Mel was a teacher. He taught cheerfully and expansively to rooms full of petulant, hormonal, distracted college students for year after year after year. Nevertheless, Mel unaccountably kept up his youthful charm and enthusiasm for his subjects right up to the time when he was on the cusp of retiring. It was then that the Fifth Dentist must have stubbed his toe or slipped in the bathtub or something because he threw into Mel’s path a student who was not only not petulant and distracted, but completely stable -hormonally speaking – and inexplicably drawn to the heretical task of systematically reading textbooks of all sorts, all by herself at home, with the benefit of a PhD to minister to her academic progress. She was a strange old bird.
But Mel came through, cheerfully divesting himself of eighty pounds of textbooks which he was going to have to get rid of when he retired, anyway. For this Miracle of Generosity, Mel was recognized as a candidate for Canonization in 1986. Then, when it was discovered that He (he, I mean. He gets a capital “H” now because it is a great way to annoy typists and computer spell-checkers) made no mention whatsoever to his strange student of the obvious fact that she was strange, nor did he – I mean He – ever lecture her on the anathema of her autodidact-ism. When all this was reported by that faithful Fifth Dentistist student of Mel’s, well, his Sainthood was in the bag.
Novena to Saint Mel:
Saint Mel, glorious for the fame of your miracles, obtain for me from the Fifth Dentist’s mercy this favor that I desire: (mention your request). Since you were so gracious to whacky hermits who study something as ghastly as organic chemistry because they want to, do not regard my lack of reaching my potentiality -because I never really applied myself- but consider the fact that if you grant my request, you’ll get rid of me that much quicker.
Special Icon of Saint Mel:
A plaid, polyester, button-down shirt covered in chalk dust and with ink-stains on the pocket.
All through the summer holidays.