Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zoltan from Zuma Beach Offers a Little Lecture on What Is and Isn't Fair. (AKA Bozo's Comeuppance.)

Dear Bozo,

I shouldn't have snapped out you after class last week. Even worse is that as you trailed me loudly whining, “It's not fair! It's not fair!” I maintained my demeaning tone within earshot of other people, explaining how you have missed every single deadline this semester so far and that I'd had my fill of your excuses. Still, let me try to explain myself in hopes that you will forgive me.

I have a clearly — some would say legalistically — worded attendance and late-work policy detailed in my syllabus. The gist of the late-work policy remains (for everyone, not just you) that no late work is accepted without prior consultation and a good reason. Hell, I'll usually accept “too many things due at once” as “a good reason” if you haven't worn out my goodwill. To me, this seems like a reasonable policy. If a student is a fuck-up, however, the downside of the policy is that late work= ZERO. And so here we are. I'm not saying you're a fuck-up...but you are.

I never should have let you add the class as late as I did. That was my mistake, and I'm probably getting what I deserve. In my experience, students who can't get their shit together enough to have their schedules worked out by the beginning of the first week turn out to be shiftless pains in the ass. But you seemed like a nice enough kid, and desperate.

You didn't show up to class, though, for another two weeks. I understand: You were being evicted. Must have been tough. During that time you missed assignments, quizzes, and eventually a deadline for a major paper. At first, I didn't accept your excuses—well, I never accepted them, because you are clearly a weasel. But you wore me down, and I told you I would accept your paper AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT CLASS, if you would recognize that you were out of chances, that there would be no more late work for any reason and no more excuses. You agreed and thanked me till my nose nearly bled. Come next class, no paper. What was your reason? Printer problems? Flat tire? Don't remember. To get rid of you I told you to put it in my box later in the day. It was a shitty paper, as you know. It didn't address the assignment, was clearly squeezed out moments before class, and so I gave you the grade you earned: F. I look forward to your

So last week, I was surprised when you were surprised that I would not give you credit for your second late paper. I know it's worth 15% of your class grade, and that the zero fucks you hard in a class in which you are already, well-fucked. But, as I pointed out, we had a deal, and my policy is what it is—and you are as out of breaks as I am out of patience. Then you tried a bold and inventive excuse: You told me that the syllabus/schedule listed the wrong date. I pulled it out (the syllabus!), showed it to you. Then you said that the syllabus on Blackboard contained the wrong date. This concerned to me, even though every other student in class arrived with an assignment. I logged into the classroom computer and lo! there was no error with the deadline date. (I was relieved.) That didn't stop you. You became bolder still. You said, “But when I log in with MY username, a syllabus with different dates is there!” Yes, that's right. When the rest of the class and I log in to Blackboard, we all see one syllabus. When you log in, a ghost in the machine displays a completely different schedule, out of sheer perversity.

This was the tipping point for me, I think. What I heard was, “I have so little respect for you, and I think you are so fucking stupid and weak that I will serve you the most outrageous bullshit, and you, you ignorant prick, will sup on it.”

Well, you greasy little cocksucker, I'm done supping. Don't like my policy? Tell it to the dean. And stop calling me. That last call from you implying that your failure was my fault for not intuiting that you didn't know the deadline only pissed me off more.

I was just bullshitting you about wanting forgiveness. I know you're going to give me all 1's on my evaluations, but you know what? Go fuck yourself.

Prof. Zoltan