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Glass Tiger, "I Will Be There"

30 years ago, I had Dr. Briggs for a whole year of chemistry. He was among the most boring teachers. And with each chapter, lab, or lesson, he never stated the purpose, or let us know ahead of time what to expect.

Half the time, we were asleep. The other half of the time, we daydreamed. The one exception was the platinum blonde, effervescent, and bouncy Jill. Walkman on, she'd always waltz into the classroom. For added effect, she'd chew gum, and blow bubbles.

Jill's last name and mine both started with the letter L. Thus she and I often sat within arm's reach of each other. Once class started, we had to put away the Walkman and Discman. But we would pass notes to each other, often revealing what music we wanted to hear.

Jill had Glass Tiger's The Thin Red Line on cassette. Yes, everyone and radio stations played "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)," but Jill and I preferred deeper cuts, such as "Someday," the title track, and especially "I Will Be There." When Dr. Briggs left the room (ostensibly to fetch lab supplies), Jill would sneak in one more song. It was just so much fun, to snag the classmates adjacent to us, and joyfully sing, "I Will Be There."

Then as Dr. Briggs carted supplies to the classroom, we shut off the Walkman, and went silent.

But here's where things got interesting. Dr. Briggs sponsored the Science Club, of which I was a casual member [I'd have attended more frequently, but I had other clubs as well]. Via the Science Club, Dr. Briggs would arrange an occasional field trip on weekends. My first was an excursion to some stream along Stevens Creek in Santa Clara. We saw a completely different side of Dr. Briggs. In Chem class, he was drab and boring. But outdoors, he was a bio whiz, an interpretive guide, pointing out all sorts of environmental features. We students looked at each other, and wondered why Dr. Briggs didn't teach life sciences, for which he showed such passion.

On some warm and sunny Friday in April 1987, Dr. Briggs said that if anyone was interested, he or she should meet at the Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park. Everyone was kind of skeptical. And besides; it was a Friday. Students just wanted to play sports, eat a big meal, go to dances, or crash. Who the hell wanted to go to a museum?

I borrowed, among others, Jill's Glass Tiger cassette. I didn't have any expectations, but I made my way to the Academy of Sciences, and waited in front. IIRC, there were only five of us. One was Dr. Briggs' TA, a senior. The rest of us were sophomores. Hey-hey, Dr. Briggs got us in for free! Past the Anthropology section, by a hallway, the walls were painted with some kind of evolutionary timeline. You wouldn't know it, but hidden along this painted wall was a door. Dr. Briggs whipped out a key, opened the door, which led to -- a bunch of labs! As part of the public, you would NOT have known that an extensive array of labs lay behind and under the displays and walkways.

Dr. Briggs led us to a long laboratory countertop, which also served as a desk. He opened a bunch of drawers, revealing hundreds of insect specimens. He then opened another array of drawers, and revealed spiders. That was when he announced that he specialized in arachnids, which we had absolutely no idea. At school, he never revealed or even hinted at this moonlighting gig at the Academy of Sciences.

Somewhat proud, somewhat shy, Dr. Briggs then let us know that, along with his partner (who wasn't there at the time), he had his name on a species of spider they had discovered.

After that little trip into the bowels of the Academy of Sciences, my classmates' perspective changed. The following Monday, I returned the Glass Tiger cassette to Jill. I was less bouncy and was better able to separate concentrating in class, and then, once class was over, doubling down on the music. To this day, we audiophiles dig a little deeper, and reach for hidden gems (kind of like those old hidden labs at the Academy of Sciences), such as Glass Tiger's "I Will Be There."

-Lummy The Loch Monster

Edits: 02/03/17 02/03/17

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Topic - Glass Tiger, "I Will Be There" - Luminator 23:42:48 02/03/17 (1)


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