Friday, September 28, 2007

"Where Do They Go, When They Go?" A Note From the Field From Our Chief Correspondent.

This is for the one that got away. You who slouched in a different seat each class, sputtering comments so stunningly moronic even the 20-watt bulbs in the back row perked up. Your game of musical desks gave me a false positive on the classroom’s stupidity quotient for those first few magical days. Then you were gone. I felt suddenly surrounded by 22 Stephen Hawkings. Where are you? What went wrong? Was it something I said?

I’ve had my unfair share of stiffs in the past. And there will be fools aplenty tomorrow. But I thought you were different. You could have made me forget the others. But today, as I ace your name from the roster, forever, I feel ... jilted. Happy students are all alike; every horrific student is insufferable in his or her own way. The troll with his mercilessly insipid questions; hiccupping non-sequiturs at the very moment my lecture is about to hit academic paydirt. Or the 20-something brownshirt whose pie-hole doubled as a bilge pipe, spewing shards of angry talk radio at his frightened classmates, while driving every discussion into a ditch. The smug jackwipe who finally deigned to enter College Writing II in her junior year, if only to get her jollies by outwitting a peanut gallery of hapless freshmen. Or the lumpendoofus whose grasp of composition was few halberds shy of barbaric, convinced of his entry into Harvard Law? Fools all. All I could do was wave from the platform as they all boarded the express train to Palookaville.

Once I consoled myself knowing these people would someday get their just desserts. A comeuppance. A wakeup call. But I wouldn’t be there to enjoy it. So I figured, “Why wait?” Why can’t I be the one who cuts you down at the knees, tells you take your cart and your bricks and get the fuck out of my classroom? Why can’t I be the change I want to see in the world?

I think about the one who got away, and I feel a loss. I lost a chance to forever top any nightmare related in my department. I lost my shot at being “chief correspondent” at RYS. Maybe they'd invite me to the compound to slurp margaritas from a wheelbarrow and twiddle with blogger templates till my retinas burned.

What I truly lost out on was knowing if I did that kid a favor. Maybe he dropped out. Maybe he got a job. Maybe he saved his folks a bundle in tuition. Maybe transferred across the hall and is making your life a living hell. Maybe it dawned on him that adulthood starts today. Maybe he’s playing Xbox and doesn’t give a shake.

I don’t know. And neither do you. And that’s how it goes.