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You May Be Sleepy But You’re Not Wrong

, , , , , , | Learning | December 5, 2021

It’s my third class of the day, history, at 11:30 am. Despite the early time, I’m exhausted, meaning I don’t have much of a filter. My history professor is having us answer questions about the Constitution as a refresher before the lesson. If someone gives the right answer — or even tries — he gives them a chocolate.

The professor clicks to the next slide.

Professor: “Okay. In two sentences, explain what the Constitution consists of.”

Me: “I don’t know. Words?”

Professor: “…”

The professor slowly handed me a chocolate as the class laughed.

From Fire And Brimstone To Rainbows

, , , , , , , | Friendly | December 3, 2021

Back in college, there was a very loud religious advocacy group that would visit campus, set up their speakers, and “preach” the gospel to the students passing by. Now, I say “preach” because it was less “Glory to God who loves you!” and more “You’re all going to Hell because of who you are! Change your minds or burn!”

One such day, they set up right outside our performance center. It was obviously intentional, as a majority of the performance majors were part of the LGBT community, and the theater majors were not happy about having their space taken over. I had a class in the building behind the performance center, so I walked by the crowd gathering.

One of the advocates had a mic in one hand and was holding hands with a young woman I have seen in a few theater productions. The advocate seemed to be praying while the young woman stood there, half-smiling and nearly crying.

Advocate: “Lord, help this girl see the error of her ways! Help her, God, to see that her homosexual fornications are not what you want for her, but that she is here to bear children with a man, to love his family, to—”

Young Woman: *With a very dramatic tone* “Lord! You died for me!”

Surprised, the advocate shook her arm almost violently.

Advocate: “Yes… Yes, He did! He did die for you! The Lord loves you, child! Spread the word!”

The advocate passed his mic to the young woman, who stepped forward proudly.

Young Woman: “Jesus died for the gays! He loves us!”

There was a cheer from the crowd. The advocate dropped her hand and glared at her. I don’t know what he was trying to say because he was drowned out by the screaming crowd. The young woman took a bow and walked away. I went on my way to class, but when I came back, the advocacy group had packed up and left campus. They came back a few more times over the years and the message never changed, but I don’t think they tried to openly save anyone after that.

Pikachu Deserves Extra Credit

, , , , , , , , | Learning | November 27, 2021

One day in March or April, one of my classmates comes to class wearing a full-body Pikachu costume. The professor is just as perplexed as all of us.

Professor: “Why on Earth are you wearing that?”

Student: “But [Professor], it’s in the syllabus!”

Professor: “Where is it in the syllabus that you should wear a Pikachu costume today?”

Student: “It says, right here, for today’s lesson, ‘Come in costume.’”

They show the professor a copy of the syllabus.

Professor: “So it does.” *Eyes go wide in realization* “Okay, ladies and gentlemen, this is why you don’t just copy the lesson plan from the last semester and change the dates without bothering to read it. When I taught this course in the fall semester, this lesson was on Halloween. I didn’t realize that was still in there!”

It’s Hard To Know It All When You Don’t Show Up

, , , , , , | Learning | November 11, 2021

In college, I’m taking a class on the history and cultures of North Africa with a professor who was born in Algeria. We have a typical aggressive, argumentative know-it-all in class who regularly questions our professor when he thinks something is wrong.

The next class after our first test, our professor asks if anyone has any questions about their scores. Mr. Know-it-All raises his hand.

Professor: “Yes, what is your question?”

Mr. Know-it-All: “You marked my answer for question number six as wrong, but I don’t think it is.”

Professor: “Please remind me what your answer was?”

Question number six was something like, “Why is the African coast of the Mediterranean Sea known as the Barbary Coast?” It should be simple, but…

Mr. Know-it-All: “I wrote that the Barbary Coast was called that because of the pirates that used to be there. The pirates had a reputation as barbarians, so that’s why they called it the Barbary Coast. Barbarian, Barbary.”

Professor: “Ah, I see. The Barbary Coast was not named after simple barbarians, but after the Berber people who lived throughout North Africa. Do you see?”

Mr. Know-it-All: “That’s not right, though. The people who lived there were Tuaregs, like the Volkswagen Tuareg that was named after them.”

Professor: “The Tuareg were only one group of Berbers. Think of it like this. In Europe, all people are known as Europeans, but there are several different types of Europeans, like French or English or German. In North Africa, it is the same way; all people together are Berber, but there are many different groups of Berber, like the Tuareg or the Kabyles. Do you see?”

Mr. Know-it-All: “Well, no. I’ve never heard the word Berber before. I just think…”

Professor: “Then perhaps you need to come to class more often? All this month has been about the Berber people, and I have told you several times that I myself am Berber, of the Kabyle people. Now, you may please be quiet, or you may leave for the day and return when you are ready to learn about my people and others in North Africa. That is all. Does anyone else have questions?”

Mr. Know-it-All sat back and pouted for the rest of the class and continued to pout throughout the semester, but he never tried to openly challenge our professor again. Meanwhile, the rest of us students couldn’t help but be impressed by how our professor shut him down so completely, and he quickly became a favorite professor for many of us, me included.

Don’t Blame Her; Blame Her Husband!

, , , , , , | Working | November 5, 2021

I used to work at the front desk of a private university. There was one other person in my position and we would swap off on morning and evening shifts. There were about two and a half hours where our shifts would overlap and it was around that time that the mail arrived.

My first coworker had a very long last name that wasn’t easy to spell, so when our delivery guy found out my last name was only five letters, he would just use my name to confirm delivery.

When that coworker left for another job, the new coworker had an equally long — but somehow harder to spell — last name, so the delivery guy continued using my name for confirmation while the three of us joked about it.

Fast forward a few months. I’d just gotten married and I was back in the office for the first time since when the delivery guy came by.

Delivery Guy: “Hey, you’ve been gone a while. It’s [Maiden Name], right?”

Me: “Actually, I just got married. It’s now [Longer Name that’s hard to spell].”

The guy looked up from his tablet, distraught.

Delivery Guy: “Why would you do that to me?!”