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					 DeltaWindsA Magazine of Student Essays
                                                                                  A Publication of
                                                                                  San Joaquin Delta College
                                                                                  http://www.deltacollege.edu/
                                                                                       org/deltawinds.
 Volume 18                                                              2005      Editors
                                                                                  William Agopsowicz
Table of Contents                                                                 Robert Bini

                                                                                  Division Chair
2 Breaking Stereotypes Through Music                                              Communication Skills
    Brian Smith Newlin discusses contemporary musical artists celebrating
    women’s rights through songs.                                                 Paul Kuehn

4 Collar                                                                          Graphic Design Production
    Marianne Jarnagan finds solace by keeping a reminder of her family dog         Patrick Stapelberg
    and remembering the lessons learned.
                                                                                  Delta Winds is a publication of student
6 ‘Cuz My Mommy Said So                                                           essays from courses at San Joaquin
    Rae Ann Tourville-Nelson discovers contradictory perspectives in her          Delta College. It is published each year
    research on the role of toys in the development of children.                  by the English Department of San Joa-
                                                                                  quin Delta College, 5151 Pacific Avenue,
9 Dying a “Good Death”                                                            Stockton, California 95207. The authors
                                                                                  certify that their writing is their own cre-
    Mitzi Genegabuas combines her research on physician-assisted suicide
                                                                                  ation. The views expressed in these es-
    with her own experiences.                                                     says do not necessarily reflect the opin-
11 “Inay”                                                                         ions of the faculty, the administration, or
                                                                                  the trustees of Delta College. All rights
    Rachelle Valenzuela pays tribute to her fondly remembered grandmother         reserved. No part of this publication may
    in this captivating sketch.                                                   be reproduced for profit in any form or by

12 “Little Sister Born In This Land”                                              any means without written permission.

    Debbie Diaz offers an insightful critique on the figures and messages
    found in a poem by Elias Miguel Munoz.

14 Loneliness
    Sophana Uy reflects on the traumatic effects of isolation in a foreign land,
                                                                                  Letter from the Editors
    surrounded by unfamiliar people.                                         Viewed by many instructors as a valu-
16 Macho Man – An In-depth Analysis of the Prejudices of Disability          able reading resource, Delta Winds
                                                                             has been used in a range of courses:
    Bryan Tortolani relates his daily experiences through his eyes and the
                                                                             English 70, English 73, English 79,
    eyes of those who misjudge him.
                                                                             English 1A, English 1B, English 1D,
18 My Most Prized Possession: An In-depth Analysis of Materialism            Reading 92, and high school ESL
    Bryan Tortolani remembers an unusual gift and the significance it holds courses in Marysville, California.
    for him.                                                                 The reading level of the magazine --
                                                                             matched with the content -- appeals
20 The Opportunity to Learn                                                  to readers of many backgrounds.
    Hannah Abramson comments on home schooling and on the importance To motivate the reader, the reading
    of allowing students a choice in order to build a base of knowledge.     content should be both challenging
                                                                             and interesting. In this year’s volume
21 The Story of the Mug                                                      of Delta Winds, the authors have
    Gary Dean Wood tells how his life and the lives of a Vietnam vet and the chosen to write in various forms:
    soldier’s father intertwined one day.                                    research-based papers, poetry ex-
23 Take Off the Distorted Lenses: A Discovery of Stereotyping the Wealthy    plication, and rhetorical styles, such
                                                                             as the narrative. Regardless of the
   Businessmen in China                                                      structure of the work, the authors, in
    Bixian Liao analyzes her own difficulty of ignoring an overgeneralization general, express their views on set
    due to her personal beliefs and experiences.                             beliefs and stereotypes that cause
                                                                             misunderstandings and anxiety. Ques-
25 The Tattoo and Piercing Festival, or Making New Friends                   tioning traditional thoughts on death,
    Amy Powell recalls with wry humor her experience trying to fit in with gender roles, disabilities, and physi-
    coworkers at a tattoo party.                                             cal appearance, students voice their
                                                                             opinions and share their experiences.
27 The Twin Towers                                                           In this volume of Delta Winds, aspiring
    Nicholas Zeiher compares the varied perspectives of the Twin Towers writers once again step forward to put
    before and after their destruction.                                      their work out for readers of all levels.

                                                                                            DeltaWinds Page 1
                                       Breaking Stereotypes
                                       Through Music
                                                                                                           by Brian Newlin
Brian Newlin is a 20-year-old          Music has the power to unite people,        pects them to. She sings, “Well, I aint’
student at Delta College. He will      crossing generation gaps, language          never been the Barbie doll type/No, I
be attending San Francisco State       barriers, and genres to spread an           can’t swig that sweet champagne/I’d
University as a psychology major       artist’s message. In popular culture        rather drink beer all night.” Her mes-
starting in the fall 2005 semester.    today, music has become a billion dol-      sage is clear: there’s no reason for
After earning a bachelor’s degree,     lar industry, filled with a wide variety     any woman to deny herself. Live as
he hopes to either attend either law   of performers all attempting to spread      you wish, be who you are, regard-
school or continue within the field     their message to the masses. Many           less of what others may feel. As
of psychology and earn a doctorate     of these songs deal with life’s most        the song says, “Some people may
in Clinical Psychology.                important issues: love, family, friend-     look down on me, but I don’t give
                                       ship, and death. Ideas of women’s           a rip.” Gretchen Wilson is promot-
                                       rights have also successfully been          ing individuality through her attempt
                                       integrated into the music world. Artists    to empower women everywhere.
                                       such as India Arie, Gretchen Wilson,
                                       Gloria Gaynor and Christina Aguilera        One of the strongest goals of the
                                       have all produced song lyrics that          feminist movement is to empower
                                       promote the ideas of self-reliance,         women. Many songs speak of surviv-
                                       individuality, and strength, hoping         ing hardship through determination
                                       to empower women everywhere.                and hard work. For example, Gloria
                                                                                   Gaynor’s hit song “I Will Survive”
                                       Many women who consider them-               has become a shining example of
                                       selves feminists argue a woman’s            overcoming any obstacle. The song
                                       right to choose. Most recently that has     states, “I will survive/as long as I
                                       been a rallying point for abortion rights   know how to love/I know I will stay
                                       activists, but it also applies to many      alive/I’ve got all my life to live/I’ve got
                                       other aspects of women’s rights. In         all my love to give/and I’ll survive/I
                                       the modern world, a woman is free to        will survive.” Although the speaker
                                       make all her own life decisions. She        has suffered loss, her strength and
                                       has the option of marriage, childrear-      determination pull her through. This
                                       ing, and career opportunities. In the       song is very empowering and has
                                       area of music, the important message        become very popular within several
                                       of choice has recently been drama-          different communities. Gloria Gaynor’s
                                       tized by India Arie’s song “Video.”         lyrics help remind women that it is
                                       This song opens with an image most          possible to survive alone, that to-
                                       women can relate to, creating a sense       morrow is always a new day full of
                                       of familiarity with the listener. “Some-    new possibilities. She reminds us all
                                       times I shave my legs and sometimes         that with love, life always continues.
                                       I don’t/Sometimes I comb my hair and
                                       sometimes I won’t/Depend on how       Another song that strengthens wom-
                                       the wind blows I might even paint my  en’s rights is “Can’t Hold Us Down”
                                                                             by Christina Aguilera. She opens her
                                       toes/It really just depends on whatever
                                                                             song by challenging current societal
                                       feels good in my soul.” India Arie uses
                                       a descriptive example to summarize    expectations, reminding us all that
                                       her feelings about independence.      everyone deserves equal respect.
                                       Many women go to extreme lengths      “So what am I not supposed to have
                                       to reach the unattainable level of    an opinion/Should I be quiet just be-
                                       beauty society holds them to. “Video” cause I’m a woman/Call me a bitch
                                       proposes that a woman needn’t shave   because I speak what’s on my mind/
                                       her legs or comb her hair in order to Guess it’s easier for you to swallow
                                       feel beautiful. Outward appearance    if I sat and smiled.” These lyrics rein-
                                                                             force the idea of equal rights; no one
                                       should not be the ultimate goal in life.
                                                                             should be silenced. We all have valid
                                       Another recent artist to support a opinions to share. Her song speaks
                                       woman’s freedom through song is out to women, reminding them that
                                       Gretchen Wilson. Her release “Red- they deserve to be treated fairly.
                                       neck Woman” argues that women
                                       don’t need to sacrifice their personal Music is one way for a voice to be
                                       desires simply because society ex- heard. One person can send a mes-

DeltaWinds Page 2
                                          Her message is clear: there’s
                                          no reason for any woman to
sage to millions of people through this
                                          deny herself. Live as you wish,
wonderful form of art. The popularity
of the industry, especially here in the
                                          be who you are, regardless of
United States, has created opportunity
for underrepresented groups. Wom-
                                          what others may feel.
en’s rights have been hard to come
by; even today there is much work to
be done.
Song lyr-
ics can
help re-
inforce
ideas of
empow-
erment
a n d
choice
t o      a
large au-
dience.
Artists
s u c h
as In-
dia Arie,
Gretch-
e n Wi l -
s o n ,
Gloria
Gaynor,
a n d
Christina
Aguilera
h a v e
all pro-
duced
s o n g
lyrics
that pro-
mote the
ideas of
indepen-
dence
a n d
strength.
As more
and more
artists
choose
to voice
t h e i r
opinions
through
music,
society will likely come closer
to true equality. Every voice de-
serves to be heard; every opin-
ion is valid. We are all equal and
deserve to be treated as such.

                                                DeltaWinds Page 3
Annie Jarnagan, at nineteen years
                                    COLLAR                             by Annie Jarnagan

                                    I have a ratty, old blue polyester dog     looked up the stairs towards where
old, enjoys laughing, reading,      collar that I can never bring myself       his room once was, and though he
animals, and videogames, though     to throw away. Though it may be in         was always gentle, he forced us
not in that order. She hopes to     a box in my closet, I always notice        away harshly if we tried to help him
graduate from U. C. Davis with a    it at least once a year when I am          up there. His eyes pleaded that he
degree in molecular biology and     doing spring-cleaning; his name is         could do it, but just maybe tomorrow
a possible minor in Japanese.       still attached. It belonged to my best     because he was tired today. It wasn’t
Her ultimate goal is to become a    friend for as long as I knew him, up       him, but time that was the enemy.
physician.                          until the moment he died. He actually
                                    was a friend to anyone who would           My family loved him though, at least
                                    pet him, but he lived with me, so I        my eldest brother, my father, and I. We
                                    fancied him as my best friend. My old-     would do what we could to ease the
                                    est brother felt much the same way         pain for an old man who had always
                                    about him and sometimes I wonder           been good to us. These acts were
                                    if my brother and I would have been        never substantial, but you could see
                                    as close if he had never been there.       he appreciated them. We moved his
                                    My eldest brother was a budding            favorite pillow downstairs so that he
                                    guitarist through most of my child-        could sleep a little easier at night – he
                                    hood. Our dog was thankfully tone          always hated to sleep alone, but we
                                    deaf, so alone I endured the often         didn’t have bedrooms downstairs. I
                                    off-key notes while spending my time       was supposed to go to bed at 9:30,
                                    with the both of them. One day, my         but my parents looked the other way
                                    brother actually became good, but I        once in a while if I fell asleep next
                                    don’t think he or the dog ever noticed.    to him in the living room at night be-
                                                                               cause that way he seemed happier in
                                    The dog was older than I, and it           the morning. My brother also would
                                    showed. He always had some white           sit outside, even in the cold months,
                                    to him, but this was more or less a        a little longer, so our dog could feel
                                    distinguishing mark than actual “gray      comforted that he wasn’t being aban-
                                    hairs.” His eyes were old but clear,       doned. It snowed in Tennessee, and
                                    and though he was a dog, he kept           we were all afraid that the bite of winter
                                    himself clean. It was the way he held      might be too much for him to endure.
                                    himself that I remember. He was
                                    too proud to chase after cats when         It was the summer after that he died.
                                    I began to notice his presence, and        My mother and I took him to a good
                                    it took an extra annoyance to get a        doctor to see what could be done.
                                    rise out of him. He was sagacious,         He was suffering from cancer and
                                    sometimes leading me away from a           tumors and atrophied muscles, things
                                    rotten plank of wood when I would          that money and surgery could allevi-
                                    have stupidly run over it. He knew that    ate, but not repair. I wanted him to
                                    hurting ducks wasn’t right, but watch-     stay alive. I wanted him to stay. To
                                    ing them while overlooking our pond        hell with familiarity, he was my friend
                                    was fine. He also had the good sense        and my family member; I loved him.
                                    in his head not to eat certain cooking
                                    whenever it was offered--something         My brother, who was a man at the
                                    I still can’t figure out how to avoid.      time, quieted me down when I called
                                                                               from the doctor’s office. Things like this
                                    I was turning ten years old when he        happen, and holding on would be cru-
                                    began becoming feeble. Blue jays           el, he said. If I was to learn to become
                                    would dive-bomb him from a nearby          truly human, I needed to know mercy.
                                    tree trunk, and he’d yawn instead of       My love for him should make me
                                    taking his usual initiative to shoo them   want the pain to stop, not just abate.
                                    off. He couldn’t walk up the stairs any-
                                    more either; his legs would wobble         An hour or two eternities later, my
                                    beneath him, threatening to crack in       brother joined us, and we three
                                    two when he attempted the stairs. I        gathered around him. I can’t remem-
                                    think age humiliated him. He never         ber now who took off his collar, but
                                    whimpered, but he sagged when he           I do recall his death. I have heard

