Thursday, September 05, 2013
Why I Write, by Donald Fagen

"The smaller, more fragile kids would try to squeeze into the space between the bleachers and the wall, but Mr. Burdett would march over and yank them out, back into the open, to live in this world of pain. I guess he figured that when D-Day came around again, we’d be ready to hit the beaches.

I decided to describe a typical Bombardment session in a feature for the [high school] newspaper, only exaggerating for comic effect à la Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken. It was really a pretty dumb bit, as I remember. I transformed the two teams into mythic, Olympian armies and, at the end of the period, wounded heroes lay bleeding out on the gymnasium floor. Nevertheless, a number of parents were apparently appalled by my revelations and complained to the P.E. department.

The next day I was filing out of the cafeteria when Mr. Burdett collared me and, with a hurt look, said, 'Why, Don? Why?'"

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