Monday, August 8, 2011

Turns out, I've always been sort of an a-hole.

Yeah, I know I've not been here very much, sorry 'bout that. Doesn't seem to have stopped the world from moving forward. Although...there have been some seriously weird weather patterns that can only probably be explained by the lack of me tapping on a keyboard.


I was digging through old papers recently looking for something important and instead found a folder from my first semester at college. I was not good looking enough to not get any classes I really wanted, so was stuck in anything that had an opening, including a German class that met at 8:00 AM. Every. Freaking. Day, and a 300 level course called "Science, Technology & Public Policy." It was taught by someone who was most surely a relative of James Earl Jones - either that or his voice coach - because they sounded exactly the same. He made a lot of big bold statements and afterwards would survey the class, looking us each in the eye and say,




The rest of the class usually had at least a question. The bolder ones had comments. A few would even sometimes come up with a concern. I generally was just trying not to be noticed. Which was difficult, because there were 9 people in that class. Eight of them were over 21 years old, wearing varying layers of tie-dyed global patterns or ironic t shirts with Army surplus cargo shorts, unshaven legs and faces and smelled of patchouli. One of them was 18, had braces, a Duran Duran asymmetrical haircut, excess eyeliner, Esprit overalls, multiple black rubber braceleets and smelled of Love's Babysoft.

In between lectures, Professor James Earl Jones' Brother would assign reading and expect a written evaluation, so in the folder I found several word processor'ed attempts at sounding intelligent, obviously with a great deal of assistance from a thesaurus. And then I found this one - handwritten in class as a quiz.

It would be incredibly difficult to call this book compelling, perhaps even scandalous to use the word "interesting" when describing it. In fact, it would be most appropriate to call Dorothy Nelkins'  Controversy "kindling" rather than "literature." There are many texts in this world that are difficult to trudge through. There are a great number of tomes which do not appeal to anyone. Perhaps Nelkin was raised in a lifeless, loveless library of such volumes, surrounded only by her captors and an occasional visit by a sadistic dentist. In any case, her book sucks. Questions? Comments? Concerns?

And the professor's comment below:

I like you. B+

It was the only class I attended regularly that year.


  1. I like that you're back.

    I had a professor in undergrad who would, near the end of every class, say, "Questions? Queries? Conundrums?" No one ever asked or said anything, but I would hand him pun-riddles on sheets of paper as I left class.

  2. Good having you back Penne. Missed you.

  3. Don't stay away so long ... says she who goes weeks sometimes and has to be nudged to tap the keys again.

  4. I always had a Professor mention the same castigation: "Never say, 'ummm', Mr. Vigil. Umm is the mystic god of the Hindus".

    This story made me think about that--good reading your brain today.

  5. You're the only genius I know that references Love's Babysoft and James Earl Jones in the same piece. Yay you're back! I hope.



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