Sonoma was pretty lame, in retrospect. Paco and I lived together that semester, which made things better than they would have been otherwise – but the school itself was pretty weak.

Averbuck’s class was quite entertaining, and it was in one of those stadium/ampitheater type classrooms. I also can’t recall exactly why (maybe because he was a little bit like my former Political Science teacher, Mr. Rogers), but Paco and I would indeed often joke about pushing our rotund professor down the stairs. Sometimes he got fired up about something, and could be fairly annoying.

The worst – yet most hilarious – experience I ever had in his class was one day when he gave us a special slide presentation . He was going to be lecturing on the value in understanding alternate philosophical viewpoints, as well as the importance in facing one’s own fears and insecurities encountered in doing so. He fired up the projector and showed us a wide array of photos by Robert Mapplethorpe and others, mostly showing different kinds of homosexual leather bondage stuff. It was frightening, hearing him cheerfully going on about how “ground breaking” all this stuff was, artistically. Call me close-minded if you will, but I fail to find any artistic merit in a photo of a guy with his arm up another guy’s butt.
He paused on one particular slide: a waist-down shot of a black guy in a suit, with his kielbasa hanging out. As Paco said, “no thanks!”.
So there we were, a class of about 100 people, with a ten-foot high johnson on the projector screen in front of us. I could tell that I wasn’t the only one who wanted him to just move on and get that thing out of our faces, but he wouldn’t. The photo was one of the central points of discussion for his lecture, and he confided in us that this particular work had caused a reaction in him.

“…and it was this piece that made me realize that I fear the black man’s penis.”

I couldn’t believe what we were hearing. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh, cry, or walk out. He went on to explain in full detail how the photo made him recognize, acknowledge, and eventually understand his fear of the black man’s penis. He must have lectured for at least ten minutes about how white males subconsciously feel inferior to blacks because of genital size. In his words, this photo is particularly confrontational to white men for this reason. He emphasised the importance of overcoming such things in order to be “culturally enlightened” or whatever, but never did said whether or not he overcame this fear himself.

I remember leaving class that day, a little shaken by how surreal the preceding 1.5 hours had been. As we walked out, Paco and I compared our reactions to the lecture and presentation.

“I’ve never really even thought about it before, but yeah, I guess I DO fear the black man’s penis. I mean, especially after having one stare us in the face for a half hour. That was freakin’ sick.”

“Yeah, me too. I guess we’re not culturally enlightened.”

“Guess not. I mean, now that I think about it, I fear the WHITE man’s penis, too… or ANY man’s penis, really.”


“Let’s go push Averbuck down the stairs.”

Aside from the occasionally interesting Philosophy class and a few others, Sonoma State was a major disappointment. It was smaller than Sierra College, and had fewer students – or so it seemed. There was absolutely no college “scene” there, and the professors were all pretty wack. Plus, it rained almost every single day that entire semester. It didn’t take long for me to decide to move back to warm and sunny Sacramento to finish up my college career at CSUS.

Even though he’s long since retired, I think it would be funny to get in touch with Mr. Averbuck and ask him if he still fears the black man’s penis.

I hope so, for his sake.