That Moment When the Dullest Tool in Shed in Class Interrupts the Dude with the PhD

Disclaimer: I don’t think people who have a doctoral degree are better than plebes or anything, this particular student (who is an older, Dad-ish-aged guy) just kills me.

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

I try to call upon Buddha and Jesus and Mohammad (sometimes I need all three, okay?) to calm myself and center my chi (?) but…THIS GUY. I didn’t pay money to listen to his inane drivel (“inane drivel” is also how I describe my blog coincidentally) when there’s a person with 20 years of teaching experience and stories and PhD-ness in front of me giving a great lecture. A lecture that I need to hear so I know what will be on the tests. So, I, and everyone else, can pass the class. SO DO NOT INTERRUPT HIM CONSTANTLY TO SAY THESE THINGS:

“I think Confucianism goes real good with Buddhism.”

“Well, the Mongols are basically terrorists. They strike fear in MY heart, that’s for sure. *laughter that extends for too long*”

NO. STOP.

There is no hand-raising. There are no thoughtful contributions. This person only shouts out baaaarely related information that are mostly his personal reaction to historical events that we cover and causes a class-wide epidemic of second-hand embarrassment.

The professor, clearly the consummate professional, is always able to turn around this person’s (who, for our purposes today, shall be christened, “Jim”) comments into something relevant while also steering the conversation back to his actual lesson.

Just so you know, Jim, when the professor asks a question, unless he says the words, “Does anybody know…,” IT DOES NOT WARRANT A RESPONSE. There is such a thing as a rhetorical question.

But he will never understand. And so I will continue to close my eyes in pure frustration when, for the sixth time in ten minutes, this student interjects with ignorant or silly comments.

Here’s more things he’s said:

Professor: “But there are also controversies surrounding the Ming Dynasty. For example, there onc-”

Jim: “Well, in my mind, I think that-”

Me, in my head while cringing in real life: Please, please. This time, Professor, just shut him down. Just say no. Just ignore him. Just tell him to raise his hand.

—-

Professor: “Taizu had a positive impact on China but he was also considered a tyrant.”

Jim: “THAT’S RIGHT HE WAS!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!”

Me: *SWEAR WORDS* Why is he laughing???? What? 

—-

Ohhhhhhh Jim.

For the record, I had a guy in his 80′s take a class at my “fancy” college and HE WAS AMAZING. So intelligent, so smart. So friendly. So respectful. JIM, GET ON HIS LEVEL.

- Daughter

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Radio Silence: Oh, Snap, I Still Have This Blog – Also: Manners, Part 3

As much as Dad belittles my busyness – for example, when I come home, exhausted, his words are: “WELCOME TO THE ADULT WORLD” – I am currently juggling many responsibilities (yes, I know that this will be my adult life times a million with a “real” job and kids etc. etc. etc.). I am quite busy either commuting to an internship or work or commuting to school or doing homework. As of today, I have two internships, work, and school. I’m actually trying to get a second job, too, so I can stop crying when there’s too much week at the end of my money. Yeah, so I’m a little busy (DAD). Okay, I’m not half-of-a-century old and half-centaur, but I can still be busy and tired EVEN at 22, Pops.

Every night this week I have gone to bed before 8pm. 8PM?? WHO AM I?? I also get up before 6am everyday which is against the very nature of my being and reason for existence. I am a creature of the night. Luckily, when I wake up in the morning, it’s so dark outside that it’s practically night still – so I have that to comfort me.

I am the night!!

Anyway, I guess this a little PSA so you guys know I didn’t fall off the face of the planet into some wormhole where blog updates don’t occur: this week was Week 1 of the  Four Months of Hell. This week was also my I-need-to-figure-out-when-I-will-do-things-like-sleep-and-eat week. So, I’ve figured that out. Now that I know my schedule, I’ll be working on getting the blog back into a daily-update schedule to replace the current lackadaisical posting schedule I have now. After these Four Months of Hell, I will be done with undergrad, done with one of my internships, and done with pre-dawn wake-ups. And then, like a caterpillar breaking out of its cocoon, I will rise; not as a lowly peon, but as a great leader of my people. AT DAWN WE RIDE!!! Oh wait, not dawn. Like, 10am? That works for you guys, right?