DeltaWinds Page 4
 Blue jays would dive-bomb him from a nearby tree trunk, and
 he’d yawn instead of taking his usual initiative to shoo them off.

that the moment you realize how             same as Brewster. I always figured
material a thing death is, you are an       that an animal has just as much a soul
adult. He was visibly in pain, but his      as some jerk who’d say that anyway.
expression was one of happiness             I don’t know many people who have
because some of his favorite people         taught me humility, or who made me
were around him - I still hope that         understand that what makes me feel
I can be a good enough person to            good inside may not be doing right
put aside my suffering when I see           by someone else. Keeping his collar
those I love when my time comes.            makes me keep that and keep him.

Moments later, he was warm but              Sometimes possessions let us have
his eyes were glossed over with             that. Even if I only see him yearly
death. I have observed death two            when I am throwing away a few old
times since, and there is always a          school papers and magazines, it helps
nullifying feeling that spreads the         to remember what an old dog has
moment it occurs, as if the air itself      taught me, something I will never lose.
pauses to say goodbye. It overcame
me, and I ran out crying; I didn’t
stop crying until the next morning.

Legally, a person could say that an an-
imal is your possession; some people
really think that the collar I own is the




                                                                                      DeltaWinds Page 5
                                       ‘Cuz My Mommy
Rae Ann Tourville-Nelson is a full-
                                       Said So                          by
                                                                        Rae Ann Tourville-Nelson
                                       You learn very early on as a parent to     her friends (112). McDonough sug-
time student, wife, and mother         pick and choose your battles. Some         gests that the overwhelming objection
of three beautiful children. After     parents may choose free expression         to the marriage of Barbie and the girls
earning her B. A. and M. A. in         over rigid manners. One mother may         who love them is based on a view that
history and a teaching credential      decide that television is evil and must    “Barbie is a poor role model for little
at CSU Stanislaus, Rae Ann hopes       be destroyed, while another may find       girls” (112). She refutes this claim first
to begin challenging and inspiring     that plunking her child in front of the    by disagreeing that children are “stupid
students at both the high school and   Teletubbies may be her only chance         enough to be shaped by a doll” and
community college level.               to grab a much needed cup of coffee.       again looks to her own childhood for
                                       Toys and their appropriateness are         additional ammunition. She states that
                                       often at the heart of this battle. For     although she was obsessed with and
                                       me, the importance of toys isn’t about     surrounded by Barbie, it was her own
                                       letting Billy play with dolls or chiding   artist mother who truly shaped her
                                       Sally for playing with Tonka trucks in     worldview and her self-image with re-
                                       the mud. It goes beyond gender and         gards to what it meant to be a woman.
                                       into what morals and lessons we want
                                       our children to learn. In Reading and      If McDonough wishes to prove that
                                       Writing Short Arguments edited by
                                                        Arguments,                the nurture factor is the essential key
                                       William Vesterman, there are three         to the development of children, she
                                       short essays making up a section           will find little support in author Robert
                                       devoted to this very topic: Toys           Atwan. In his essay, “A Meditation on
                                       for Tots. The essays involve three         Barbie Dolls,” Atwan dissects nature
                                       parents, like myself, with their own       vs. nurture and the roles that toys
                                       battles to fight and lessons to teach.     and gender play in that debate. Like
                                                                                  McDonough, Robert Atwan is a par-
                                       “Sex and the Single Doll,” by Yona         ent with a Barbie-household of sorts.
                                       Zeldis McDonough, examines the             In “Meditation,” he uses his daughter’s
                                       responsibility of dolls, specifically      apparent dislike for Barbie (as evident
                                       Barbie, as role models for children.       by the total obliteration of her Barbie
                                       The author offers that she finds her-      collection) as a doorway into the
                                       self in a parental minority within her     gender and toy debate. According
                                       own Brooklyn community. What is            to Atwan, there are two basic views:
                                       it that separates her from her neigh-      “boys and girls are inherently different”
                                       bors? Barbie. She first fell in love       (nature) and “we shape their develop-
                                       with Barbie during her childhood in        ment to encourage certain masculine
                                       the 1960s and “never stopped loving        and feminine characteristics” (nurture)
                                       her” (McDonough 111). Despite nega-        (114-115). In the event that either or
                                       tive comments from other mothers in        both are true, he offers that his daugh-
                                       her community and a variety of argu-       ter may be a “complete anomaly”
                                       ments against Barbie, McDonough            to these theories. His daughter has
                                       stands firm in Barbie’s defense. While     shown no particular appreciation for,
                                       critics see Barbie as “a bimbo and an      or attachment to, her Barbies and rath-
                                       airhead,” “an insatiable consumer,” or     er enjoyed mutilating them. We would
                                       an unrealistic model for the female        not expect this if girls are, in fact, “gen-
                                       form, she sees her as something            tle, nurturing creatures.” Neither would
                                       more. McDonough sees playing with          it seem she was “conditioned” to hold
                                       Barbie as an opportunity for young         a special place in her heart for dolls,
                                       girls to understand and act out that       specifically Barbie, even though her
                                       which they see as being “womanly.”         mother ensured they were “lavished
                                                                                  upon her” (115). He offers that neither
                                       As evidence for her theory, she cites      nature nor nurture is the only factor
                                       examples from her own childhood.           that affects our development. He
                                       As a young girl she used her playtime      states that “we’re all counterexamples
                                       with Barbie to help her quantify what      in one way or another . . . all of the
                                       she had learned about menstruation.        time” (115). He goes on to suggest that
                                       This playtime also allowed her to          our own “uniqueness” plays as large
                                       safely act out her own childish views      of a role as nature or nurture in who
                                       of sex and sexuality with Barbie and       we are and who we are to become.

DeltaWinds Page 6
In the third and final essay on toys         equal opportunity family. By growing
for children, we find an essay entitled      up that way, I learned how important
“The ‘Q’ Gene,” written by Sara Bird.        it is that everyone have choices and
Bird uses her own experiences as             the freedom to live out those choices.
the mother of a son who, as she puts         That is a key value that I hold and
it, has an “arsenal” of violent toys. In     one that I want my children to share.
recounting an episode in which her
son opens fire on a pod of Nature            But aside from larger moral issues,
Company dolphins, she introduces us          freeing children to play with whatever
to another aspect of the issue involv-       toys they choose also teaches them
ing toys and children: violent toys and      important skills for adulthood. I have a
their appropriateness. Bird offers that      friend who is married but does not yet
although she was an activist against         have any children. Her husband has
the draft in the sixties and a proponent     sworn that no son of his will play with
of a “healthier” society (one without        dolls. Apparently, the battle he has
white sugar and commercialism), she          chosen is a           war against girlie-
found herself in an “intellectual pretzel”   ness and                 homosexual-        This weekend my son dazzled
when it came to a struggle between                                      ity. Although
her feelings about violence and the                                       I hardly       a houseful of guests with his
feeling of security created by violent                                      believe
toys for her son. Bird suggests that                                         that hid-   fabulous runway display of
this paradigm shift occurred when she                                         ing the
realized how small and defenseless                                             dolls     princess fashions.
children feel in the large world in                                             from
which they live. She was willing to                                              his
accept violent toys that would pro-
tect her son from “the bad things
that [came] in [his] dreams”
(117). In an attempt to make
sure we            u n d e r-
stand


s h e
d o e s         not view
the world and violence
through rose-colored glasses,
she shares that she comes from
a military family and under-
stands what went on when
they were in active ser-
vice. She jokingly refers
to a “Q” gene, named                                             s o n
for the “Kyew, kyew”                                             will keep either
sound made while firing                                           at bay. My two
a toy gun, and that it must                                       older children,
have been passed along ge-                                        Nick and Sabri-
netically from her “warrior”                                       na, each have
parents to her son (118).                                           dolls. Not a blue
                                                                     one for Nick
This weekend my son daz-                                              and pink one
zled a houseful of guests                                             for Sabrina,
with his fabulous runway                                              but one that
display of princess fash-                                            they looked
ions. To see him in a knee-                                      at, held, and fell
length white satin dress                     i n                  love with. What
with a crinoline slip might                  d o e s               this teach them
have made another family                     you might              ask? It teaches
jump out of its skin, but not                them about               nurturing.
mine. I was brought up to                    They have                 both learned
believe that toys, sports,                   how to hold a               baby, how
and expression are gender                    to feed it, and               how to
free and guaranteed to all.                  change its diaper.            This has
I had trucks and Barbies. I                  had a wonderful re-           sult. They
wore lace dresses and tat-                   absolutely adore              their new
tered jeans. Mine was an                     baby brother and              love to


                                                                                               DeltaWinds Page 7
                                help me take care of him. But in an          hear things that go bump in the night.
                                effort to ensure masculinity in boys,        They have monsters under the bed
                                this life lesson is all too often taught     and in the closet. But why no arsenal
                                only to girls. In fact, boys are often       in their room? Because one of the
                                chastised for playing with dolls. The        lessons that I want them to learn is
                                message they hear is that they are           that their voice is the most powerful
                                only for girls and that he is somehow        weapon they have. When monsters
His daughter has shown no       less of a boy if he partakes. What this
                                translates to in adulthood is a genera-
                                                                             keep them awake at night, my daugh-
                                                                             ter calmly explains to them that it is
particular appreciation for,    tion of men who are afraid to care for
                                their own children and miss out on
                                                                             time for bed and they cannot stay.
                                                                             When my son is scared that there
or attachment to, her Barbies   a plethora of childhood moments
                                because somewhere they hear a
                                                                             are ghosts about, he talks to them
                                                                             and suddenly they aren’t so scary.
and rather enjoyed mutilating   voice whispering “babies are for girls.”
                                                                             What I am hoping is that they will learn
them.                           The other point brought up by our
                                readings is the appropriateness of
                                                                             that there are many ways to face their
                                                                             fears without violence. And if I suc-
                                certain toys, namely violent ones. The       ceed, one day when my daughter
                                final essay by Sara Bird affected me         decides to race dirt bikes and some
                                more than I expected. I have never al-       boy who never played with dolls tells
                                lowed guns in my home -- real or toy.        her she can’t, she will raise her voice
                                I am the kind of mother she mentions         instead of her fists and explain to him
                                in her essay, complete with bumper           that she can do whatever she wants
                                stickers on my “soccer-mobile” tout-         to do because her mommy said so.
                                ing my beliefs. But I have to admit
                                that when she talked about her son’s
                                fear, I felt a twinge of sympathy for
                                her. I too have found myself in that         Works Cited
                                “intellectual pretzel” a time or two. In
                                                                             Atwan, Robert. “A Meditation on Barbie Dolls.” Read-
                                fact, her essay was so compelling I al-                            Arguments.
                                                                             ing and Writing Short Arguments Ed. William Ves-
                                most found myself doubting my own            terman. New York: McGraw Hill, 2003. 114—116.
                                toy policy, but she left out something
                                                                             Bird, Sara. “The Q Gene.” Reading and Writ-
                                important. By allowing those violent                   Arguments.
                                                                             ing Short Arguments Ed. William Vesterman.
                                toys and justifying them as “protec-         New York: McGraw Hill, 2003. 116—119.
                                tion,” she is, in fact, reinforcing to her
                                                                             M c D o n o u g h , Yo n a Z e l d i s . “ S e x a n d
                                son that violence is an appropriate
                                                                             t h e S i n g l e D o l l . ” R e a d i n g a n d Wr i t i n g
                                way to deal with his fears. This is a                 Arguments.
                                                                             Short Arguments Ed. William Vesterman.
                                view that I do not share. My children        New York: McGraw Hill, 2003. 111—112.
                                are no different than her son. They




