I got nothin until NaNoWriMo...but that's a 2 month gap, and 2 months is too long to go without an update. But instead of making up a story for this week, I figured I'd entertain with a true story of my own life.
A long time ago I had this dumb idea to chronicle my college exploits. Looking back on most of them, I figured that was a bad idea but there were a couple interesting tales...
-Spring Semester and September 2006
I’m not a Jets fan. My dad is. Back when I first learned about the NFL and football in general, the Jets sucked and I didn’t want to align myself with a shitty team. It was around Super Bowl XXXI and I had either the Patriots or the Packers to choose from and since it causes me physical pain to even compliment a Boston team, I rooted for the Packers. The Pack didn’t let me down, and the rest is history…but this is about the Jets, the team my Dad loves.
Fast forward to 2011, the Packers and the Jets are both on the verge of making it to Super Bowl XLV. The mere idea of a Packers/Jets match up have had me and dad going back and forth for weeks. The Packers beat the Bears to clinch their spot, all the Jets have to do is beat the Steelers. That was a tall order, but hey, the Jets just got done beating the Patriots and their faggy ass QB, how hard could this be?
My dad tried to downplay the Jets’ chances all month. They were the #6 seed, dead last. They weren’t suppose to even survive round 1...but they did. They weren’t suppose to beat the 1 seed Patriots…but they did. My Dad still downplayed their chances, but we all knew he was invested. But the game started and the Jets fell behind big. The experts at halftime said it was pretty much over. I had no reason to watch, but I did.
I watched them mount a comeback. All of a sudden they were nipping at Pittsburgh’s heels. Then they closed it to a one score game. They had all of the momentum. All they had to do was get the ball back for one more drive and they could win. All they needed to do was-…wait, never mind. Times up.
They ran out of time. What they needed more than another drive was another couple of minutes. They almost came all the way back, only to be stopped, not by Pittsburgh’s defense, but by the clock. Despite downplaying the whole thing leading up, my dad couldn’t help but throw a mini fit over the whole thing.
There was a point to that little story. It reminded me a lot of when I failed Statistics. The class had been hell for the entire semester, and it had a dangerous combo for disaster: me not giving a shit combined with the professor being a short woman from India who has yet to master how to speak English properly.
Seriously, you couldn’t understand a fucking thing she said, and I’m no rookie on that kind of thing. I was friends at the time with a guy who had come all the way from fucking Africa and spoke English as his 2nd language. This bitch from India supposedly has been teaching at this college longer than my friend had been alive and he could talk circles around her. Hell, in high school one of my teachers was a fresh import from Kenya and I could carry a conversation on with her. Maybe its just India.
So the professor cant speak English, and that can only lead to me not understanding shit. Turns out though, she didn’t know her shit either. She taught strait out of the book and would often confuse herself in the process. It was like a piano teacher always trying to stay one lesson ahead of their student.
Now, its one thing to be failing a class because you’re retarded. Its another thing entirely to be failing a class even when you get all the answers right. I failed a lot of tests early on because of that. The problem was that while I was writing the correct answers down, I wasn’t apparently showing enough work, thus I would lose out on points. The same thing happened in my Calculus class from the semester before; I failed to show “enough” work and my 90s became 75s. Here in Statistics, my 90s were becoming 55s. Cutting 35 points for right answers? That goes beyond excessive. That’s fucking ludicrous.
I would argue over it but always to no avail, mainly because English eluded her and her “Hooked on Phonics” series never taught her how to understand phrases like “Even the book says I’m right!” and “How the fuck can you be this stupid?” She refused to give me credit on my right answers and no matter how much work I showed, it apparently was never enough.
And before you even decide that I’m just too lazy, you’re right and you’re wrong…mostly wrong. There are two ways I do math: strait off my calculator, or strait out of my head. Neither tactic requires pencil and paper. The simple shit can be written down but there’s only so much you can write when using a calculator, the rest is done automatically. And when I use my head, I'll write some things down as I do it, but to write every single part of the process would take too long and I’d lose my place.
There’s a scene in The Day After Tomorrow where the kid tells his Dennis Quaid that his professor failed him in math because he didn’t write out his work because he did it all in his head. Essentially his professor failed him because the student was smarter than the professor. Am I saying that my Statistics professor failed me because I was smarter than she? Well, yes, but only because my Statistics professor was a dumbfuck and I can at least speak proper English.