Okay, so that boring crap is over now. Let’s go back to funny. I wanted to finally finished the third installment from the manners book where I lovingly recap the section titled: “A Single Person’s Options are Extensive.”

Read Part 1 and Part 2 here and here.

So, here goes:

11. Rediscover your talents in the performing and creating arts. Take up your career in singing again, go back to art classes, or re-enroll in ballet school. 

12. Fix up your home environment. If your home is badly in need of a total redecoration and you can’t afford it, then redesign certain elements, which will make the interior look fresh, warm, and inviting.

13. 13. Entertain. Do it well, often, and imaginatively. 

14. Buy a pet. The right one will become your best friend and provide company at all times, as well as make living noises to break the stillness at home. 

15. Remember the house of worship of your choice.

- Daughter

Tutor Fail or, I Can’t Teach Yo’ Kids Nothing

I applied for a tutor position several weeks ago and man, did I FAIL. I claimed I was an expert at AP English and of course, I had to prove my excellency in some way so they sent me a little quiz. If I scored a 9/10, yay, I iz a tutor! If I scored lower – back to the drawing board, sonny.

I wasn’t worried about this quiz at all. I had AP English on LOCK four years ago – what was stopping me from being an AP English genius now that I’ve gone through four years of college? I must be about the same intellectual level as Shakespeare by now! 

Well, I scored a 6/10.

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

I think I scored so low because I went through a miniature panic attack with each question. And also because I have trouble focusing in general. I’m horrible finishing books, for example, and finishing – well, anything. I also get caught up in long tangential discussions… but I digress.

As soon as I saw a long passage in front I me during the tutor quiz, a small voice starting screaming obscenities (like “gosh darnit” or “oh poo,” Mom) because man, it was a Friday night! What was I doing answering questions about Shakespeare? Do I really want to help some angsty teen get into Harvard? No, I don’t. If I couldn’t get into Harvard, nobody else should get in. It’s only fair.

But I kept at it. Sort of. I tried. Really, I tried.

And I failed. I got a D.

And, that’s not even the worst part, guys. When I didn’t pass this stupid quiz to be a tutor, I immediately e-mailed the lady who invited me to take the quiz and begged her to let me try again. Literally. Begged.

smart i swaerNo response.

Apparently, capital-letter-ridden e-mails and desperation are not qualities they are looking for in tutors at this time.

That’s fine. I’m going to go not finish that book I’ve been meaning to finish but can’t because I have trouble both starting and finishing things. Such is my life.

- Daughter

Picking Classes or Medieval Torture?

It’s summer! Carefree and happy days ahead!

No. Not when you have to figure out what classes you are taking in the fall. I just finished a hellish semester of school and to be honest, I am burned out after that one semester. I mean, part of the reason why it was more difficult than starting a Lindsay Lohan Appreciation Club is because I took a year off and forgot how to be an Academic in that time.

I wish I could be a studious kitten, too.

I wish I could be a studious kitten, too.

 

My professors continually berated me for my colloquialisms in my formal writing and were generally unhappy with my academic performance. I tried, I really did! But academia just does not hold a candle to my true passion in life: writing funny things on my blog for my millions of readers’ mom’s enjoyment. I like to think that my writing has grown because of my blog but to be honest, it has introduced an informality into my prose that I just can’t seem to shake. I hope my future employers are okay with emoticons and an excessive use of cat pictures to illustrate points.

I digress. I only have two classes to go before I get my Bachelor’s and I’ve been scouring classes online using search keywords like “finger painting” and “watching reality tv” and “lesbian cults.” So far, I have found no classes matching those search terms, which is a shame.

Picking classes is sort of like choosing which way I want to be tortured. US history or the stretching table? Linguistics or … I don’t know any other torture devices from the Medieval period, I apologize. (Maybe I should take a class in it?)

I really do like learning but I don’t like being told how to do it and when. OKAY, MOM?!!

Yeah, I was that kid in kindergarten who was told to draw a cat and I drew the best damn dog I could muster with my rudimentary fine motor skills. I’m just a rebel, I guess.

I am resigned to my fate and know that I must complete my college education so I can get a job or something like that. Although being 30 and living with my parents does sound tempting, I do feel the pull of independence tugging at my heart-strings (but not my wallet-strings). Sorry, Dad. I know that you will miss me calling out your hypocrisy and making you feel smart when I can’t answer obscure US history questions but my stay at home is not going to last forever.

