cake and confusing his movie roles with his real life adventures. He’d tell me stories about how John Tunstall had taught him how to read and long nights between ambushings when Doc Scurlock learned him about poetry and how it’s wrong to shoot innocent kids who collect marbles and how Lou Diamond Phillips taught him the true meaning of the word ‘pals’.
Professor Estevez knew all these things about stuff and because I was his student, I know them too.
Without his mentorship, I would’ve never written It Was Always Cyber Monday In Their Pants, the story of a lonely guy from the future unable to reconcile humanity’s greedy consumption of a dying planet’s natural resources with the fact that his dick was 3 inches longer when it was flaccid than it was when it was erect. His dick actually shrunk when he was excited. Everyone in the future mad fun of him. So he stopped being excited. It was a metaphor for water rights and globalization.
The story was a big hit in West Paris and went on to win The Martin Sheen Literary Award in 2014.
And that’s why your schools suck and my school is the best. Front Range? Fuck that. Front Range was my safety school. Red Rocks was my safety school’s safety school. CCD was my safety school’s safety school’s high school diaphragm.
Young Emilio Estevez Disguised In Old Man Makeup University rules.
written for the Nov 21 2017 FBomb Battle of the Writing Programs reading hosted by Jonathan Montgomery Mercury Café Denver CO