Eventually I would drop off and stop caring. I would fail tests by a long shot and flat out skip the class for weeks at a time, but its not like I didn’t have a good excuse; Those Guitar Hero high scores weren’t gonna beat themselves. The text book had been reduced to a mere doorstopper and those few times I did attend class were only because none of my friends were around to hang out with. Hell, after Pirate Night, I could count on one hand the amount of classes I attended, including the final exam. I’m actually surprised I even showed up for that.
Early on I was concerned about failing, but that fear turned into acceptance when I realized that there was nothing I could do about it because I couldn’t even suck up to this bitch and earn a pity boost to my grade. I had a date with an F, and that bitch was picking me up. It was impossible to avoid.
I don’t really remember the final. I do know I was there though because I remember waking up from a half hour of sleep, programming random equations onto my calculator because I never bothered to learn them, hanging out with my friend Colleen and using her as a crutch where I assume she dragged me to the classroom so I could take the fucking test, only to realize I left my calculator back in my room. You don’t take a math final without a calculator unless you’re a genius or a dumbass, and I’m not that smart. I forgot it once before in 8th grade and I’m still shocked I passed, but at least I knew my shit back them. I was less confident this time around and walked all the way back to my room and retrieved the damn thing before walking all the way back to the classroom. I returned maybe 10 seconds after the short Indian so in her mind I was late for the final. Fucking great.
The rest of it was a blur. I don’t even remember the test. Hell, I’m assuming I remembered to even write my name. I later found out that I set a new standard in failing because I scored less than 50 on the final…meaning I probably got an 70 in real life. Ultimately, I failed the coarse by a mile, not that I cared at this point.
So final grades were eventually mailed home and I was officially informed that not only did I fail Statistics, but in doing so I had fallen behind by three credits and wasn’t technically a sophomore yet. It really didn’t seem too hard to catch up, take an extra class and everything would be fine. Retaking Statistics was out of the question since it wasn’t a requirement for my degree, and the only reason I took it to begin with was because my advisor, that clever bitch, tricked me into taking it.
So while it looked bad to have failed and be behind by one class, it was manageable…try telling that to the rest of my family. The thing about my mother is when you present her with bad news, no matter how trivial, she’ll always assume the worst case scenario will play out. In this case, failing one class as a freshman automatically meant that I wasn’t going to graduate at all and would have no choice but to work as either a fry cook or a grocery bagger. This was made evident when she constantly taunted me with the phrase “Paper or plastic?”
My dad wasn’t exactly helpful either. Just your usual ranting over how I should just join the army now because I apparently wasn’t going to make it through four years. My sister would keep adding needless insight on the situation as well, as if her opinion carried any weight. It was the fucking apocalypse at my house, all over an F. In retrospect, I’m shocked my brother didn’t jump in the fray, though he probably he was destined to fail a class or two when he made it to college.
I had a few shitty options on the table; McDonalds, army, tie a plastic bag over my face or jump into traffic. Luckily I had one more option: Do what I do best, and that was damage control. The only way to shut my entire family up was to at least pretend that I was doing something about the F. In this case, argue the grade with the school. A long shot, a hail mary, no fucking way it would work, but it convinced my family that there was a chance I can change the grade.
I made the necessary e-mails and talked to whoever you talk to in these situations. I figured that even though I was wasting my time, I could at least give it my best shot. The policy on arguing grades was that you only had about a week to do so, no exceptions. I waited about 10 days before sending out an e-mail over it. I don’t remember the lie I used, but I had convinced the academic dean and my advisor that I should be exempt from that “no exceptions” rule. When all was said and done, the academic dean had agreed to meet with me in person to discuss the grade. Since it was summer vacation, this meeting would go down in the fall semester.
At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if this half baked idea could actually work. I only attempted it because it was the only way to get everyone off my back but now I was beginning to think I could pull of a D or something. I had actually convinced the fucking dean that I wasn’t given a fair shot to pass. The damn thing was, I really wasn’t given a fair shot to pass, only I stopped trying after it became clear I was being taught by an idiot and that sealed my fate. The same reasons I stopped trying were also the reasons that I might just win the appeal.
Into the new semester, the day finally came. Ironically, I blew off from a class to attend the appeal, but it was a class taught by my buddy Roger and I had given him fair notice and he had no problem with it. I was feeling good, this was a chance for me to sneak in another victory. In high school, I had argued away countless detentions, dropped a suspension down to the bare minimum, managed to not get expelled multiple times and scored the key to the handicapped elevator despite being fully capable of climbing stairs. Now I could add another gold star to my asshole resume: genuinely fail a class and talk my way into passing anyway. Four months ago I had no shot, and now I was on the verge of pulling off one hell of an upset over the Indian Stats teacher. It was all looking good…up until the meeting actually started.