DeltaWinds Page 8
Dying a
“Good Death”                                              by Mitzi Genegabuas
My father was an avid smoker ever           day out—waiting for death to come.           At twenty-four years of age,
since he was a teenager. In Sep-                                                         Mitzi Genegabuas is a student at
tember of 1993, at the age of 82, he        In Oregon, Physician Assisted Sui-           San Joaquin Delta College. On
was diagnosed with lung cancer. His         cide (PAS) has been legal for seven          December 17, 2004, she obtained
doctor said it was inoperable. Eight        years. Nora M., from Oregon, whose           her A. A. degree in Liberal Arts
months later, my father was admitted        husband Rick had been diagnosed              and Sciences after completing her
to St. Joseph’s Hospital in March, 1994.    with “inoperable lung cancer in April        general education requirements.
During an emotional family meeting, I       1999,” wrote a letter to The Death           She is currently taking a few lower
said I wanted my father released from       with Dignity National Center. In the         division courses needed to transfer
the life support because I felt that he     letter, entitled “My Husband Rick,” pub-     to University of the Pacific, where
was suffering from so much pain, not        lished on their website, Nora writes,        she will be majoring in Business
just from the cancer but from all the       “I always believed that my husband           Administration, with a double
tubes as well. Sobbing, my aunts did        was one in a million. But in 1999,           concentration in Accounting and
not agree because they thought it was       he was one in 27. That year 30,000           Finance. She was born and raised
cruel. My uncles understood where I         people died in Oregon. Of those              in Stockton, California, and wishes
was coming from and respected my            30,000 people, twenty-seven—less             to continue her education close to
decision. My mother, torn in between,       than one-tenth of one percent—chose          home. She has been working in
finally accepted my will. My father was      a quiet death in the company of their        Lodi as a cashier for five years. The
released from the ICU two months lat-       families after taking a legal, lethal dose   hours are great and flexible, which
er, in May. Remarkably, my father did       of drugs permitted by Oregon’s Death         has been a great advantage to her
better than we expected, so the doc-        with Dignity Law” (My Husband).              as a college student. Her interests
tor transferred him to the rehabilitation                                                include Oakland A’s baseball,
center located on the fourth floor.         That summer, Rick underwent Che-             dancing, photography, and outdoor
                                            motherapy. The medical treatments            activities, such as camping and
When my father was moved onto the           “left him nauseated and listless.”           hiking.
fourth floor, I spent many days after        Finally, in October, “Rick felt he had
school with him. I would go straight        had enough. He asked his doctor
to St. Joseph’s and stay there until        to write the prescription. The doctor
the evening. It became a daily rou-         agreed, saying that he considered
tine for me. One afternoon in May, I        Rick an appropriate candidate for
was with my father in his room. I sat       Death with Dignity—not depressed,
at the foot of his hospital bed, doing      well supported by his family, with
my homework and watching T.V. My            well-managed pain and solid finan-
father was lying down. It was very          cial resources. And unequivocally
difficult to concentrate. I could hear       terminal” (My Husband). Rick chose
him moan and groan because the              the time of his death himself. One
pain was so bad. He and I were on           evening in November, he died when
the right side of the room and the T.V      he was ready, in the presence of his
was on the left. He had to lie on his       family. Nora states in the letter, “When
right side, facing the wall because         I knew he was gone, I felt a wash of
his right lung was so badly damaged         emotions—love, loss, relief, empti-
from the cancer and it was painful for      ness. But I also found comfort and
him to lie any other way. He couldn’t       even satisfaction in the knowledge
even watch T.V with me. He couldn’t         that I had helped my husband when
see anything but the white walls of         he needed it most. I saw our experi-
the hospital room. It hurt me to realize    ence as a difficult but loving last gift to
that I couldn’t share that moment with      each other” (My Husband). Legalizing
him. After that point, I knew my father     Physician Assisted Suicide is respect-
would not make it to his 83rd birthday.     ing autonomy: “Decisions about time
                                            and circumstances [pertaining to]
My father was in so much discom-            death are very personal. Competent
fort that some days he wouldn’t say         persons should have the right to
but a few words to me. Other days           choose death” (Braddock and Tonelli).
he was knocked out from all the
medication taken to alleviate the Pro-life advocates attempt to con-
pain. I absolutely hated the fact that vince people not to support the law
my father had to suffer—day in and by scaring them. They say that in

                                                                                                DeltaWinds Page 9
                     legalizing PAS, disabled people, “the         forget the way he was breathing, with
                     poor, undereducated, uninsured, ra-           his breaths less than a minute apart.
                     cial minorities and other marginalized        We heard him take one quick, audible
                     people will be encouraged to use the          breath, a quick inhale and exhale.
                     law” (Fact and Fiction, par. 5). In Or-       There was no way to ignore it. His
                     egon, where PAS is legal, the Death           inhales broke the silence and the
                     with Dignity National Center rebut by         exhales resumed the silence again.
                     saying “no one is encouraged to use           The whole experience saddened me
                     the law. The law is in place for ter-         because I would await his next breath,
                     minally ill people whose suffering is         and it seemed as though the breaks
                     intolerable and who wish a humane             between each of them were getting
                     and dignified death. The law is rarely         longer and longer. I bent over, with my
                     used in Oregon but it does supply real        lips almost touching his right ear. I said
                     comfort to many people who see it as          loudly, “I love you, Daddy!” I started to
                     an option—if they need it.” In addition,      cry. I backed away a little and watched
                     “Oregon’s experience indicates that           him. His eyes were still closed and his
                     the people who chose to use the law           mouth didn’t move, not even a twitch.
                     are well educated, have had excellent         All of a sudden, I saw one single tear
                     health care, good insurance, access           roll out of the corner of his right eye
                     to hospice and were well supported            and down towards his ear. I knew he
                     financially, emotionally and physical-         heard me. Minutes later, he stopped
                     ly” (Fact and Fiction, par. 5). Nobody        breathing and he passed away.
                     wants to die. If a person is diagnosed
                     with a fatal illness, it is frightening and   My father, my family, and I were all
                     devastating to say the least. Primar-         very fortunate to be there with him
                     ily, the patient would want to make           in his last moments. Others are not
                     the most of the time remaining to             so fortunate. Often, one may pass
                     him or her. If given extended recov-          alone with no loved one nearby.
                     ery, patients would take advantage            Alzheimer’s patients slowly lose rec-
                     of it. The law would be a last resort         ognition of their family and eventually
                     to those in extreme situations, in            die a death that is emotionally painful
                     which recovery is no longer possible.         to those who survive them—leav-
                                                                   ing their families feeling empty.
                     Issues recognized in supporting
                     PAS are the pain and the suffering            The most important thing is to give
                     an ill patient must endure. Those in          the patient the choice. In legalizing
                     opposition of PAS say, “proper pain           Physician Assisted Suicide, patients
                     management can alleviate a patient’s          will not be forced to use the law.
                     desire for a hastened death” (Fact and        However, the option would be open
                     Fiction, par. 3). The Death with Dignity      for those who choose to. Nora from
                     National Center argue that “the truth         Oregon says, “Once you accept the
                     is even the most ardent opponents             fact of death, you can move on to
                     of Oregon’s law admit that for 5% of          address the quality of that death. It
                     terminally ill people the best pain care      can be hard or easy, good or bad.
                     will not alleviate their suffering” (Fact     For some, it makes all the difference
                     and Fiction, par. 3). Suffering is not        to have the choice” (My Husband). It
                     limited to pain. In actuality, pain is only   is important for PAS to be legalized
                     one aspect of this complex problem.           so others may also have that choice.
                     There are psychological burdens as
                     well. Suffering yields agony, misery,
                     and hopelessness. “For many termi-
                                                                   Works Cited
                     nally ill people, it is the loss of dignity
                                                                   Braddock, Clarence H., and Mark
                     and autonomy—the suffering beyond
                                                                   R. Tonelli, “What are the Arguments
                     pain—that becomes intolerable” (Fact
                                                                   in Favor of PAS?” Physician As-
                     and Fiction, par. 3). “It is not always
                                                                   sisted Suicide. Oct. 2001. Ethics
                     possible to relieve suffering,” says
                                                                   in Medicine. University of Washing-
                     Braddock and Tonelli, “Thus PAS
                                                                   ton School of Medicine. 10 Nov. 2004.
                     may be a compassionate response               < h t t p : / / e d u s e r v. h s c e r. w a s h i n g t o n .
                     to unbearable suffering” (par. 7).            edu/bioethics/topics/pas.html#ques3>
                     I remember that warm, summer after-           “Fact and Fiction.” Death with Digni-
                     noon, when my father passed away. It          t y N a t i o n a l C e n t e r. 1 0 N o v. 2 0 0 4 .
                     was June 3, 1994. He was surrounded           <http://www.dwd.org/fss/facts.asp>
                     by my mother and me, along with my
                                                                   “My Husband Rick.” Personal Sto-
                     aunts and uncles. His eyes were still         ries. 13 Oct. 2004. Death with Digni-
                     closed and it looked like he hadn’t           ty National Center. 10 Nov. 2004. <
                     moved an inch in hours. I could never         http://www.dwd.org/fss/stories.asp>

DeltaWinds Page 10
                                            “Inay”                                    Her face was wrinkled and old,
                                                                                      but her warm eyes were the
                                                                                      windows to her youth – pools
                                                                                      of dark brown chocolate.




                                                        by Rachelle Valenzuela        Rachelle Valenzuela is a sixteen-
                                                                                      year-old Filipino-American student,
She is nothing but a memory now          maroon Jansport backpack against
                                                                                      turning seventeen in April. She is a
-- a thing of the past. Sometimes        the closest wall and plopped myself
                                                                                      junior at Bear Creek High School and
my mind coerces me to believe she        next to Inay. We would then begin
                                                                                      a part time student at Delta College.
never existed, but pictures I see of     our daily afternoon routine -- playing
                                                                                      She is employed at Round Table
her contradict that thought and those    a couple games of solitaire, watching
                                                                                      Pizza and at Students in Prevention
pictures trigger memories I had never    a couple more of her favorite soap
                                                                                      -- a drug prevention service of the
thought I’d remember. I can recall the   operas, watering the rainbow of roses
                                                                                      county. Rachelle is actively involved
smell of her clothing -- baby powder,    in the backyard, preparing a traditional
                                                                                      in the community and her church.
roses, and an old perfume that I was     Filipino dinner for the family, and recit-
                                                                                      She enjoys singing, ballroom
always able to distinguish. Her face     ing the Filipino alphabet and a prayer
                                                                                      dancing, and volleyball. She has
was wrinkled and old, but her warm       before bed. Those were the days.
                                                                                      an infatuation with the Spanish
eyes were the windows to her youth                                                    language (She’s in her third year
-- pools of dark brown chocolate. Gray   As I look back at those days, it occurs
                                                                                      of Spanish) and loves horses and
hair shadowed the black, frizzy curls    to me how much those little moments
                                                                                      blowing bubbles. She has a younger
atop her head. She was small, no         and memories impact my life now.
                                                                                      brother of thirteen, a younger sister
taller than five feet, but she always     Decisions are becoming more critical,
                                                                                      of eleven, and a supportive mother
stood with her head high, display-       good friends are becoming scarce,
                                                                                      and father. When she graduates
ing her confidence. Her passion was       time is beginning to fall short, and
                                                                                      next year, she plans to attend the
among the roses and various plants       life in general is becoming more chal-
                                                                                      University of the Pacific where she
in her prized garden. During the first    lenging -- but thanks to the upbringing
                                                                                      hopes to major in pharmacy and
ten years of my life, she taught me      of my grandmother, I’m prepared. I’m
                                                                                      minor in chemistry.
what she knew of raindrops and           prepared to watch my brother grow
roses, hatred and love, God and faith,   from an immature brat into a talented,
and whatever else she stored in her      intelligent, rational young man. I’m
bookcases of knowledge. She was          prepared to teach my sister how to
my teacher, my best friend, and the      drive and how to choose which boy
guiding light of my childhood, but       to go out with. I’m prepared to handle
most of all, she was my grandmother.     the tasks my parents assign me --
                                         whether it is to run to S-Mart Foods
As a child, I would hear my mother       to buy milk or to hold the fort while
call my grandmother “Inay” which         they enjoy a hiatus in Vegas. I’m pre-
means “mother” in Tagalog. This          pared to graduate from Bear Creek
expression was stamped into my           High School and be accepted to the
memory, and I grew referring to her      University of the Pacific. I’m prepared
as Inay. It wasn’t as obvious to me      to be a pharmacist. I’m prepared to
as it is now, but Inay was my second     treat life like a roller coaster and hang
mother, so the label suited her well.    on for the ride -- and I’m prepared for
                                         anything life has to throw at me, even
Opening the door as I came home          if it hurls tomatoes. My grandmother
from school everyday, I could hear the   was, and still is, the greatest influ-
murmurs of the television and know       ence on my personality, mentality,
immediately “Days Of Our Lives” -- my    and morality -- without the memories
grandmother’s favorite soap opera        of her tired, chocolate eyes and baby
-- was on. The ruffled noise of fric-     powder aroma, where would I be?
tion could be heard as I tossed my

