The Penny Post
By Andrei Codrescu
Classes in Sweat Management, both for beginners and advanced, were offered by the New Orleans School for the Imagination as far back as the late 90s. At the time these classes were thought to be some kind of joke and we had only a few students. Our enrollments tended to be Canadians who didnt (or pretended not to) get it. For them, getting used to summer in New Orleans was a serious project that needed to be conducted with the utmost professionalism.
In Beginner SW we taught them how to slow down their breath and how to produce circular slow effects by reciting the poetry of Ted Enslin. We coached them in social situations where the management of sweat was a high art conducted with kerchiefs, bandanas, and an appropriate language appropriated from colloquial 19th century writers. We organized costume parties in rooms without A.C., and we served warm drinks that brought our pupils to near collapse, a state ideal for the chilling effects of the snow-bound verses of Siberias greatest poet, Iskar Ardun, which we had assigned for memorization.
Our (mostly Canadian) beginning students were thus trained to survive for at least one month (July) in New Orleans. Some of them returned for our tough advanced course, but only half of these graduated. Advanced training in SW had for its goal the complete control of every drop of sweat so that it not only went where the sweater wanted it to, but it could be directed with precision to cause intense pleasure. The final exam consisted in a walk from the French Market, up Decatur, and over Canal all the way uptown until Carrolton Avenue, wearing bluejeans and a hoodie. The walk itself was rigurously divided into breath-training recitations of the poetry of the masters of NOSI, such as Dave Brinks, Meghan Burns, Elizabeth Garcia, Bill Meyers, Andy Young, James Nolan, and Lee Grue. Many students dropped out because they couldnt memorize so much poetry, or so they claimed. Our analyses reveal that they quit because they were wussies.
If those early educational efforts were somewhat tentative, weve had no such luxury in the past five years. Our classes are mobbed. The reality of global warming has finally sunk in and the summer of 2006 clinched it. People as far as Alaska are looking at sweat training as the only way to survive the future. Weve expanded the program to accommodate upward of 3,000 students and weve hired new staff, mostly soldiers fresh from the deserts of Iraq and Lebanon who fought in 120 degrees heat carrying heavy gear.
When you graduate from NOSIs Sweat Management program, you will be a master of effluvia control (M.E.C. is the degree earned) and are licensed to teach the fainting masses of the temperate zones. Our new Sweat Bunker, a magnificent solar-powered building, will be completed by June 2007.
Even though the L.M.D.C. is closing shop, its directors need to show strong leadership on these types of final issues.