Maybe it didn’t help that I was dressed in street clothes, but what was I suppose to wear? A fucking suit? It also didn’t help that the dean walked in with an unamused look on his face, that he took a seat right next to the teacher, sitting right across from me with a folder filled with papers while I had only a couple tests and a notebook (and the notebook was only there to add weight to my items. I had no intentions on using it, but it made me look like I had a lot more ammo. Compared to the deans folder, I wondered why I even tried)
The meeting started off bad, real bad. The dean started talking about how he doesn’t see much merit in my appeal. Why the fuck agree to a meeting if you don’t think I have a shot? Bored? Got time to kill? Or do you just enjoy having these kinds of meetings?
Then the teacher started explaining why she failed me. I tried in vain to keep up with her pseudo-English while the dean only nodded in agreement, which I call shenanigans over because I doubt he understood a fucking word she said. What I could translate was that I missed too many classes and outright failed the final. Both a given, but I knew those coming in, I still had a plan. I tried to voice a couple injustices I had suffered but the dean kept cutting me off at the pass. He was blindly supporting that illiterate fuck-nugget, which I’m pretty sure showing bias like that isn’t allowed but who was keeping score anymore?
My plan was more or less useless now that the dean seemed to have chosen his side in the argument before I even said two words. He was sucking the bitches cock already and was ready to deny my appeal before his seat was even warm. I was rattled. It was over before it even started.
Then the fucker patronized me.
Few things piss me off more than being patronized. It would take too long to list them all, but the highlights include: The 2007 NFC title game, all of 2004, accidentally eating a mushroom and many things pertaining to my brother. The dean, while talking once again over how he doesn’t see much hope for my appeal, decided to put it in a way he thinks I might understand. He mentions that I’m a Criminal Justice major and says something like how the burden of proof is on me. He talked real slow so as I wouldn’t fall behind and used hand gestures and a condescending tone.
Oh, it’s ON now, bitch.
Moments ago I was rattled and thinking about just giving up to save face. Now I was just angry. Does this cock sucker realize who I am? He did not just talk to me like I was 10. Time to put the smack down on this fucking meeting. I was armed with a couple tests, a detailed understanding at how inept the teacher was, a high charisma score and now a strong desire to wipe those faggot ass smirks off both their faces. Halftime was over, time to mount my comeback. Time to go to work.
I grabbed the nearest test and flipped the pages to show a particular problem on it. It was one where I got the answer right but still got 9 points knocked off for “not enough work shown.” I then began a detailed analysis over how I (1) came to that answer and (2) how the “little work I had shown” was still enough to show that I came up with the right answer on my own and deserved full credit. It was verbal poetry, and it was fucking beautiful because the dean had nothing to refute my argument with. The teacher couldn’t say shit either because I was talking math, something she had no idea about. They decided to credit me the points and increase my test grade.
Then I did it again.
And yet again.
Next thing I knew, I had bumped my grade up beyond passing and all the way into C+ territory. I then grabbed the other test and worked my magic on that as well, the entire time doing the math in my head and calculating how these grade increases were effecting my overall grade. Why was I doing it in my head? Because I DON’T FUCKING NEED TO WRITE MY WORK DOWN!
I came in with a grade so low, it was more of a G- than an F. Now I’ve got a nice F+ going. A little more and we’ve got a D, children, and I can go home happy. Unfortunately, the dean caught on and put the kibosh on my whole operation. Then he just ended the meeting. I objected, but he spewed some bullshit over how he didn’t think I had much of an argument and was just wasting his time now. I referred to the increased test scores and mentioned that the teacher pulled the same shenanigans on the final. If I could just pry the God damn final from her hands and show a couple examples from that, then I’d have my God damn D.
Nope. Like the Jets, I had simply run out of time. One more chance, one more drive and I’d have success. Not to be however. I had an F+…but it was still an F. To make myself feel better, I took all my paperwork and notes from the class down to the lake and set fire to all of it over the coarse of the next couple months. I also vowed to murder a cow in cold blood, just to spite India.
In the end though, it really didn’t matter. I graduated on time and walked off with my middle finger to the school. The teacher meanwhile “decided to retire” at the end of my sophomore year. Turns out I wasn't the first nor the last to complain about her or her lack of teaching ability and she was probably fired as a result. I like to think she’s dead in a ditch somewhere. A car hit her and she tried calling for help, only she couldn't speak proper English and couldn’t communicate where she was so the paramedics couldn’t get to her in time. Morbid I know, but it always brings a smile to my face.
As for the Jets…who cares. I’m not a Jets fan. The Packers were gonna win the Super Bowl anyway, so I won either way.