Bonnie Consolo

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I'll never forget it. 1984. Every Friday for one semester, Father Van D. treated our Freshman theology class to a cheezy 70's 'After-School Special' type of movie (you know the kind: the soundtrack would be all warbly at the beginning, had really bad actors, and the film would have those little spider hairs appear throughout.) Anyway, we had to write a 2-page 'moral to the story' paper on each film. One week, we were privileged to,  "A Day in the Life of Bonnie Consolo". This was a short movie about a lady who was born without arms, yet managed to carry on with every day activities, including being a mom and wife. I suppose it might be more inspiring to an older crowd, but come on: to a classroom of 14-15 year old males, the only thing we could think of was, "How does she...uh,...(insert crude bathroom humor here)...?"

Throughout the movie, they showed her doing all these things with her feet, including tying her son's shoes, preparing dinner, dicing tomatoes,.. even driving a car. I think most of us were secretly impressed with her acrobatics --she was pretty amazing, but a few just laughed the whole time, some were grossed-out when she sliced-and-diced tomatoes with her feet (even though she washed and rinsed just like someone would do with their hands), but I... Well I just didn't get it (along with just about every other assignment I was given).

So when it was time to write the report, I got this idea to list all the things she couldn't do. I even enlisted the brilliant minds of those at my lunch table to help me compile a 'Top 10' list of things that were impossible for Bonnie the Great to do. Since the paper had to be 2 pages, I made the title huge: (before papers had to be typed) I hand-wrote, "Bonnie Consolo: The Armless Wonder Lady", taking up most of the 1st page. At the bottom, I began the lesson learned.

"Well Bonnie Consolo thinks she's pretty cool, but I came up with a list of 10 things she can't do". (next page, double-spaced): 

1. Drive a stick-shift
2. Play the guitar
3. Chin-ups 
4. Bench-press 300lbs (my friends at the table were quick to point out that even I ..I.couldn't bench 300lbs, but I returned, "Neither can she!")
5. Pitch baseball,... (and I can't remember the rest, but you get the idea)

   I think the moral to the story went something like, "In conclusion, I've discovered a number of things she can't do, so I don't really see why she's so special". I got the paper back with a 'Do Over' on it. But I have to wonder if Father showed that paper to all the other Jesuits and had a good laugh at how someone so brain-dead managed to get into the school.

 

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