Pim’s Toughness


Mr. Tim Bussen

We often stumble through the day, mindlessly fulfilling our quotidian responsibilities, unaware of the mysteries and miracles that permeate the world through which we meander. Sometimes, however, we can’t help but notice those most acute moments of our existence, sacred moments that violently shake us from our slumber to cast a holy ray on the beauty and splendor of life.


I recently had such an epiphany. On Wednesday, Nov. 10, beginning at 10:30 a.m., I sat down in room 411 to fulfill what I believed would be yet another mundane obligation—proctoring a senior exam. And mundane it was! Students scribbled in exam booklets, and I fell into the numbness that attends essay grading. All was normal, all was as it should be, all was…fine.


Nearing the time limit I lifted my head, hoping to shatter the hum of the commonplace by

catching one of my charges cheating. (Opportunities for punishment are, of course, the moments teachers live for.)


But no underhandedness was afoot, and dejectedly I began to drop my head back to my work.


It was then that I noticed it: that fluid at once life-sustaining and abject—blood. Senior Miles Pim had a tissue stuck in his nose. Blood soaked the rag and streamed onto the desk. Yet Miles continued to write. As I watched the gore pool and spread across the desktop, I realized that I was witnessing the very image of perseverance and tenacity. Woozy, Pim teetered in his seat, yet the pen never ceased its course across the paper. He reeled, swayed toward the earth, put a hand down…and then impossibly popped back upright and addressed the booklet yet again.


I thought, How could this be?! A lesser man would have succumbed to blood loss, lost

consciousness, probably died. In my mind, I inhabited Miles’ reality: darkness closed in from vision’s edge, raw nerve shrieked, a pall of fear and doubt settled over the soul.


And yet, none of this was a match for the indomitable will of Miles Pim.


I have no words to describe the effect this sight had on my spirit. This was the very form—the shape and texture, the character and the essence—of possibility and endurance.


The world is cold, unfeeling, hostile. Yet here was a spark which illuminated for a brief

moment—a moment yes, but one as deep and profound as eternity—the nobility of human struggle and the transcendence of human vitality. Peruse, if you dare, the photos collected here, and drink deeply, as I did, of the restorative tonic that is hope.