- Daughter

The Hamster Wheel of Misery

I like to think of myself as a hamster sometimes. And the never-ending to-do list that has consumed my life and my very being is the hamster wheel that compels me to run, run, run and GO, GO, GO. My little hamster feet get tired but the wheel doesn’t care, hence: “The Hamster Wheel of Misery.” This sums up my life as of late.

Self-Portrait as Hamster.

Self-Portrait as Hamster.

I am constantly trying to just get one thing done at the expense of other things. Sometimes, that thing is a shower. Sometimes, it’s socializing with human beings. Sometimes, it’s calling your dad back …

As a result of pushing various things aside to give attention to more immediate concerns, mountains of undone work have built up until I give up and go to bed. (Usually, I stress-eat wasabi crackers and then sleep, actually. I digress) I’ve started to have nightmares from stress. And it’s the same nightmare every time: a favorite professor comes up to me and shakes her head slowly from side to side and says solemnly, “You are a great disappointment.” And then I wake up screaming until I comfort myself with the knowledge that I am a speshul snowflake.

I have also sprouted gray hairs from stress. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the salt-and-pepper look. I just thought I’d have a few more years before I rocked that. Apparently not! I got all excited when I first caught the extra shiny hair glittering in the bathroom lights because ALRIGHT, HIGHLIGHTS!! Upon closer inspection, it was a silvery hair. I pulled it out and examined it. In this little hair marked four nights of endless restlessness as I turned in one essay after the other in a rapid procession. It was a keepsake, really! But I try to avoid collecting  tsotchkes at this point in my life.

So, yes, Dad, this is my direct response to your post that I’ve been radio-silent. Well, yes, I have. But not without good reason! Your daughter has been attempting to fend off fire-breathing deans, thesis advisors, and professors. All of whom seem to have a personal vendetta against me this semester. I’m not sure whose death they are avenging, but they are pretty intent on killing me regardless.

Also, Pops, I’ve been, like, sending in job applications everyday. I’m trying to be a Real Person ™.

Yes, Dad, I know this is an entire post where I whine, justify it, and then whine more. It’s how I roll, Dad. Speaking of rolling, t-minus thirty days until we roll right on out of here! Couldn’t be a moment too soon. I’d rather not have to dye my hair to cover the gray…

- Daughter

Little Coffee Shop of Horrors

This is a self-portrait of me drinking coffee. Just kidding, it's some guy.

This is a self-portrait of me drinking coffee. Just kidding, it’s some guy.

Sunday was designated as a “homework day” but really, everyday is a homework day. Especially when you have to stand up in front of the department chair and other intimidating faculty and orally defend your thesis at the end of the term… it’s a good motivator to get things done. Fear, anxiety, and stress are the healthiest ways to go from “to do” list to “DONE AND DEAD” list. It is better to be feared than loved, after all. I don’t know how that applies to anything I just said but it felt right. That Machiavelli, what a guy.

But I digress.

I am a huge fan of going to coffee shops to do homework during the weekend because libraries stress me out. It’s hard to focus when there are so many books leering at you, like they own the place. Anyway, getting out of the library means I can explore Philadelphia and do things like rub Benjamin Franklin’s belly for good luck. Or run around pretending to be Paul Revere and screaming, “THE VEGANS ARE COMING!! THE VEGANS ARE COMING!!”

This weekend, my friends and I found a coffee shop that met our standards for homework-doing. It was edgy and cool and I obviously didn’t belong.

Unfortunately, it was also a suffocating 1000-degrees Fahrenheit and crowded. A stormy sea of Apple products, beards, and glasses met our arrival. We were the conquistadors of this coffee-drenched land and scavenged for seats, listened to the stories from the indigenous people, and claimed the end of a long bar-table for the Spanish Empire. It was uncomfortable and awkward but you know what, I was at a cool coffee shop and I had a chair – things were looking good in spite of being forced into an advanced yoga position to get into my chair.

After doing some table-vulturing, (where you stalk people who look as if they are leaving their coveted tables with a wider work-space than the three inches we were given) we landed a table. It was a triumph. Not just for us, but for Spain. My friend enthusiastically slid into her seat, an antique wooden bench, and then started making loud noises indicating discomfort. That vintage bench, it turned out, was not conducive to human butts. It splintered off straight into said-friend’s backside. I had to force her into the bathroom and perform minor surgery by pulling out wood chips embedded in various areas of her body. It was a true bonding experience.

