He is honored by Fr. Earl, to come up front before, well, a captive audience. (Pictured: Mr. Jay Lemann, class of 66!)
He is required to read from any of a dozen works of great literature or poetry.
(Note: the rest of this is archetypal - I'm not saying it applied to Jay that day. Think of this as "neo-presidential" truth.)
Eventually, he badly mispronounces a word or mangles a key phrase - usually the core point of the work. Or... Perhaps he simply neglects to shower after gym in his enthusiastic rush to English class, triggering...
THE HOUSE STYLE
Fr. Earl intervenes to assist the "Designated Aquinas Man" or DAM with focus and due appreciation of the work at hand.
Methods of assistance vary, but a class favorite is "The Claw", which either has its roots in martial arts or years of building upper body strength, crabbing in Puget Sound.
In fairness, Fr. Earl provides an early warning system - a kind of sonic alert to benefit the DAM speaker... much like the click made by a land mine, before it goes off.
"MY SON, YOU ARE A BOIL ON THE BACKSIDE OF HUMANITY"!
Fr. Earl's "fair warning" is followed by a firm... reassuring... grasp of one's Trapezius.
It's a simple fact of physics that "The Claw" anchors a speaker to one location, allowing Fr. Earl to finish a point of clarification, without the distraction that would otherwise be caused by running for the door.
"The Claw" is most inspiring... and frankly, entertaining... when it is someone else's turn.
Some context for millenials: The term "Tough Love" was invented later.