The worst thing about a college social sciences class is not that tests aren’t multiple choice, or the materials are hard, or the fact that you’re teacher constantly confronts you with topics discussing your own mortality. It’s that one kid that sits in the front row and thinks he has a civic duty to answer every single question the professor asks.
Today’s a good day. I woke up on time. I had a chance to eat breakfast. I saw a girl trip and fall down steps on the way to class and it was funny. All of these things have procured for me a brilliantly serene 8 a.m. mood.
The best thing? It’s 7:58 and the kid that always flaunts his intelligence and ruins everybody’s day isn’t here. Maybe he got run over by a trolley. I can only hope.
“Alright guys,” says professor Anderson, “if you wanna look up at the screen we’ll recap the Powerpoint from Monday…”
Yes! He’s not here! Naw, Nawwwww….I can hear his lanyard jingling down the aisle. There he is.
Look at him. He jogs down the aisle, backpack doublestrapped and looks to his left and right like he wonders if people know he’s late. Everyone knows you’re late, dummy. Normal late people slide into the back row. They don’t parade down the center aisle of a three hundred seat auditorium like a rabid kindergartener.
Now there are all kinds of the kid that, out of some desperate, burning desire for attention, is forced to flaunt himself in class. There’s the frat guy, who slouches terrible low in his seat, wears grey sweatpants to class and a flat-brim and acts like he’s so tired because of how hard he partied last night on a Tuesday. Good for you, man. Good for you.
Then, there’s the girl, or guy, who chatters sarcastically to anyone who will listen how badly this class sucks and the work is hard and how they’ll never pass. They’ll complain-whisper even when the class doesn’t suck, and they actually have like, a B plus, and yeah, the works’ hard because you’re in college. This isn’t fourth grade.
This is an especially bad case of the kid who thinks he’s the shit. Let me paint you a picture. He tucks his flannel into his jeans. He parts his hair. He sometimes combs his indie moustache during class with a baby moustache comb. His name is Guy.
Watch, I bet Guy announces his presence.
“Anderson! What up, man! Sorry I’m late, kid was choking at the food court and I had to stop and give him CPR.”
First off, Dr. Anderson isn’t in your frat. You don’t have to act like he’s the guy you got drunk with last night and spooned with while you guys played Super Smash Brothers together. Second off, I guarantee Dr. Anderson didn’t go to school for twelve years so he could have you call him “Anderson.” Third, you definitely didn’t just give some kid CPR. Maybe you saw a kid choking to death, and maybe you watched someone else with balls and a brain give CPR, but everybody knows you just stood there in line at the food stand so you could get your Red Bull and banana to studiously sip and nibble away at during class.
“Alright guys, today we’re gonna take a look at elements of postmodernism. Can anyone give me an example of what they might think that is?”
He must be a senior. Has to be. Kids that look like serial killer accountants from 1988 normally aren’t this boisterous and years of conceit have probably built up to the point where he thinks it’s okay to wear jeans that show his ankles.
This is the worst. He won’t answer the first question, though. No, he knows everyone is on to him. He’s self-conscious. He’ll wait a couple rounds before he asserts himself as dominant alpha-douche.
“Um, is postmodernism like, when you see architecture that’s really weird looking and kind of without purpose?” Says a cute girl who has a perfectly valid answer but is insecure about committing to any solid statements since she’s afraid of being judged and analyzed by her classmates. What a silly thought.
“Yes! You’re on the right track, Molly. Modernism was all about rationalization while the Postmodern is about the aesthetic. Can anyone give me another example?”
Here he goes. Look, he won’t even raise his hand. He’ll just sip on that Red bull, nibble that banana and fire away.
“Postmodernism is a challenge of barriers, especially in music, a test between the high and the low. It shows us the irony of past cultural strictures and asks us, who are we? Are we ironic, are we structured, are we experimental? And I think myself, as an artist and someone who makes great music and maybe has a little deeper intelligence than others who may not be so gifted, I want to stretch those barriers and just live with passion, just thrive, just be.”
I want to stab him.
“Thanks, Guy, for your thoughts.”
Bet he tries to plug his alt-indie band in here.
“And also if you guys are at all interested, my band Starfish Angelsky will be playing in the grass in the center of campus this afternoon at three. I play guitar and I sing, so it’s like, two things at once.”
“And if a lot of guys want to come that’s cool, but try to bring like two girls each, so the gender balance has a good flowing energy.”
“Alright class, we’re going to watch a clip now from the Simpsons, followed by a PBS special on euthanasia, followed by some Youtube videos of Fifty Cent mashups with old Disney songs. Because this is what you pay for these days, Youtube clips splayed across a whiteboard for an hour and a half.”
Oh, wow! I didn’t even notice he’s got two backpacks. Like, he ran in here with the kindergarten backpack, but he also has a satchel portfolio. How didn’t I notice the satchel? That’s so he can hang out around the art buildings and hope a naive girl asks him about the shitty poetry he likes to stuff in the side pockets. A real free spirit, that one.
“Before I forget, class, come up and turn in your essays due today.”
There are four teacher’s aides in the class. Four of them. But no, Guy is gonna stand up in the center and help collect the essays.
“You guys can just come lay your essays in my arms. I’ll help out.” Sips the Red Bull. Nibbles banana. “I promise I won’t get any of my banana on your essays while you give them to me.”
Well shit, I can’t take this anymore. Got my essay, I’m walking, walking…
Boom! I just dumped your Red Bull on your head. Boom! Now I just smashed your banana in your face. Wachah! Now I just untucked your flannel so you don’t look like you’re trying so hard to be a fifty-two year old lumberjack.
None of that happened. He’s still collecting papers. Sigh. I just don’t have it in me to be one of those kids who acts upon all their rambunctious fantasies. Maybe I can still go to his band’s show at three with a handful of loose change and while he strums I’ll see if I can hit him in the forehead with pennies. Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I knew pennies were good for something.