                                                                                              DeltaWinds Page 11
                                                                                                        by Debbie Diaz
                                       Childhood is a uniquely rich time,          come whatever she allows herself to
                                       full of exploration and discovery,          be poured into, even if it is a clown
                                       imagination and creativity. And it is       to be laughed at, someone following
                                       made richer by sharing because that         the crowd instead of leading the way.
                                       sharing creates a bond, a common            He remembers days spent pretending
                                       thread. In Elías Miguel Muñoz’s poem        to be a “brave corsair” (32) fighting off
                                       “Little Sister Born In This Land,” the      “evil pirates” (31) and of being a hero,
                                       speaker appears to be a much older          if only to himself. It hurts him to think
                                       brother who laments the lack of this        that she has “only the joy of Disney
                                       common thread with his little sister.       heroes” (41-42) that come from some-
                                       For you see, siblings who grow up           one else’s imagination and not her
                                       in the same locale and under basi-          own. How can she ever become self-
                                       cally the same conditions will share        confident if she never faces and van-
                                       many experiences even if they are           quishes a foe, even if only in her own
                                       years apart in age. But when siblings       mind? How can she break out of the
                                       grow up in drastically different condi-     generic mold and become all that she,
                                       tions and places, very little of their      as an individual, could be except by
                                       childhood will be common to both            reaching deep within to find that par-
Debbie Diaz is a reentry student in    and the bond, the thread, just isn’t as     ticular spark that makes her unique.
her last semester at Delta before      strong or may not even exist. This
transferring to the University of      is the source of the older brother’s        The brother is dismayed that things fill
the Pacific as a business major.       sorrow in this poem, because his            her life, keeping her from herself, and
Married for almost twenty-five years,   sister was born and raised in a differ-     that twist of tradition that has allowed
she is mother to two daughters         ent country and speaking a different        this to happen. He feels her childhood
and grandmother to two little girls    language than what he has grown             has “suffered the mockery of expen-
and two little boys. Her favorite      up with. His sister has also grown          sive toys that the deceptive ghost of
times away from school are spent       up with many things to fill her days         December brings to you” (58-62). The
with family, in her garden, or bird    while he had little but his imagina-        toys are a mockery because they are
watching.                              tion and curiosity to fill his days.        costly yet of little benefit to the child.
                                                                                   Some may improve hand/eye coor-
                                       But his days are not days to be re-         dination or thinking skills but do little
                                       gretted or feel cheated by. To the          for the rest of the child, leaving the
                                       contrary, they were exciting days           child soft and weak instead of toned
                                       when he would venture out on foot,          and fit, and some do no good at all.
                                       thrilling at the sights and the sensory     Calling Santa the deceptive ghost of
                                       experiences, like “that warm and al-        December, the brother seems to indi-
                                       ways open earth” (67-68). He enjoyed        cate that he feels the true meaning of
                                       discovery, like “the mystery in the ra-     Christmas and the faith it represents
                                       vines” (29-30) and finding nesting hens      has been lost. That instead of focus-
                                       and perhaps new life if the hens had        ing on the greatest gift ever given to
                                       chicks. And he is saddened that his         man, people now focus on self and
                                       sister may never know those same            the desire for things, which are soon
                                       feelings of excitement as shown in          tired of and tossed away when it is
                                       his question “Is there anywhere in          discovered that they are deceiving
                                       your childhood a similar feeling?”(22-      and don’t bring real happiness after all.
                                       23). He gives us the impression that
                                       her life has become a bit stagnant          His childhood days and toys were
                                       from being indoors in front of the TV,      simpler and his wants were much
                                       watching cartoons, instead of being         fewer. He obviously had a few pur-
                                       outdoors discovering life for herself.      chased toys as shown by his descrip-
                                       He shares that he feels this will make      tion of “toys made of tin” (28), but he
                                       her, and every other child like her, “a     also made some of his own, “taking
                                       little clown, plastic and ridiculous”(48-   lessons for carving men out of stone”
                                       49). For plastic does not think, it does    (33-35). And I’m sure that at some
                                       not feel, it has no mind of its own.        point, a stick became a sword and
                                       Instead, it is molded into whatever         a towel or piece of cloth became a
                                       form it is poured into. She will be-        cape as he battled the evil pirates.

DeltaWinds Page 12
These were joyful times for him and       Regardless of where the blame, the
he wishes that it could be the same       heart of the problem lies, with him or
for his sister, but he is powerless, he   her, both or neither, he says “it isn’t
“cannot invent another childhood for      a reproach sister, little sister born
you, cannot offer you mine” (52-54).      in this land.” Maybe this is solely to
So she will continue to grow, just as     reassure her that he does not disap-
she has, in tune with a world so very     prove of her, that he does not blame
different from his. Three times in the
poem he states that she is slipping
                                          her for the ever increasing chasm
                                          between them, but rather that this
                                                                                      For plastic does not think, it
away, “slowly and lovingly,” indicat-
ing that despite a loving relationship,
                                          land is at fault. Maybe it is also an
                                          expression of resignation to the idea
                                                                                      does not feel, it has no mind of
they are growing farther and farther
apart. She moves forward in a world
                                          that they were born worlds apart and
                                          that their paths were not meant to
                                                                                      its own. Instead, it is molded
of things and technology, space flights
and expensive toys: the world of her
                                          cross as he desires and that life was
                                          forever meant to be without the com-
                                                                                      into whatever form it is poured
childhood. He, on the other hand,
is standing still in the world of his
                                          mon threads of a shared childhood.          into. She will become whatever
childhood. This standing still causes
frustration as he longs “to hold you
                                                                                      she allows herself to be poured
and explain a thousand things” (4-5).
Perhaps he has not embraced tech-
                                                                                      into, even if it is a clown to be
                                          Work Cited
nology and the ever-changing world,
has not tapped into the wealth of the
                                                                                      laughed at, someone following
                                                                                      the crowd instead of leading
                                          Muñoz, Elías Miguel. “Little Sister Born
Internet. Perhaps he clings to the        In This Land.” New Worlds of Literature:
simple. Or maybe it is a language                                         Cultures.
                                          Writings from America’s Many Cultures
difference, hinted at here with “Each
time you intrigue me with your riddles,
                                          Ed. Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunt-
                                          er. New York: Norton, 1994. 152-154.
                                                                                      the way.
with your words, that will always be
foreign to our experience” (12-16). She
has grown up speaking a different
language than he so there may be a
wall of words in the way, words that
don’t translate well back and forth.
Maybe they can’t speak their hearts.

                                                                                            DeltaWinds Page 13
                                        Loneliness                                                       by Sophana Uy


Sophana Uy is an international          While I was growing up and liv-            one another in their related majors.
student from Cambodia. He wrote         ing with my extended family in my
the following essay in his second       homeland, Cambodia, I knew noth-           For over six months living in this
semester at Delta College. The essay    ing about being lonesome. As a             modern industrial country, I have not
was carefully written based on his      teenager, I had many companions            known anybody in my neighborhood
own personal experience—living          to hang around with and I never felt       or at school except a cashier at an
alone in the United States. Now, he     forlorn at all. My life was happiness as   Asian food store whom I consider
is majoring in international business   usual. Sadness took place following        probably shares the same heritage
and will transfer to Sacramento State   the happiness, yet fortunately I had       as me. It is certainly true that ones
University to pursue a B. A. degree.    family and friends to share this with      who are from the same country are
His biggest goal is to create as many   and to help all the time. Happiness        able to recognize each other. One
jobs as he can in Cambodia.             never lasted long enough. Then, an         day on the weekend, while I was
                                        unexpected thing occurred in my            in line and ready to pay for foods in
                                        delightful life. A couple of years ago,    a grocery store, the cashier asked
                                        after I graduated from high school,        me in my native language, “Are you
                                        my parents decided to send me to           Cambodian?” I amazingly answered
                                        study abroad. It was the moment            to her, “Yes, I have just come from
                                        that I first found my life of loneliness.   Khmer,” another name for Cambodia.
                                                                                   “Good! You are lucky boy,” she added.
                                        One can tell the feeling of being away     It is actually a fantastic chance for
                                        from homeland, family and friends if       me to have a better education in this
                                        he or she is used to that experience.      powerful country, yet the problem is
                                        It is like a soldier who has been com-     I find myself quite lonely because of
                                        manded to complete a commission            being away from homeland, family
                                        away from his country. Staying alone       and friends. I occasionally try to make
                                        in this country, America, which has        friends with the Native American
                                        completely different customs from          students and international students
                                        my own, I find myself in culture shock      from other countries as well, but it
                                        and consumed by loneliness. I am not       is awkward for me to communicate
                                        used to it, and it does not identify me.   with them due to the fact that I do
                                        It is such a huge change, a change         not speak English much. Language
                                        never experienced in my life, that I       causes me various difficulties either
                                        nearly cannot accept it. Since Ameri-      in schoolwork or daily living in Amer-
                                        can lifestyle tends towards individual-    ica. Because of the awful sorrow, I
                                        ism, it is difficult for me to communi-     sometimes burble to myself: “Amer-
                                        cate with the people who live in the       ica is killing me with the loneliness.”
                                        neighborhood and even the students
                                        who study in the same class with me.       The time of happiness is quick, while
                                        The environment of the residential ar-     the moment of grief is long. Actually,
                                        eas is hushed; I rarely see the people     time is slow for those who wait. Six
                                        in my neighborhood talking to one an-      months, to me, feels like six years. I
                                        other. It seems to me that Americans       have been in America waiting for a
                                        like securing themselves by staying in     special occasion to come. In fact, I
                                        the house, while Cambodian people          am impatiently waiting for the day
                                        are friendly and accommodating; ev-        that I graduate from the school in the
                                        erybody in the community and village       United States and return to assist my
                                        knows each other. For two semesters,       country and enjoy my life with family
                                        I have studied in a community college      and friends again. I am waiting for the
                                        in the United States; I have found that    day as if nature were waiting for the
                                        the class is so aloof that most of the     rain to come and shift the season. It is
                                        students do not even know each other       the way life naturally goes; we have
                                        in the course group. Conversely, the       all kinds of experiences that basically
                                        students in my country agreeably           play the important role as the teacher
                                        work together; they cooperate as           to enrich our life with understanding.
                                        groups in which they are able to assist    With hope and faith, I am here to do

DeltaWinds Page 14
the right things for the sake of my family and homeland.

We human beings generally have bad moments in our
lifetimes. No one can avoid them for the rest of his or
her life. Some people live in the loneliness because they
lack love. Some learn it when they isolate from family or
friends. It is a terrible emotional sickness which has no
certain scientific cure. It is, in my opinion, a nightmare
which lasts so long, and grants me an awful outlook to-
wards my own world. It is finally a dreadful illness which
causes fear, anxiety and boredom that shortens my life.


