April 01, 2004

Remember These?

My really vapid lists of stuff about myself? The ones that began here and were most recently here?

Hey, it's not all greatness* around here, you know. Sometimes you get what you get.

33. I finally passed freshman English on the third try, but victory was bittersweet because in the middle of the semester I had to go to the dean when the teacher accused me of plagiarism. She couldn't and didn't cite the source I ostensibly plagiarized, because there wasn't one. It turned out she just didn't believe a freshman English student could use this word correctly; therefore, I must have borrowed my material from elsewhere. She backed off when I went to the dean, and I finally passed Freshman English, but I thought I saw her the other day, and I was surprised by how much I still wanted to choke the life out of her--slowly. Not just because I didn't like being called a cheater, but because she was pretentious in other ways, like the time she said teaching freshman English was beneath her because, as a Literature major, she aspired to Higher Things. Whatever, you twat.

34. My boyfriend is an English major. I can't decide which is harder to forgive him for--being a Cowboys fan, or that. I realize that's only peripherally about me. I'm sorry.

35. I like Texas, but I don't love it, because it has no mountains. I can live inland, but it's hard living without mountains.

36. The best thing about Texas is the people. The worst thing about Texas is the people. What I find is that I like the natives, but I hate the people who move here from everywhere else, and especially the ones who come from the so-called "blue states" and set about trying to make things in Texas "more progressive," because the whole reason they came to Texas in the first place is because they could (1) find a job and (2) buy a house more easily, and the whole reason they couldn't do that where they came from is because they made everything there too progressive.

37. If I were condemned and needed a last meal, it would come from here, especially since everything there is cooked in lard and I wouldn't be needing my arteries much longer at that point anyway.

38. I'd much rather tell someone what I think than what I feel, which is why I get so touchy when someone says women are more emotional than men, because I'm not, unless tequila is involved, and then--look out.

39. I have this fascination with the former Eastern bloc, because when I was little, all those places were a great mystery to me. I'd like to learn Russian and Polish just because I like the way the languages sound.

40. I get very defensive when people who haven't spent much time in New York criticize it, but I'm also starting to get very defensive when people who haven't spent much time in Texas criticize it, too. The short version is that one of the things I love about the U.S. is that if you don't like a place, you can go somewhere else you like better--but in the meantime, keep your mouth shut if you don't really know what you're talking about.

*Oh, save it.

Posted by Ilyka at April 1, 2004 02:30 AM in navel gazing

"Sublimate"? She couldn't believe you could use sublimate correctly? Maybe that's a rough word for a Literature Major to use but anybody who's taken 8th grade science should know it.

Ironically enough, I taught that one to Bear when his class did changing states of water a couple of months ago. He's 4.

Posted by: Jim at April 1, 2004 03:52 AM

Hmm. You need a very cold, dry environment to demonstrate sublimation with water.

But what I really wanted to say was: No mountains? (Scratches Texas off the list.)

Hmm. Wait. What do you consider a mountain?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 1, 2004 10:41 AM

The Chisos mountains in Big Bend are the tail end of the Rockies. I know, they're not tall mountains, but the scenery is pretty incredible.

Posted by: Yehudit at April 1, 2004 08:13 PM

Is there something brain-dead about Freshman English classes, and the teachers thereof?

I attended UMass Amherst as a non-traditional student (i.e. a 30-year-old). I had zero interest in taking Bonehead English, but I was told it was next to impossible to exempt out of. So I tried -- and was told to write a well-crafted essay of five to seven pages, on the spot, on a topic I had never seen before. (This seemed an unreasonable requirement, given that the course essentially taught the difference between nouns and verbs.)

So I signed up for the Junior Writing Requirement, which listed Freshman Writing as a prerequisite, figuring that the bureaucrats would let me get away with it. They did, and I aced it. I then went back to get the exemption from Freshman Writing (without which I would not be permitted to graduate, in spite of a 3.8 GPA and a good many essays in the humanities with As on them).

You guessed it -- nailing the Advanced course does not exempt me from the Basic course, and I still had to take it, or take the flunk-out exemption exam. This time I came armed with a portfolio -- essays I'd written while at UMass, all of them with their As clearly showing (and professor's comments as well). The CompLit administrator riposted: "I can't read this." (Sure you can, I wanted to say, you may be an idiot but I don't think you're illiterate.) She went on, "If I read yours, I have to read everyone's". Oh, really? How many students come to her with portfolios? "Hardly any", she admitted. But if I wanted the exemption, I still had to take the test.

So I took the damned test again. (But I noticed that she didn't give me the portfolio back. Hmm, maybe the first essay, contrasting sexual mores between "Brave New World" and "The Handmaid's Tale", had something to do with that.)

Sure enough, I heard back later that I had attained the exalted exemption! To this day, I can't believe that I did any better on the write-a-term-paper-while-standing-on-one-foot test than I had the first time. Those confiscated essays must have made the difference -- which I'd gone to the trouble (and expense) to photocopy and bind nicely.

Best $2 I ever spent.

all the best,
Daniel in Medford

Posted by: Daniel in Medford at April 1, 2004 09:05 PM

Texas has mountains, but you have to go all the way to El Paso to see them.

Posted by: rammer at April 2, 2004 05:11 AM

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Posted by: Navel at July 13, 2004 06:09 AM