One of my professors is trying to establish and encourage a charming collegiate tradition on my college campus. He wants folks to rub the head of the Benjamin Franklin statue when they walk, jog, saunter, scurry, or skulk by it.
I could not be more horrified.
The bronze Benjamin Franklin statue sits on a park bench near Orlando Hall in a posture of casual relaxation. He’s all sprawled out like my Uncle Morris lounging on the couch when his flatulence is kicking up; I said it was casual.
At the beginning of the semester, I wandered over to wish Old Ben a grand goodnight on my way to the parking garage when I realized that someone had defaced Benjamin Franklin’s crotch with what appeared to be a mixture of chocolate milkshake and shellac. Defaced? De-frocked? De-crotched? (I’m an English major, and that’s why this last bit of wordplay is ironic.)
My first thought upon seeing Mr. Franklin’s crotch . . . coated with faux muck stuff was performance art or political statement?
My second thought was I’m frightened.
My primary physical reaction was to stumble backwards away from the defacement and yell, “Oh what in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is that?” And then I scurried by, continuing on my way to the parking garage, in the foggy humid semi-tropical darkness—alone. I tried not to speculate where a person would mix up a batch of chocolate-milk-shake-shellac-crotch-bomb: a lab, a dorm, a bathtub in a dorm, or that shaggy hedge next to the parking garage.
With all due respect to my professor, I’d like an alternative assignment. I’d like to know if it would be okay if when I walk by the statue of Benjamin Franklin near Orlando Hall that I just rub my own head and maybe skip a jaunty step or two?
Linda (Statues are People Too) Zern