       Since American lifestyle tends towards
        individualism, it is difficult for me to
    communicate with the people who live in the
   neighborhood and even the students who study
              in the same class with me.




                                                            DeltaWinds Page 15
                                          Macho Man-
                                          An In-depth Analysis of the Prejudices of Disability

                                                                                                        by Bryan Tortolani
                                          Because I am large and healthy-look-       the skinhead neo-Nazi gangs that were
                                          ing, people think that I am weak, lazy     popular in the Seattle area during that
                                          or outright faking my disabilities. In     time. I was often verbally assaulted
                                          reality, I am a strong, highly motivated   with a barrage of accusations ranging
                                          man with many health conditions that       from a deranged narrow-minded so-
                                          are not always readily apparent to         ciopath to a cowardly, parasitic racist
                                          those around me. People do not see         bully. Although I can sympathize with
                                          the scars of the nearly twenty surger-     the anger many people hold toward
                                          ies on my body, or the degenerative        racist bigots, I strongly resent being
                                          bone decay that is slowly eating away      associated with such evil merely on
                                          at my knees, hips, and shoulders, or       the basis of my appearance. More
                                          the hepatitis that is turning my liver     recently, I have experienced less dra-
                                          into a ball of scar tissue while spew-     matic prejudices; however, the end
                                          ing toxins throughout my system.           result is equally degrading and hurtful.

                                          Most people have a preconceived no-     On a typical day I experience a dozen
                                          tion of how a disabled person should    or more incidences of prejudice.
                                          look, and anyone who does not fit        For example, just last week I faced
                                          into that category often faces a wide   a crowd of extremely disturbed
Bryan Tortolani is a happily married      range of prejudices throughout the      students after parking my car in the
36-year-old cancer survivor. Bryan’s      day. For example, people are often      handicapped parking spot at the com-
unique life experiences have              outraged when they see me parking       munity college I attend. Every day is
taught him that education leads           in a handicapped parking spot or        the same in that many students race
to empowerment. Despite entering          speeding past them in a four-wheeled    around and around the parking lot
Delta College with little more than an    electric cart because my appearance     in the hopes of finding the perfect
eighth-grade education, a GED, and        does not coincide with their percep-    spot. Last week as I defensively ma-
a powerful motivation to succeed,         tion of a disability. Similarly, when I neuvered my automobile, I noticed
Bryan will graduate in the spring         use my Medicare at the doctor’s of-     two anxious drivers who at the same
and transfer to Stanislaus State in the   fice, cash my Social Security check      time spotted a man backing out of his
fall. Bryan ultimately plans to earn      at the bank, ride on the elevator, or   parking place. I sat back and watched
a doctorate in history. His career        simply pull my noisy backpack on        this old Western-style showdown
goals include teaching history at the     wheels across campus, I am often        unfold. There was a brief pause as
college level and freelance writing.      perceived as a fat, lazy freeloader     they made eye contact while revving
                                          taking advantage of the services re-    up their engines. I could almost feel
                                          served for the “truly” disabled. This   the intensity and determination from
                                          is because many people associate        each driver’s eyes as they locked for
                                          disabled people with outwardly no-      a moment in a penetrating stare. Their
                                          ticeable disfigurements, with easily     eyes darted back and forth between
                                          observable debilitating diseases, or    the newly available parking place and
                                          with the elderly. Anyone who does       one another before the man in the
                                          not fit into their image of “disabled” islarge red truck made his move. The
                                          often perceived as perfectly healthy.   smaller sporty silver Honda quickly
                                                                                  followed suit, and in a flash the two
                                          I have been living with such stereo- crazed drivers accelerated their
                                          types since shortly after my nine- two-ton automobiles in a mad dash
                                          teenth birthday, at which time I was for the spot. Once there, however,
                                          diagnosed with late stage Hodgkin’s they soon realized that the space
                                          Disease. From the beginning, I did was reserved for the handicapped.
                                          not fit the stereotype of a disabled
                                          person and therefore was often mis- As the two drivers grieved for a mo-
                                          judged. Even after I lost my hair from ment at their misfortune, I effortlessly
                                          chemotherapy treatments and a bone guided my car into “their” parking
                                          marrow transplant, I was still not per- place. I went about the task of retriev-
                                          ceived as “disabled” by many strang- ing my handicapped placard from
                                          ers who associated my baldness with the glove box and hanging it from

DeltaWinds Page 16
my rearview mirror, oblivious to the       is easier to classify someone who is
resentment that was building within        always a certain way because most
my fellow students. It was not until I     people do not trust change and un-
exited the car that I realized that the    predictability. For example, if I were
two drivers had not moved. As they         always seen riding in a wheelchair,
sat in their automobiles, blocking traf-   people would eventually accept or
fic and wearing angry expressions on        reject me. Either way people would
their young faces, a small crowd of        feel more comfortable with whatever
students gathered on the sidewalk. I       label they had given me. But when
noticed some wore equally contemp-         dealing with inconsistencies, peo-
tuous expressions. I did my best to        ple’s prejudices come into question.
ignore them as I made my way toward
my first class. Ignoring them became     An individual may classify people           Then, the man from the red
increasingly difficult as I drew closer.
At first, the comments, although for my
                                        according to certain beliefs: “Men are
                                        strong, disabled people are always          truck yelled, “Who do you
benefit, did not directly confront me.   incapacitated, fat people are lazy, and
                                        skinny people are weak and nervous.”        think you’re fooling -- you
“Can you believe the nerve of that When those perceptions are proven
guy, using handicapped parking inaccurate, the individual tends to be-              ain’t disabled. What kind
when he’s obviously not disabled?” come uncomfortable. When facing the
shouted an indignant student from unfamiliar and uncomfortable, people              of man takes his grandma’s
the crowd of student bystanders. often turn to further prejudicial classi-
                                        fications in order to maintain their fa-     parking placard, anyway, just
Then, the man from the red truck miliar, safe, and structured worldview.
yelled, “Who do you think you’re                                                    so he don’t have to walk a few
fooling -- you ain’t disabled. What It takes great courage, intelligence,
kind of man takes his grandma’s open-mindedness, and integrity to                   feet?”
parking placard, anyway, just so resist the temptations of prejudice, big
he don’t have to walk a few feet?” and small. Although society has ad-
                                        vanced in the fight against prejudice, it
The other students grew angry, still has a very long way to go. Some
watching what they perceived to prejudices are socially unacceptable,
be a perfectly healthy student take and others are not. Many people, while
the best parking spot in the school. exhibiting guarded behavior in some
                                        circumstances, will openly participate
Looking at the situation from their in prejudicial behaviors toward those
perspective, I could somewhat un- individuals who fall under the radar
derstand their confusion. I am six feet of political correctness. It is important
two inches tall, weigh over two hun- for society to recognize this situation.
dred twenty-five pounds, look fairly Empathy for all groups of individuals
young and healthy. Yet I was using who are different or unfamiliar should
a handicapped-parking placard. I did be the moral compass we follow.
not even have my cane with me be-
cause the rubber stoppers had been
worn down. It was not because the
cane did not work properly. Rather, I
preferred the physical pain resonating
from my knees to the psychological
pain that accompanied the unwanted
attention I received. This was be-
cause once the rubber stoppers wore
down, the four metal prongs were
exposed, making a loud “Ching, ch-
ing, ching” with every step. The sound
would echo all across the campus
as I hobbled through the crowded
quad. It was then that I was subject
to spiteful remarks and resentful looks
from many of my fellow students.

This may seem like a trivial matter.
But appearing different is difficult, es-
pecially when it is not consistent. My
particular health condition fluctuates
regularly; some days I look and feel
a lot better than others. People are
more comfortable with the familiar. It
                                                                                          DeltaWinds Page 17
                                          My Most
                                          Prized Possession:
                                          An In-depth Analysis of Materialism
                                                                                                      by Bryan Tortolani

                                          Possessions may come and go, but          a bone-marrow transplant. My mother
                                          often the emotional attachment as-        and I had been estranged prior to my
                                          sociated with them remains eternal.       illness; we had always had a detached
                                          I have a disturbingly long history of     and remote relationship. The monkey
                                          losing my possessions. Given my his-      symbolized a level of closeness that
                                          tory, I rarely allow myself to form an    had been foreign to our relationship.
                                          emotional attachment to my posses-
Bryan Tortolani is a happily married
                                          sions. Nevertheless, there have been      I could not control my tears as I in-
36-year-old cancer survivor. Bryan’s
                                          a few possessions that have provoked      spected the dark-brown and incred-
unique life experiences have
                                          within me a deep psychological con-       ibly soft stuffed monkey. His glass
taught him that education leads
                                          nection that continues to stir my         eyes had a humanlike characteristic of
to empowerment. Despite entering
                                          emotions even today, even though I        warmth and affection. His cute, happy
Delta College with little more than an
                                          no longer possess them. A passport,       expression, round soft stomach, and
eighth-grade education, a GED, and
                                          photo album, and a stuffed animal         clumsy body were evocative of my
a powerful motivation to succeed,
                                          were among my most treasured lost         unique characteristics as a child. As
Bryan will graduate in the spring
                                          possessions. These lost possessions       I squeezed him affectionately, out of
and transfer to Stanislaus State in the
                                          fill me with a feeling of profound        the corner of my eye I noticed some-
fall. Bryan ultimately plans to earn
                                          grief and anxiety, which is accom-        thing else buried under the remaining
a doctorate in history. His career
                                          panied by a warm nostalgic feeling        packing material. I reached down and
goals include teaching history at the
                                          of times long past. Three years ago       pulled out a second, much smaller
college level and freelance writing.
                                          I was psychologically reunited with       monkey. With closer examination I
                                          one of my most prized possessions.        discovered that it was a baby monkey
                                                                                    with clenched forefingers and ex-
                                          On my thirty-fourth birthday a huge       tended thumbs that fit in the monkey’s
                                          package was delivered to my door. I       open mouth. I took the little arm and
                                          was surprised to discover that it was     placed the extended thumb in the
                                          sent by my mother. I could not begin      cute little monkey’s mouth. Spent with
                                          to guess what the package might con-      emotion, I drifted off into a daydream.
                                          tain because my mother’s standard
                                          gifts were always the same. My moth-    Suddenly, I was transported back to
                                          er always sent me a check accompa-      the lonely, cold hospital room where I
                                          nied by a very impersonal card, which   had received the bone-marrow trans-
                                          she rarely bothered to sign. I suppose  plant. Most of my friends were unable
                                          she felt the signature on the check     to deal with watching me shrivel up
                                          was enough, so she regularly adhered    and possibly die. Fortunately, I had a
                                          to her efficient nature by leaving the   dedicated girlfriend and my mother as
                                          card unsigned, avoiding redundancy.     regular visitors. In fact, my girlfriend
                                          My mother’s aloofness has often both-   was allowed to sleep over as long as
                                          ered me, so it was not unusual for me   she underwent a rigorous disinfect-
                                          to be excited at the sight of something ing process. She also had to sport an
                                          that was potentially more personal      entire surgical outfit with sanitary slip-
                                          and meaningful than her usual gifts.    pers, hat, and facemask. My father, on
                                                                                  the other hand, was unable to accept
                                          Exhilarated, I quickly tore open the my condition and chose instead to
                                          package as if I were a ten-year-old retreat into the safety of denial. Unfor-
                                          boy on Christmas morning. With stray tunately for me, and the two women
                                          pieces of cardboard littering the floor in my life, this meant that I had only
                                          and lime-green Styrofoam scattered in two regular visitors. They both tried to
                                          every direction, I held up my new trea- make up for the others’ weaknesses
                                          sure, an exact replica of the stuffed by dedicating an enormous amount
                                          animal I had lost years earlier. The of their time to visiting with me.
                                          original monkey had been given to me
                                          by my mother while I was undergoing I will never forget the moment my

