May 2009

As seen in a Wal-mart near me…


Maybe it was excess build-up or some allergic reaction affecting my hearing but I swear I heard a guest respond to my “how are you doing today?” with this:

“Well, I’m white, so I’m great.”

Initial reactions:

  1. I need to Q-tip more often.
  2. I’m only half white. Does that mean I’m merely half great? or half bad?
  3. Is that distinction anything like the “glass half full” scenario?
  4. I should blog about this.
  5. What a sad malady-irony: a waxy blockage affecting comprehension and a consuming ignorance affecting compassion.
  6. Do I really have to wait on David Duke over here?
  7. Sometimes my job sucks.

For those who aren’t aware, this past year has been the first of my (hopefully) full-time teaching career.  As a first year prof, I was *blessed* with the opportunity to teach English Comp II to local junior college students.  This should explain my lack of blog activity over the last several months.  Imagine 40 plus students per semester, many of whom have not had an English class in the last decade, writing 3-5 page essays that examine, analyze, and create basic arguments and rhetorical theory.  Yeah. I’ve been busy.   As this last semester is drawing to a close and I find myself struggling to survive the onslaught of finals grading, I can’t help but pause to find joy in some of the truly remarkable efforts my students have offered.

Take, for instance, this gem from a final essay on US border control:

Global worming should of taught us about what needs to be done to help our plaint.

I’m not entirely sure what global worming is, nor am I aware of how its impact on planetary awareness might influence better border control, but it sounds like something that should be taken seriously. At least, this student seems to think so.

dear madam:

i would like, first, to begin by apologizing for my distinct failure to recognize the obviousness of your claim to the next available gasoline pump. a mere toddler would have understand that your place as third in line on the opposite side of the aisle far exceeded any rights i had as next in line immediately behind the exiting vehicle – a witless blunder that undoubtedly is to blame for our subsequent unpleasantness.

which bring me to my second task, wherein i wish to clarify my stunned and initially immobile response. surely you must have interpreted my stillness as defiance towards your evident privilege… at least, i presumed as much by the urgency with which you gestured at me through the windshield of your red, ford mustang. gentle lady, i assure you that this was not so. rather, i was merely overcome with shame at the gravity of my misconduct. so deep was my indignation…er…desolation that it took a few moments to return to my senses. it may have taken even longer had you not so helpfully assisted me with your promises to “run my ass over” if i didn’t move my car with great haste. thank you for your generous assistance. you words were the cold shock needed to startle me into appropriate action.

yet, as you know, i foolishly was not content to adhere to our mutual understanding for long. though i did surrender you the use of the gasoline pump, i quickly moved to the neighboring pump as soon as it became available. i must confess, my motives were not pure, as i, full of malicious intent, addressed you face to face.

it here that i arrive at my final task: to humbly beseech your mercy for the egregious words i did speak to you. where was my head when i dared to inquire: “were you seriously going to run me over for a tank of gas?” far be it from me to question the actions of one so vastly superior! yet you, in your great kindness, deigned to respond saying, “listen, bitch, i waited a hell of a lot longer than you.” oh stars! the glory of your voice as you called me by name! who is worthy of such an honor?! and yet, my predatory nature would not be surfeited, for i returned with words dripping in disrespect: “whatever helps you sleep at night.” alas! and has my soul wept since. my only solace is that perhaps, some sweet day, my penance may be paid and i can once again be blessed with the honor of your presence, that i might be able to fully express my sentiments in person.

yours ever facetiously,