What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, April 18, 2008


My biggest mid-term of the year is this afternoon and I have not yet completed my preparation. Time flew by like Al Gore's son in a Prius, leaving my hair pushed back and my brain woefully empty. I tried to get ready - honest I did - but my life has been a big league pitcher, throwing me curve balls with all the strength of his steroid-bulked arm. Obligations too numerous to fully enumerate, but including email, Facebook, phone conversations, movie watching, jetpack and, yes, females took too much of my heavily appreciated time and left my exam study sheet as blank as the stare I gave my mother when she asked yesterday whether or not I was ready.

I may be a derelict. I may be a lazy derelict. I may even be a lazy derelict with bad hair, but I do have gumption. (As a side note, I considered starting my collegiate entrance essay with the last three sentences but settled instead for "Being an underprivileged minority youth is never easy, but when it is compounded by abandonment, addiction and abuse - the three As of my childhood - it can be the death knell for academic achievement, the two As of my future." In a related story, I got accepted to every school I applied. I'll post the entire essay sometime for all you aspiring derelicts.) So where was I? Ah, yes, gumption. It took a little psyching to prepare myself, but I marched directly into my professor's office yesterday and laid down my pathetic case in the hopes of finding some sympathy.

Dr. Monarch, as my female instructor is aptly titled, was not interested in the sordid details of my personal life or the scheduling conflicts that landed me in the undesirable position of begging for mercy before sitting for the exam. Her lack of interest notwithstanding, Dr. Monarch did nothing to halt my remonstrations and even laughed occasionally, a gesture I interpreted as encouragement. On I plowed, through three minutes of memorized material and two of improvised verbal gymnastics.

I talked about my Spring allergies and the ill effect the wind was having on my general disposition. I drew attention to my dislike for particular breakfast cereals and established a link between Kashi Go Lean and indigestion. I talked about the Laker's game earlier in the week and how disappointed I was that the number one team in the Western conference had to clinch its seed at my team's expense. I even described a small sore that had cropped up between my big and second toes and how distracting little abrasions like that could be when trying to focus on something as arcane as macroeconomics.

In retrospect, I spent more time preparing my case for leniency than I did studying for the test. But I consoled myself knowing that an hour of writing and considering a grade defense was well spent when it precipitated a poor performance, because I would have a poor performance. If I could inoculate my evaluator to my inability to draw a Cartesian plain with straight lines (much less calculate an IS or LM curve) , she might think twice before smashing through my responses with red ink. Regardless, I might be able to make a friend in this lonely world.

When my verbal flow ceased, a silence so loud it could be packaged as the rebellion music of the next generation filled the room. Dr. Monarch cleared her throat, an action that was less productive than it was discouraging.

"Young man," she began, using a title that generations of males recognize as the prelude to a rebuke, "I have been teaching at the college level more years than you have been alive and yet I have never heard such locution. Have you considered developing that presentation for a politician? You would have to remove the bit about your big toe, but it might work otherwise. The style sounds vaguely like something I heard from John Edwards once (or fifty times). Anyway, kudos for that. The biggest mistake you made was a temporal one. You presented your spiel before taking the mid-term - a mid-term you might very well ace - now the only thing your words will motivate me to do is examine your answers more carefully. Congratulations. My advice to you is to go get a menthol lozenge and a good night's rest. And try to remember that the IS curve is downward sloping."

I was rejected like a basketball in the air against Hakeem Olajuwon. I was in the third row and heavily discombobulated. But I had made my case, said my piece and recorded my complaint. Now all I have to do is take the test. The test I haven't finished studying for...


Anonymous said...

Haven't been on FCN for a while, but I must say, I'm taking note of your college entrance exam intro. (Do you think being .002% Hungarian could give me 'minority' status?)

Tim said...

It seems to me, assuming you're the same author, that I suggested previously that you run for office (DS8). You'd do better than Obama - although I voted for him in the poll, I won't come November.

By the way, I do want to see that entrance essay.

mumble's the word said...

Ooh. Will you help me write an essay for grad school application? Sounds like you know your stuff.