DeltaWinds Page 18
mother brought me the stuffed mon-        She was smiling as usual, but this time
key. I remember the smell of the dis-     it didn’t appear strained or artificial. I
infectant and the way the sun’s rays      watched her go through the routine
swept past my window reflecting off        of disinfecting herself. Even after she
the stainless steel bedrails as a dark    washed up and tied on her surgical
reminder of the world outside mov-        mask, I could still feel her smiling.
ing along without me. The television      She then walked over to her usual
was off and I was concentrating on        seat by the window and handed me
the sound of the birds singing out-       the monkey. No words were needed.
side my window over the continuous        I realized that given her distant nature
beeping and pumping of the many           she was unable to express her feel-
machines needed to keep me alive.
The contrast between machinery
                                          ings to me verbally and gifting the
                                          monkey to me was her way of show-
                                                                                         My mother and I had been
and nature was so great that I longed
for some semblance of the natural
                                          ing me affection. The monkey repre-
                                          sented the words she was unable to
                                                                                         estranged prior to my illness;
world. My girlfriend’s mother had
sent me many crystals, which I sur-
                                          express. When she had brought me
                                          the tropical fish mobile from my aunt
                                                                                         we had always had a detached
rounded myself with, and my aunt
had sent me a tropical fish mobile
                                          and I had told her how much it meant
                                          to me, her face turned white and she
                                                                                         and remote relationship. The
from Hawaii. I valued these treasures
greatly and lacked the words to fully
                                          stammered for a few minutes before
                                          making a quick retreat. I felt that she
                                                                                         monkey symbolized a level of
express their significance and mean-
ing. Each gift represented thought-
                                          wanted to tell me the things I need to
                                          hear, but she was unable to do so.
                                                                                         closeness that had been foreign
ful devotion, love and the natural
world, which was everything that          The feeling of my wife’s arms tenderly
                                                                                         to our relationship.
my inert machine bound existence          wrapping around my waist snapped
denied me. Yet I had nothing of equal     me out of my daydream. As I stood
meaning from my immediate family.         holding my two new possessions,
                                          I thought of the big monkey as rep-
While lying in my hospital bed, I could   resenting my mother and the infant
hear the steady pattern of my mother’s    representing me. Although I no longer
footsteps approaching my door. I felt     need the stuffed animals, the fact that
relief to have a break in the monotony,   my mother remembered after over ten
but was not particularly excited be-      years is what touched me so deeply.
cause an emotional barrier remained       I keep the animals in plastic on top of
between my mother and me. I was           a bookcase and rarely think of them.
aware she was giving up much of her                       It is the act of receiving
life to be with me each night, and                            them that I prize, not
I could tell by her graying hair                                 the actual mate-
and haggard face that                                             rial object. What
she was under a great                                              I consider to be
deal of stress over my                                              my “prized pos-
condition, yet I longed                                                  sessions”
for a relationship built                                                  are not
on a deeper connection.                                                    material
I needed her to express                                                   in nature,
verbally what I could see                                               but are
in her face, that she loved                                          treasured in
me and wanted me to                                                  my heart and
live. On that day, when                                              soul. Material
she came around                                                     objects often
the corner, hold-                                                    come and go
ing something                                                          but treasured
in her hand,                                                            memories
my som-                                                                   last a life-
ber mood                                                                    time.
quickly
lifted.




                                                                                               DeltaWinds Page 19
The Opportunity
        to Learn
                                                                                                   by Hannah Abramson

Hannah Abramson was born in Los          From the fourth grade up until I started   reason I know this is because I lived
Angeles, raised in Israel, and now       attending Delta, I was home schooled.      in Israel, and I am proud to know it,
lives in Stockton. She was home-         My mother was my teacher, and I            but I cannot think of a single instance
schooled until the age of fourteen,      believe she did an excellent job with      when I needed to know it. On one
when she began attending Delta           her role, though some people with          hand, I do think that it is a sad time
College, taking any and all classes      more conventional ideas of education       when high school graduates don’t
that sparked her interest. Now that      might disagree. She let my siblings        know the cities of Iraq or where Cali-
she is seventeen and has taken           and me study whatever we wanted,           fornia and Ohio are, but on the other
every creative writing class Delta       and she rarely pulled out a textbook.      hand I think that students should be
has to offer, she is finally working      She taught us the basics of English,       taught what they are interested in.
towards her A. A. degree. Though         math, and history, but always let us
Hannah has yet to decide what she        focus on what interested us the most.      Apparently, many people believe that
wants to do with the rest of her life,   My older sister was interested in ani-     students should be force-fed this kind
she knows that she wants to leave        mals, so she studied their habits and      of information, and I don’t believe
Delta and get out of Stockton. In the    lifestyles and did projects on their       that this is the right way to teach. I
meantime, however, she is majoring       different habitats; my brother loved       know who Robert Frost is, but if I’d
in English and working as a tutor in     video games, so he studied comput-         had to learn his work in a high school
the Shima Writing Lab.                   ers and science; I had a passion for       literature class, I would probably try
                                         making up stories, so my mother            my hardest to block him out of my
                                         let me focus on writing and reading        memory. Perhaps the reason today’s
                                         everything I could get my hands on.        students know so little is that people
                                                                                    want to teach them too much; forcing
                                         After spending time with people my         information down students’ throats
                                         own age, people who went to “real”         isn’t going to make them learn. I can
                                         school, I have come to believe that        read, write, and get to the top of my
                                         my mother’s method of teaching is          class because English is something I
                                         the reason I know things like what         was interested in, and I was given the
                                         a negligee is and what happened at         chance to study it at my own pace,
                                         Hiroshima and Auschwitz. Other sev-        never having anything forced upon
                                         enteen-year-olds went to high school,      me. My brother, who never cared for
                                         where they had history and English         writing but would rather play video
Perhaps the reason today’s               and geography forced upon them
                                         every day, and now they don’t know
                                                                                    games, was allowed to study com-
                                                                                    puter sciences, and now he excels
students know so little is that          these things. On campus, I work as an
                                         English tutor in the Shima Writing Lab,
                                                                                    in science and computer anima-
                                                                                    tion, and because of all the strategy
people want to teach them                and sometimes I am amazed and hor-
                                         rified by what people—people whose
                                                                                    guides and technical manuals he’s
                                                                                    read, he can read and write as well.
too much; forcing information            first language is English, people who
                                         did go to high school—don’t know. It isStudents might know less than they
down students’ throats isn’t             appalling to think that some students
                                         don’t know where Russia is or how to
                                                                                used to, and, in some cases, less than
                                                                                they should. However, if students
going to make them learn.                spell the word “collapse.” But, while Iare taught the basics, they can then
                                         am shocked that they don’t know, I still
                                                                                focus on the subjects they feel pas-
                                         must ask myself, should they know?     sionate about. Given the opportunity
                                                                                to study what they find interesting,
                                         It is important for people to leave students will want to know and learn
                                         high school and go into the real world more. Give students a chance: don’t
                                         knowing certain things. English and force-feed them, and they will excel.
                                         math, for example, are subjects that
                                         will benefit students nearly every          But, while I am shocked that
                                         day of their lives. When will they
                                         ever need to know that Jordan is a          they don’t know, I still must
                                         country beside Israel, though, and
                                         not a city within it? Perhaps the only      ask myself, should they know?
DeltaWinds Page 20
The Story of the Mug                                        by Gary Dean Wood



It was just before Veterans’ Day, 2004,     The story of the mug starts in 1965;        Gary Dean Wood is a 47-year-old
when I got a call from my mother. She       a young man had just gotten his             returning student with certificates in
had found some of my things that I          draft notice in the mail. It was a low      Substance Abuse Counseling, Family
had left at her house, and she asked        number, meaning that he would have          Abuse Specialist, Human Services
                                                            to report for duty in       and Gerontology Counseling. Gary
                                                             the Army soon. The         will graduate from San Joaquin
                                                             young man spoke to         Delta College in May of 2005 with
                                                             his father about his       an Associate of Arts degree in
                                                             fears of going to Viet-    Psychology. Gary is a lifetime
                                                             nam and dying there.       member of Alpha Gamma Sigma
                                                             His father told him        honor society and devotes his
                                                             about doing his duty       spare time helping the needy in the
                                                             for his country and for    community.
                                                             his family’s honor. The
                                                             son started having
                                                             dreams of his death in
                                                             Vietnam; his return in
                                                             these dreams was in
                                                             a coffin. His father lis-
                                                             tened to his son’s con-
                                                             cerns and his son’s
                                                             dreams of impending
                                                             death. His father told
                                                             him every soldier who
                                                             went into combat had
                                                             the same feelings and
                                                             not to worry; it would
                                                             be all right. “Just go
                                                             out and do your duty
                                                             and come home when
                                                             you are through.” The
                                                             son got his notice in
                                                             the mail to report for
                                                             duty from the Army.        The young man spoke to his
                                                             After boot camp, the
                                                             son got orders to go to    father about his fears of going
me to come and get them. I had been
                                                            Vietnam; just like in his
                                            dream, his fears had come true. The         to Vietnam and dying there.
a long-haul truck driver, and there was
no telling what she had found since I
                                            son came home from boot camp on
                                            leave. Again, he told his father that he    His father told him about doing
had bought many things during those
fifteen years. My driving ended when
                                            was still having dreams of his impend-
                                            ing death in Vietnam. His father again      his duty for his country and for
my back was about gone, and I was
told I would be lucky if I were to walk
                                            said not to worry, he would do fine.
                                                                                        his family’s honor.
in five years. So, I went back to school     As a jest, the father went to a store
to become a counselor. I was facing         and bought two large beer mugs.
a term paper in history on the Sixties,     These beer mugs are quite common.
1960s that is, and did not have a clue      You can still buy them to this day.
as to what I was going to write about.      The father wanted the mugs to be
That is when “The Mug” reentered my         special, so he had the words “Draft
life. As a truck driver, I had looked out   beer, not me” put on the two mugs.
for that something special that caught      The father showed them to his son
my eye, and I could not live without.       and told him upon his return that he
I met the dealer who sold me the            and his father would have their drafts
mug in Quartzsite, Arizona, for just        in their mugs. The son reported to
five dollars. This is how I ended up         Vietnam and performed well. He
with the mug and the story behind it.       was promoted to squad leader. The
                                            son earned the Purple Heart. In do-

                                                                                                DeltaWinds Page 21
                                ing so, though, the son had paid the          washed, took it home, and found
                                highest price; the fears of his death         it a place of honor in my house.
                                had come true. He was killed in Viet-
                                nam, saving the lives of the mem-             I was in Quartzsite a week later, and
                                bers in his squad during an ambush.           I went looking for the father. I met his
                                                                              wife instead, told her who I was, and
                                The father got the news of his son’s          said I wanted to speak to her husband
                                death and put the two mugs in a place         to let him know that I had paid my trib-
                                of honor in his son’s memory. The two         ute to the fallen soldiers in Vietnam.
                                mugs were never filled with the draft          The man’s wife told me that her hus-
                                beer that the father had promised his         band had told her about our meeting
                                son. The father could not do it since         and our talk about their son and the
                                his son would not be with him to drink        mug. She said she had not seen him
                                from the other mug. The mugs sat              as happy as he was for a number of
                                in the place of honor for over thirty         years since the death of their son. The
                                years until the day that the father was       night that I bought the mug, the father
                                moving one of them. He dropped                went to bed and never woke up; he
                                it, and it shattered on the floor.            passed away in his sleep. I like to
                                                                              think that the father and son are having
                                Earlier I mentioned that I bought the         that draft beer together some place.
                                mug from a dealer, but what I did not
The mugs sat in the place of    say was that the father had just sold
                                it to the dealer, and he was still there
                                                                              I think that the father and his son would
                                                                              want people to know their story. The mug
honor for over thirty years     at the stand. That’s how I came by the
                                story behind the mug. As the father
                                                                              is in good shape for being forty years
                                                                              old, no cracks or chips in the glass, but
until the day that the father   and I talked about his son, tears came
                                to the father’s eyes. I asked the father if
                                                                              the lettering has faded and shows some
                                                                              age. It now sits in my history professor’s
was moving one of them. He      I could do one thing: I had friends who
                                went to Vietnam and I never heard
                                                                              office, the office of Professor Joseph
                                                                              Bisson at San Joaquin Delta College. His
dropped it, and it shattered    from them again. I was too young
                                to go by six months. My question to
                                                                              office is on the fourth floor of Holt. If you
                                                                              go there, you can see the mug, waiting
on the floor.                    the father was could I have one draft
                                beer in the mug, one beer to honor
                                                                              for the day someone asks about it so
                                                                              the Story of the Mug can be told again.
                                those who never came
                                home, and those like
                                his son who gave
                                their all for our coun-
                                try. The father told me
                                I could do whatever I
                                wanted with the mug;
                                it was mine now. I
                                told him I couldn’t do
                                it without his consent.
                                The man told me he
                                would be proud if I
                                would honor his son
                                and the others who
                                never came home.
                                One strange thing I
                                thought, though, at
                                the time was that the
                                man would not tell me
                                his name. He asked
                                that I make my toast to
                                all of America’s fallen
                                soldiers in Vietnam.

