Friday, 10 March 2006

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Scott Eric Kaufman: Professional T.A. As a T.A. this quarter, my classroom responsibilities include all-purpose AV technician and intellectual peanut gallery. So in the course of a conversation about Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm —in which, you remember, he speculates about the last hours of the Andrea Gale—when the Pulitzer Prize-winning professor notes that Junger did his best to approximate what probably happened to the crew of the Andrea Gale, it is my responsbility to inform the class "it could've been witches." To wit: Scott: It could've been witches. Barry Siegel: But it probably wasn't. Scott: But it could have been. Barry Siegel: How would we know if it was? Scott: Look at her nose . . . Then hilarity would ensue and Siegel wouldn't be able to look at me the entire rest of the class period without turning bright red at the thought of this . (I sometimes blame the disappearance of Andrea Gale on wizards and ponies. This year I pinned it on witches. Note that I said "wizards and ponies," not "wizards on ponies." Everyone knows wizards on ponies are above reproach.) I am also responsible for taking attendence and keeping a watchful eye on students during the class. Today I saw a student a little too invested in typing every word Barry said. So I sent her an email which read: Subject: DON'T LAUGH! Dear [Student]: Your dignity depends on it. I know you see me staring you down . . . waiting for the slightest hint of a smile to crease your cheeks. Don't look up. Because I'm picking my nose. For you. Don't try to hold it in either. That'll only cause you to laugh even harder. I'll see your face contort as you attempt to suppress the laughter which will not let you deny its existence. It has a voice! It wants to be heard! DON'T LET IT! YOU CANNOT LAUGH! IF YOU LAUGH I WILL FORCE YOU TO WEAR THE BONNET OF SHAME! WHILE ON A PONY! WITH A WIZARD! NAMED "GREG"! OR POSSIBLY "JASON!" SO WHATEVER YOU DO: DON'T LAUGH!

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