The Power Of A Name

, , , , , | Learning | January 30, 2018

(My dad is a college professor. I attended, and now tutor at, the same college. I’m hanging out in the computer lab when I strike up a conversation with a student. Note that I’m unmarried, so Dad and I have the same last name, and it’s a pretty unusual one for our area.)

Me: “Hey, what are you working on?”

Student: “Proofreading this programming project for Mr. [My Last Name]. He’s really picky about formatting.”

Me: “Seriously? With his spelling and grammar, he’s going to nitpick about students getting every detail right? I used to edit assignments for him before he passed them out!”

Student: “Yeah, he’s pretty tough. On my last project, I [made some minor mistake; I don’t remember what], and he took off like ten points for it!”

(I commiserate with him a while longer, and it actually takes me a few minutes to realize he doesn’t know who I am. I’m bad with faces and have met most of the computer science students, but not this one. I’m not setting him up; I asked what he was doing because I like programming, and I sympathized because I really do think Dad’s too strict sometimes. But as we’re saying goodbye, I can’t help myself.)

Student: “It was nice meeting you. I’m [Student]. What’s your name?”

Me: “[My Full Name].”

(There’s a second of complete silence as the student looks terrified. I grin.)

Me: “Don’t worry; I think he’s a jerk, too.”

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