                                I walked into the bar
                                that I used to go to
                                and had the bartender
                                fill up the mug. I raised
                                it into the air and said,
                                “For you who gave it
                                your all. Your honor
                                and your lives are not
                                forgotten.” I drank the
                                beer, had the mug
DeltaWinds Page 22
                                                                       by Bixian Liao
For a long time, I intentionally dis-         ents group . . . .The
tanced myself from the wealthy busi-          child is ordinarily
nessmen in China. In the early 1980s,         expected to acquire
private business ownership became             his parents’ loyalties
permitted. The population of wealthy          and prejudices” (35).
businessmen grew dramatically. They           My mother dislikes
showed off their newfound wealth by           dishonest men be-
wildly driving their expensive BMWs           cause she firmly be-
on the street and constructing palatial       lieves that they are
houses in good neighborhoods. Most            creatures submitted
of these newly emerged wealthy busi-          to evil desires. She
ness owners were married, but in              says they will never
public, they behaved as if they were          be caring husbands
not married. Whenever I saw a BMW             or responsible fa-
dashing down the street, I would              thers. As soon as
imagine the driver was a wealthy              I was considered
businessman. Like his colleagues,             mature enough to
the driver feverishly lived a licentious      know about dating,
life. He would flirt with young girls in       my mother explained her expecta-             Bixian Liao plans to transfer to U.C.
restaurants and nightclubs, deceive           tions of my future husband. First, he        Berkeley in the fall of 2004 to major
his wife with no scruples, and even           should not be too wealthy because            in business. Her career goal is to
discard his family for good. Once he          possessing too much money would              become a certified public accountant
was free from the so-called distasteful       provide him power and access to oth-         within five years.
marriage and expensive obligations            er women. Second, he should make
of childrearing, he would indulge him-        his family top priority and be faithful
self in a luxurious life with younger,        to his wife. By using her own experi-
prettier women and leave his poor             ence with my irresponsible father as
aging wife and children in misery.            an example, my mother cautioned
With this imaginary wealthy business-         me to stay away from men who even
man fixed in my mind, I concluded,             slightly exhibited characteristics of
“Wealthy businessmen are immoral              irresponsibility or dishonesty; other-
and deceitful. Keep away from them.”          wise, I would get hurt and live a miser-
I thought holding this prejudice could
protect me from despair, so I never felt
                                              able life. From then on, I stayed aware
                                              and carefully examined the men I
                                                                                           After I worked for a prosperous
the need to discover where it came
from and whether or not it was justi-
                                              met, trying to avoid getting involved
                                              with a negligent and or corrupt man.
                                                                                           and well-educated boss who
fied, until I read Dr. Ruggiero’s book.
                                              Nevertheless, reality is not always pre-
                                                                                           deceived his wife with a young
Not until reading Vincent R. Ruggiero’s
Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Criti-
                                              dictable. I once fell in love with a small
                                              business owner in China. When our
                                                                                           girl, I further adhered to the
cal Thinking did I recognize that this
image of wealthy businessmen in
                                              relationship began, he was working
                                              full-time as a statistician in the same
                                                                                           perception of all wealthy
China had been carved into my mind
for years. Like glasses with “serious
                                              company with me while working
                                              part-time on his small business. Six
                                                                                           businessmen as adulterous.
distorted lenses” (94) obstructing me         months later, he quit his full-time job
from seeing the world accurately, the         and concentrated his energy solely
stereotype hindered me from thinking          on his business. His company grew
critically and thus attaining the utmost      dramatically while our love went in
self-improvement that “can affect ev-         the opposite direction. He was able to
ery area of [my] life so positively” (151).   employ seven people and purchase a
                                              car and a minivan, which many wage-
Dr. Ruggiero correctly points out that        earning people could not afford at that
family members, especially parents,           time. When, coincidentally, I found
more or less influence our present             out he was dating another girl, I was
views (5). Another psychologist,              heartbroken. I decided to break up
Gordon W. Allport, concludes, “In             with him. Three months later he mar-
every society on earth the child is           ried a girl who he had impregnated.
regarded as a member of his par-              Despite this change in events, he still
                                                                                                   DeltaWinds Page 23
                                  came to my house, saying something               businessman. When he persisted, I
                                  that he should not have said to me               threatened to break off the relationship.
                                  but to his wife the night before his
                                  wedding. Ever since I broke up with              Dr. Ruggiero states that both “overgen-
                                  him, no other wealthy businessmen                eralizations and stereotypes hinder
My behavior of perceiving all     could gain my trust. I believed they
                                  were all the same as him: adulterous.
                                                                                   critical thinking because they prevent
                                                                                   us from seeing the differences among
wealthy businessmen as disloyal   After I worked for a prosperous and
                                                                                   people within groups” (110). From
                                                                                   what he says, I did not think critically
to their wives fit the definition   well-educated boss who deceived
                                  his wife with a young girl, I further ad-
                                                                                   and see the difference between my
                                                                                   boyfriend and my wanton image of
of stereotype for two reasons.    hered to the perception of all wealthy
                                  businessmen as adulterous. Accord-
                                                                                   businessmen. It led to my irrational
                                                                                   behavior toward him and resulted in
                                  ing to Dr. Ruggiero, overgeneralization          the unnecessary quarrel. Ruggiero
                                  is “to ascribe to all the members of a           suggests that critical thinkers should
                                  group what fits only some member . . .            base “judgments on evidence rather
                                  . A stereotype is an overgeneralization          than personal preferences, [defer]
                                  that is especially resistant to change”          judgment whenever evidence is
                                  (109). My behavior of perceiving all             insufficient [and] revise judgments
                                  wealthy businessmen as disloyal to               when new evidence reveals error”
                                  their wives fit the definition of stereo-          (19). To become a critical thinker, I
                                  type for two reasons. First, I had not           should base my judgment toward
                                  considered changing my view for                  the wealthy businessmen on suffi-
                                  twelve years. Second, it was based               cient evidence and stop stereotyping
                                  on just a few examples, which were               them, especially after my stereotyping
                                  mostly drawn from my limited person-             was revealed as an error of thinking.
                                  al experience. Dr. Ruggiero points out
                                  that our confidence about our person-             Obviously, to use critical thinking ef-
                                  al experience “can cause us to attach            fectively is a formidable challenge. It
                                  greater significance and universal-               will take continuing effort over a long
                                  ity            to particular events              period of time, as Ruggiero says, but
                                                   than they                       the challenge is worthwhile because
                                                   deserve”                        thinking is so important in everyday
                                                          (65).                    life (151). I am currently pursuing my
                                                                                   bachelor’s degree, and almost every
                                                                                         course I have taken has required
                                                                                          critical thinking skills. According
                                                                                           to Dr. Ruggiero, “[Business] and
                                                                                            professional leaders stress
                                                                                             that proficiency in thinking is
                                                                                              necessary to solve problems
                                                                                              and make decisions on the
                                                                                              job” (151). I plan to enter the
                                                                                             business field in the United
                                                                                              States after graduation, and I
                                                                                               want to be prepared for the
                                  I personally know fewer than a                   job. Critical thinking skills are essen-
                                  dozen wealthy men, and there are                 tial in handling the challenges I will
                                  thousands of wealthy businessmen                 encounter in the competitive business
                                  in China. Are they all adulterous? Can           world. In addition, many psycholo-
                                  I conclude they are all adulterous               gists consider thinking skills crucial
                                  based on a few examples? Ruggiero’s              in our personal lives (Ruggiero 151),
Obviously, to use critical        answer is no: “it takes more than one
                                  or a few examples to support a gener-
                                                                                   and the quarrel between my boyfriend
                                                                                   and me proves they are correct. In
thinking effectively is a         alization; for sweeping generalization,
                                  even a dozen may not be enough” (65).
                                                                                   order to be a critical thinker, I am
                                                                                   ready to correct the distorted image
formidable challenge.             However, I found it difficult to ignore
                                                                                   I used to have of wealthy business-
                                                                                   men in China. I can’t wait to apologize
                                  my personal experiences. A year ago,             to my boyfriend, and I envision his
                                  I had an unpleasant conversation with            understanding smile and loving hug.
                                  my boyfriend about his plans for a
                                  career in business. When he asked
                                  me about business as a major for him,
                                                                            Work Cited
                                  I refused to allow it. I told him that if
                                  he became rich, he would dump me. Ruggiero, Vincent R. Beyond Feel-
                                  He argued how could I be a business- ings: A Guide to Critical Thinking 7 Thinking. th
                                                                            e d . N e w Yo r k : M c G r a w - H i l l . 2 0 0 3 .
                                  woman yet he could not become a

DeltaWinds Page 24
The Tattoo and
Piercing Festival,
or Making New Friends
Let me begin by saying that my idea
                                                                     by Amy Powell

                                             group to the tattoo festival at the Hyatt     Amy Powell is in her last semester at
of an evening well spent usually             Regency I was pleased to have been            Delta College. As she says, “I have
starts with dinner al fresco with good       included. A guy named Mike from my            had the best time here! I am one
conversation and good friends and            floor offered to pick me up as I had           of those late-in-life bloomers who
ends with a glass of hearty red wine.        no clue where the Hyatt was. I agreed         decided to go back to school at the
I enjoy literature, Orange Pekoe tea         to go with him thinking all the while         decrepit age of 28.” She considers
and Spanish soap operas. I am not the        that it might be dangerous to get into        herself a local girl though she spent
sort of woman who likes to live her          a car with a guy I’d only known for           the greater portion of her childhood
life “on the edge.” I cook, I garden, I      a month. I needn’t have worried. As           on a small farm in Oregon. She
take my vitamins and I try to workout        I strapped Mike’s spare motorcycle            graduated high school in Lodi “a
everyday. I will never ride a Harley         helmet on over my hair and straddled          million years ago and promptly
Davidson motorcycle, drink beer like         the back of his Harley, I thought for the     moved to Boise, Idaho, much to
a sorority girl or get a tattoo. However,    thousandth time “What am I doing?”            my everlasting regret. I spent a lot
(and there are always “howevers” with                                                      of time there trying out a variety of
these sorts of stories aren’t there?) at     Looking back now, I realize that I            nowhere jobs and eventually knew
one point during my early 20’s I was         should have enjoyed the ride to the           that I wanted to come home, to the
very interested in shucking my dowdy         hotel more, as it was the highlight           Central Valley and get an education.”
image and trying new things, such as         of my evening. We got to the hotel            She is currently working on getting
drinking beer like a sorority girl, riding   and I managed to pry my cold, numb            her lower division courses finished
on the back of a Harley Davidson and         fingers loose from around my ride’s            so that she can transfer to a four-
going so far as to attend a tattoo and       waist. We proceeded into the conven-          year university in California and
piercing festival where I spent the          tion hall where the scene that met my         pursue a degree in journalism. “I live
greater portion of the evening recoil-       eyes was evocative of a Hieronymus            on a vineyard outside of Lodi and
ing in shock and horror at the obscene       Bosch altarpiece. Instead of turning          work at a small Italian restaurant to
things that people were giddily, if al-      on my heel and walking with all haste         pay the bills where I am constantly
beit drunkenly, doing to themselves.         back out the door, I accepted the beer        amazed by people who throw
                                             that another of my work associates            money at me just for bringing them
Why, one may ponder, knowing all my          thrust in my hand and proceeded to            spaghetti!”
domestic instincts, would I attend a         follow the group deeper into the con-
party where all of the “best” (and trust     vention hall, past the “band” who were
me I use the term lightly) in the field       screaming obscenities while purple
of body adornment had gathered to            strobe lights flashed across their fac-
show off their skills? Simple. I was         es. It is at this juncture that I must con-
desperate to fit in. I was living in         fess words fail me. What I witnessed
Boise, Idaho, at the time—a mistake          was nothing short of nightmarish. It
I will never make again—and had re-          will have to suffice when I say that the
cently been hired to work for a com-         human brain is an extremely creative
puter-chip manufacturing company             instrument, and considering the body
where I met a group of people who            parts that were being pierced in that         Now normally I have very little
underneath their electrically-grounded       convention center that night, it was
lab coats and shoe booties sported a         a wonder that there were no emer-             in common with people who put
wide variety of studs, earplugs, rings       gency medical services on standby
and tattoos. Now normally I have very        in case an “expert” hit a main artery.        holes in their bodies for fun.
little in common with people who put
holes in their bodies for fun. I am not a    A maniacal carnivalesque atmosphere
knowingly prejudiced person; it’s just       pervaded the room. Men and women
that it is very unlikely that I would be     were running around the convention
able to carry on a coherent conversa-        center yelling at booth attendants
tion with them without staring at the        about the “work” they wanted to have
rings in their eyebrows. But the truth       done, and all of them exhibited a
is I was lonely; I had not lived in the      marked preference in their wardrobes
area for long and thought, “Hey, if this     for chains, beards, and horrifyingly
is what it takes to not have to spend        revealing leather ensembles. Special
every night talking to my 70-year-old        chairs had been brought inside the
alcoholic neighbor—sign me up!” So           booths so that body parts would be
when I was invited to go with the            more easily accessible to the “artists”
                                                                                                   DeltaWinds Page 25
                                                                        than upset her. I dutifully opened the
                                                                        album and at first glance my eyes
                                                                        refused to make sense of the photos.
                                                                        Gradually, however, my brain and
                                                                        eyes began to function in unison, and
                                                                        I realized that what I was looking at
                                                                        was a gallery of photos that displayed
                                                                        this person’s facility with ink, needle
                                                                        and piercing instrument on areas of
                                                                        the human body that are quite known
                                                                        for being extraordinarily sensitive.