Finally, after all of the tree remnants were removed from my friend’s epidermis, we settled into our work. Of course, this was not the end of our trials and tribulations.

The coffee shop was loud and I was already having trouble concentrating but on top of that pre-existing loudness, a folk band started playing. This was randomly punctuated by the sound of coffee grinding and the existential sighs of so many failed writers and actresses. I enjoy a good folk tune and I’m especially partial to the sound of acoustic guitar so that part was nice. But then, there was an hour-long banjo solo. And the banjo player was really into his music which I can appreciate but not when I’m analyzing literature. Homer, Hesse, and Hemingway don’t go with Hoedown.

You can only get hit by the elbow of an over-enthusiastic, bearded fiddler so many times before you give up and call it a day. And that’s just what we did.

And then we immediately went to another coffee shop across the street decidedly banjo free. Success.

- Daughter

The Rainbow Fish was a Confederate

WordPress just up and died on me. I can’t access the main site so I have to use my phone to update today. I apologize for the brevity of the post and will serenade you with my regular ramblings tomorrow when WordPress rises like the Lazarus of the Internet.

———————

Today, I wrote over one thousand words about The Rainbow Fish picture book by Marcus Pfister. You know, the one with the fish with the shiny scales and a bad attitude.

I mention this only because I ended the paper with the most bizarre sentence ever that included the words: “each fish is entitled to its own share of sparkle.” I’m practically Mark Twain. Ok, it makes more sense within the context of the paper but still, what the what?! The only way I could have ended it better is if I just used various emoticons in place of words… :) :/ :( :?

It seems my blog writing habits are in the midst of a coup to wrest power from my academic writing habits who have held my authorial voice hostage for decades. It’s a civil war. And it will be a bloody, ruthless fight. Parody and humor are hacking away at academic seriousness like an ax to a tree.

I hope they can reach an armistice and just agree that we are all entitled to our own share of sparkle regardless of our relation to the Mason-Dixon Line.

- Daughter

That First Mediocre Grade Hits Hard

I just got my first assignment back since my return to college after a year off and I am… displeased.

My professor called my assignment ‘thoughtful’ but wanted me to flesh out my argument more.

I’M SORRY, OKAY. I AM SORRY I AM WORTHLESS IN YOUR EYES. I AM SORRY THAT I ONLY HAVE A THIRD GRADE EDUCATION. I AM SORRY.

Me.

Me.

The grade I received brought up some dark memories and academic insecurities. How will I get a job if I didn’t get an A+++ on this assignment? Who will hire me when I’m a degenerate basically failing out of school? Oh look, a B, how nice… oh wait, no, it’s not, go sit in a corner and stop thinking so highly of yourself, YOU ARE MADE OF MEDIOCRITY.

See, I expect myself to be an Einstein in school so when I don’t get a million percent and get, say, an 89%, something is wrong. And that something wrong is ME. My poor excuse for a GPA currently has its tail between its legs and is shaking in a corner, hoping it will get adopted by some nice family but knowing that it will probably not. My GPA will die without ever knowing a family’s love and live the rest of its life behind the cold, metal bars of academia, never to be freed.

It’s not like I even got a bad grade. I got what many consider a “good” grade. But is ‘good’ what I’m aiming for? I might as well be ‘average’ if I’m just going to aim for ‘good’. I like to think I am a special, pristine snowflake in a world full of dirty snow and sleet. Therefore, I need to up the ante in terms of grades to reflect this truth.

You could say I’m an overly sensitive student. You could say that I need to relax. You could tell me to work harder to get that perfect grade. You could say all these things and I would just say: YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE, MOM, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.

- Daughter

Making Friends! Sort of.

It was really easy making friends in grade school because all you have to do is run up to a kid and say, “Hey, wanna be friends?” And then, he or she says, “Yes!” And then you go off and read Twilight and listen to One Direction or whatever the children are into these days.

Fwends.

