Wednesday, August 11, 2004

No longer "no class"

I am starting a class in a few weeks, the first step in obtaining a graduate certificate in technical writing. Technical writing isn't an easy field to break into, but it pays pretty well if you do it right. Hopefully, I will fall into that category, and thus earn much money with which to keep the gold brocade coming.

The whole thing's gotten me thinking about the dumb things I hated about college, the foremost of which were instructors who required attendance and yet didn't give you positive credit for it. I had a history class in which you got only three excused absences; after that, you lost one letter grade for every three absences that followed. Showing up 100% got you nothing, of course. Well, I complained about this to a then-coworker (I worked part-time as a foot messenger), and she suggested that in retaliation I steal the class sign-in sheet.

Could I really do that? Sure, she said. When the sheet comes around to you, she told me, just stick it in your textbook and go on with class. When class is over, she advised, just leave immediately before you have to answer awkward questions. Now, you have to remember that I used to be very quiet and shy (a long time ago), so the idea of being this "rebellious" was pretty radical to me. However, I was so angry at the attendance policy that I decided to do it. Next class, I slipped the sign-in sheet quietly into my textbook, and then trembled for 50 minutes, waiting for someone to decry me in stentorian tones. It was like "The Telltale Heart", if the heart had been a piece of paper and the protaganist a lame-ass, nervous, petty thief.

As soon as class ended, I fled the room, and on my way out I heard the professor ask if anyone had the sign-in sheet. I immediately panicked and began formulating my strategy. I knew I couldn't safely leave the sheet in my backpack, lest he search it, so I folded up the sheet and stuffed it in my shoe. Of course, that wouldn't do, because he might order me to remove my shoes. (College professors often strip-search students, you see.) So I stuffed the folded-up sheet into my underwear, craftily deciding that if he checked my shoe he was OK, but if he checked my underwear it qualified as molestation. All this folding and stuffing was going on in a crowded hallway, mind you.

Needless to say, the professor did not track me down, so I endured a morning-full of that crotch-scratching sign-in sheet for nothing. He did, however, keep a tight eye on the sheet from then on out, which validated my view of the entire matter as some kind of Indiana Jones adventure. The point of this story is...well, I don't really know what it is, except that the next time I plan to steal a sign-in sheet, I am wearing boxers.

(BTW, when I said I was a foot messenger, I didn't mean that I delivered feet. I just walked on feet. My own.)

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