                                                                        To say at this juncture that I was hor-
                                                                        rified would be a bit of an understate-
                                                                        ment. I felt ill. I snapped her little book
                                                                        of horrors shut and pasted a sickened
                                                                        smile on my face, nodded in what I
                                                                        hoped was an appreciative manner,
                                                                        and turned my attention back to Mike
                                                                        who had just finished paying for his
                                                                        new hole. He was regaling his experi-
                                                                        ence to the group in minute details,
                                                                        like a soldier will a war story, and when
                                                                        he asked me what I thought, I replied,
                                                                        “It’s very . . . uh . . . nice.” Thinking
                                                                        that I ought to at least display a modi-
                                                                        cum of interest in the proceedings, I
                                                                        asked if the piercing instruments had
                                                                        to be disinfected before being used
                                                                        on another victim. For some reason,
                                                                        that to this day still escapes me, my
                                                                        co-workers found this innocent ques-
                                                                        tion uproariously funny. I was prof-
                                                                        fered another beer, which I declined.
                             and scores of drunken denuded peo-
                             ple were climbing eagerly into them.       I managed to stay for the minimum

We proceeded into the        I stumbled along behind the group
                             trying desperately to avoid glimps-
                                                                        amount of time that would be deemed
                                                                        courteous (about 43 minutes) and then
convention hall where the    ing body parts that I would not nor-
                             mally have seen unless I had known
                                                                        quietly called a cab from the main
                                                                        lobby. As I rode home in the back of
scene that met my eyes was   these people a good deal better.           the cab, I clearly remember thinking
                                                                        “Now how could I have avoided this?
evocative of a Hieronymus    I was so engrossed in this endeavor
                             that I bumped into Mike who had
                                                                        . . . And why does this car smell like a
                                                                        can of Raid?” It didn’t take me too long
Bosch altarpiece.            stopped before a particularly vile look-
                             ing booth whose table sported a wide       to realize that I had allowed despera-
                             variety of piercing instruments. He        tion for social interaction to cloud my
                             had expressed a wish to “have some-        judgment. I was so desperate to fit in
                             thing done” and, like the ghouls they      with the work crowd that I quieted my
                             were, my co-workers had naturally          natural intuition and had a miserable
                             stopped to watch. As Mike stripped         evening. I spent the entire next day
                             off his shirt and sat down in front of     penitently sitting in an oversized chair
                             his chosen artist, I made my way           at Barnes and Noble trying to cleanse
                             towards the back of our assembly,          my “chi.” Eventually I did find a few
                             all the while trying to keep my eyes       friends who had my same interests in
                             carefully averted from the event. As       Boise, and I spent fewer nights alone
                             I was studiously looking anywhere          with my neighbor, but I have always
                             but at my co-worker, a bald, be-ringed
                                                                        remembered that episode, and to this
                             person noticed my unfocused gaze
                                                                        day when someone proposes an out-
                             falling on her booth and mistaking
                                                                        ing that sounds less than fascinating
                             it for genuine interest, thrust a small
                             photo album at me, encouraging me          to me, flashes of that evening come
                             to “have a look!” She was a large men-     back to me and I am able to decline
                             acing looking woman and I thought          with a courteous, but nonetheless
                             it wiser to comply with her demands        succinct “You’ve got to be joking.”

DeltaWinds Page 26
The




Twin Towers
Tall, sleek, soaring. To some they
were beautiful and to others they were
ugly. They reflected the rays of the
sunshine on one side and cast a shad-
ow of darkness on the other. They
were viewed as an engineering and
architectural marvel and an oversized
                                                                     by Nick Zeiher




                                           see the sunsets. But those who faced
                                           the towers seldom, if ever, enjoyed
                                           any sunshine or sunsets. Their win-
                                           dows and rooms grew dark and their
                                           views became obstructed by the gi-
                                           gantic glass, cement, and steel of the
                                           Twin Towers that not only touched the
                                                                                         Nick Zeiher, originally from San
                                                                                         Jose, later moved to Santa Rosa,
                                                                                         and then spent some time in the
                                                                                         South Pacific with his parents
                                                                                         before moving here to Stockton.
                                                                                         He enjoys spending time with his
                                                                                         family, loves to snow ski and is
                                                                                         an avid San Francisco Giants fan.
                                                                                         Go Barry!!! He plans to complete
                                                                                         his general education here at
                                                                                         Delta Junior College, and then
                                                                                         move on to a State University
                                                                                         to obtain a degree in education.
                                                                                         His goal is to teach grammar
                                                                                         school students with learning
                                                                                         disabilities. As he says, “Being a
hunk of glass, steel and cement. They      sky, but for many blocked it from view.
operated as their own city, with their     These people could not see the beau-          student with numerous learning
own zip code, and they transcended         ty of the towers, their light, their glory;   disabilities, I believe it is important
and engulfed everything around them.       they could only see the shadows               for me to go into education to help
                                           and darkness now cast upon them.              students with learning disabilities
I will never forget the first time I went                                                 understand they can make it and
to New York City; I found it a wonder-     Some viewed the sleek, smooth archi-          to always believe in themselves
ful city filled with magnificent build-      tecture of the buildings as beautiful,        and reach for their dreams.”
ings, new and old. But, the buildings      modern, clean and crisp, creating
I found the most incredible were the       a skyline that was overwhelming.
Twin Towers. I lay flat on my back,         Yet, others felt they were nothing
on the cold cement, right in front of      more than giant, square, glass and
them to see all the way to their very
tops. They were the tallest, biggest,
                                           steel box-like structures with no real
                                           shape, beauty or form about them.
                                                                                         Some people thought the Twin
most beautiful buildings I had ever
seen. Some New Yorkers loved them
                                           I was able to have several conver-
                                           sations with people who worked
                                                                                         Towers were nothing more
for their immense size; still others
hated them for the exact same rea-
                                           in the Twin Towers when I visited
                                           them. The people who worked in
                                                                                         than two ugly buildings, built
son. The center where they stood
was named to represent a world
                                           the restaurants on the top floors
                                           talked about the weather. They told
                                                                                         to unnecessary heights, just to
united in commerce: “The World Trade
Center.” However, those who named
                                           how when they came to work it was
                                           calm, dry, and warm at the entrance,
                                                                                         symbolize the dominance of
the center had no idea how one day
it would unite the world -- not in the
                                           yet when they reached the top and
                                           looked out the “Windows of the World”
                                                                                         one nation in the world.
glorious celebration that opened           it would be windy, misty, and cold.
them, but in a tragedy that would
forever mark their place in history.       Some people thought the Twin Tow-
                                           ers were nothing more than two
The Twin Towers soared 1,350 feet          ugly buildings, built to unnecessary
into the air. They looked as if they       heights, just to symbolize the domi-
touched the base of heaven. They           nance of one nation in the world.
were the tallest buildings in New York.    This view seemed to be the same
Their enormous windows were made           view that was taken by those who
to reflect the beautiful rays of the sun    brought them down on September
on one side, but due to the immense        11, 2001. However, I believe those
size of the buildings themselves, they     from abroad who brought down these
blocked these same rays of sunshine        incredible buildings missed what they
on the other side, casting a long dark     were built to represent, just as those
shadow every day. Those who lived          in New York who hated them had.
on the east side, facing away from the
towers, enjoyed the sunshine; those For beyond the reflective glass, the
who lived on the west side, facing sleek exterior of steel and cement
away from the towers, were able to were people -- people from different

                                                                                                 DeltaWinds Page 27
                                 countries all over the world, with differ-    station had been. Seeing this left me
                                 ent religions, cultures, backgrounds,         saddened. My beautiful buildings that
                                 all working in peace to try to create a       had once reached the heavens were
                                 better world for all to live. There were      no more. The pile of rubble seemed
                                 people who represented oil firms              small in comparison to the buildings
                                 and people who represented chari-             that had once been. All that could be
                                 ties. Perhaps some of these people            recognized were a few larger pieces
                                 hated each other (the darkness, the           of the outer walls still partially stand-
                                 shadows), some loved each other (the          ing. However, even they looked like
                                 light, the sunshine) or some simply           something ripped from the pages
                                 over time found a middle ground of            of my history book -- a bombed out
                                 acceptance through understanding (a           building from WW II, not a sky-
                                 little of both). These buildings were         scraper in the middle of Manhattan.
                                 not built to represent dominance
                                 over anything or anyone, but to               The terrorists may have brought down
                                 represent the hope, peace, and ac-            these two controversial buildings that
                                 ceptance of a “world” that had joined         some loved and others hated, but in

However, even they looked        together, in commerce, to try to im-
                                 prove life for everyone, everywhere.
                                                                               the end no one was happy they were
                                                                               gone. The terrorists had not separated

like something ripped from       I will never forget the last time I saw the
                                                                               the world by destroying the towers;
                                                                               in fact, the terrorists achieved just the

the pages of my history book     Twin Towers: They were not beautiful;
                                 they were nothing more               than a
                                                                               opposite. For a time, the loss of the
                                                                               towers united the world. As for the in-

-- a bombed out building from    pile of nondescript rubble.
                                 ed beams of steel dark-
                                                                      Twist-
                                                                      ened
                                                                               dividuals within the towers, many left
                                                                               this earth on September 11, 2001, and

WW II, not a skyscraper in the   and black from the fires,
                                 chunks of cement shat-
                                                                      huge
                                                                      tered
                                                                               went to the heavens that the towers
                                                                               seemed to touch, but these people

middle of Manhattan.             into meaningless forms,
                                 less window frames, and
                                                                      pane-
                                                                      lost,
                                                                               will never be forgotten. And neither
                                                                               will the Twin Towers. They will always
                                 torn, bits of papers;                                              stand as a uniting
                                 pieces of lives,                                                     force around the
                                 scattered about                                                      world to those
                                 everywhere. Huge                                                     who lived both to
                                 cranes able to pick                                                  the east and the
                                 up twenty or thirty                                                  west of them. The
                                 tons looked like                                                      Twin Towers and
                                 little Tonka toys in                                                  all they stood for
                                 the fifty-foot deep                                                    will always live
                                 pit among the piles                                                   in the sunshine
                                 of rubble. The fifty-                                                  o f h u m a n i t y.
                                 foot deep pit was
                                 the area where
                                 the underground
                                 mall and subway




DeltaWinds Page 28

				
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