In college, things get more complicated. There is a ten minute period when students are filing into class and waiting for the professor to come that could hypothetically be used to make friends. It is a special time – a magical time – when you can interact with people on a level that isn’t academic. Instead of shutting down the person next to you by pointing out the logical fallacy of his latest ridiculous theory or vehemently disagreeing over Oxford commas or making a blood sacrifice of a freshman to appease an angry professor, you have the chance to ask him how his day is going or some such question.

Unless, of course, you have an eccentric professor who is dedicated to “icebreakers” and forcing his students to socialize for the duration of class time.

"Are we friends yet?

“Are we friends yet?”

I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t have the best time ever during these icebreakers because I love to embarrass myself hearing other people’s life stories. So, the class was divided into small groups and then we went around answering questions out of a hat and subtly trying to one-up each other with the coolest autobiographical details we could muster (obviously, I fared poorly).

One of the questions we each had to answer was, “Are you a morning or night person?” And then we each took a turn explaining our propensities for mornings or evenings. Except I was not satisfied with answering in a sane manner. My turn came and this is what I said, “I’m basically nocturnal. I like to go to bed in the wee hours of the morning. I’m half-vampire.” The other people in my group were amused but also exchanged looks of uncertainty.

Then, another question was asked, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?” The guy next to me said some boring answer because he’s vegetarian. And so, in order to prompt him to say something more interesting  I said, “Well, have you eaten leaves from the rainforest or something? Anything exotic like that?” Everybody was weirded out. But I felt, in my heart of hearts, that this weirdness could be the seeds of friendship.

- Daughter

I Got Back into My Lesbian Cult

I have been taking a year off from school because I got really ill at college and became a tumbleweed of misery rolling whichever way the wind blew. The first six months of my year off included exciting activities like sleeping for the majority of the day, watching every season of 30 Rock, and dyeing my hair different colors. The second part of my year off was spent more productively because I got an actual job, two internships, and finally started to take care of myself like a normal person and less like a gremlin.

Because I was on medical leave, I had to re-apply to school and go through a re-admission process that can only be described as a bureaucratic nightmare. Eventually, the forces that be graciously allowed me to return so I can give them more mone- I mean, so I can get an education. Of course, it’s not that easy. Even though it’s my last semester and I’m done with my major, I don’t have enough credits to technically graduate… so this summer I will be taking more courses at home to get that damn degree.

I call my school a lesbian cult because it’s an all-girls private school. It’s tiny with only around 1500 girls (all the better for its cult-like atmosphere). Now, let’s be real, not everyone there is a lesbian… but pretty much, y’all. If you walk around, it’s not uncommon to see people naked save for a gay rights flag wrapped around their flesh.

I am excited to go back but weary of things that have become unfamiliar to me such as:

1) Homework: what is it exactly?

2) Deadlines: wait, things have to be done by a certain time?

3) Time management: wait, things have to be done by a certain time?

4) People my age: where did all these young-ish people come from and why are they all around? I MISS WRINKLES.

5) No pets: how am I going to live without my cat, Rambo? I’m freaking out right MEOW!

Don't leave me!

Don’t leave me!

6) Dining halls: barf.

Me, at the prospect of eating dining hall food. Also, I was an ugly freshman.

7) Snow: nooooooooooo. I feel so cold already.

Ew, snow.

8) Public transportation: I don’t remember how to use any of the trains or buses. Not even joking.

How I feel about using public transportation and giving up my car. Also, me un-ironically wearing a romper!!!

9) Reading: wait, books? Not blogs? WHAT.

Do I look like I read books? Exactly.

10) Professors: I know I will probably call them “Mom” or “Dad” at least once out of habit.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE NOT MY MOM?!!!!

11) Dorms: why are there so many young people here? Is this a cult… oh wait, yes, yes it is.

How I feel about dorm-living.

12) Essays: I have to write about what the professor wants me to write about and not whatever I please? This is the winter of my discontent.

You want me to write about… WHAT?

And, for now, that’s it. Although, there is plenty of time between now and January when I head back to obsessively think about the things I am unprepared for, hurrah!

- Daughter

P.S. How funny would it be if it was actually my dad who posted this one?

P.P.S. Apparently, I really enjoy not wearing make-up for any and all pictures. This is what I look like without make-up, you guys. I’m sooooooo good-looking I can barely stand it.

P.P.P.S. It’s a little disconcerting that this is .0001 percent of the embarrassing photos I have saved on my computer. This is just the tip of the attractive-fail iceberg, baby.

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