What do you look like to outsiders? In early September, LCDR William Bushnell challenged his English III students to observe alien “tribesmen” in their natural habitat and record their findings via short creative essays.
My students were reading excerpts from Cabeza de Vaca’s Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America, in which, like the title suggests, a Spanish explorer observes Native Americans for the first time. My students “sailed” to the Barnard Hall music room and observed a tribe of middle schoolers play instruments. LCDR WILLIAM BUSHNELL
“Journey upon the Barnard Sea” by junior/adventurer Juan Diego Silva Zuniga
I, along with my men, have now found a village after sailing for countless days upon the Barnard Sea. We have found what we were looking for: a tribe of middle schoolers.
After having our leader tell their leader, who seemed so by his size, that we were going to be observing them for research purposes, we set out to our task. Immediately after settling down to watch, they mirrored our movements for a bit. If we looked at them, they looked at us. If I smiled, they smiled. These were some things we expected.
They had these weapon-like items which seemed to be made out of some shiny metal. We assumed they were weapons up until the moment they started putting their mouths to them. They then made noise. Although they didn’t tell us what they were doing, it was safe to assume that they were welcoming us with some type of ritual. They continued to do this ritual for a bit, but sometimes when they stopped we could hear the same type of ritual coming from farther away.
An isolated man was trying to mimic the ritual, only to fail continuously, for he was by himself. We concluded that the chamber he was locked in was intended to teach the men to do the ritual right, otherwise they would stay in their cell.
Whilst observing, I noticed two irregularities in the tribe. They were all dressed the same except for one man. He was wearing a looser cloth than the others. Was he special? I do not know. They were all seated in the same manner, except for the smallest one. He was seated more towards the back than the others and he was hoisted higher than everyone else.
As me and my fellow explorers arrived on new land, we assumed it to be empty with no civilization. Come to find out, we were wrong. As we cut through the forest of this unknown land we realized that we were not alone. We walked about a mile into the wild and saw a few little people running around in an area that looked very advanced to us. I’ve never seen anything like it before. We decided to get more information.
We started to look at these unknown people, to see how they acted and what they did that was different then what we do. The humans we came across seemed to be smart and had clothing that was very proper and matched their attitudes. They were very nice and respectful, King Elias. They will not be a threat to your honor. They were all reading books and were talking to each other as if they they didn’t know what conflict was. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me. They were very social and still seemed pure with no weapons or anything potentially harmful towards each other. They were not alarmed when they saw us arrive. They were actually calm and happy and interested to see new people.
These people were very small in their size and width. They all had the same haircuts and some of them were acting disobedient to their elders and were getting checked for it firmly. They all acted as though they were on an equal level. No bullying each other or anything. They liked to trade their books with each other to gain more knowledge. Their language was unheard of. We will look into that eventually. We will be on our way sailing to our home land soon, your honor.
As a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Bill Bushnell spent the first part of his naval career as a Surface Warfare Officer on a variety of ships. His first shore tour was at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. From there, Bill entered the Naval Reserves and began a career in secondary education at the Culver Academies in Culver, IN. The Navy recalled Bill back to active duty to serve as an instructor and the Associate Chair of the English Department at the United States Naval Academy. In 2008, he completed a tour in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and returned to the Naval Academy until his retirement in 2013. Bill comes to MMA from Low Country Preparatory School in Pawleys Island, SC, where he was the Upper School Director.