Thursday, May 1, 2008


Recently I made some hateful comments about how I didn't want any more stupid people to be born because the world seems to have an ample supply. Many of you thought this was heartless for me to say and some of you thought, I am sure, that since I am stupid myself, I injured the cause of my own kind by suggesting there should be fewer of us. Whatever.

Let me splain why I had that little tantrum about stupidity.

I have a student - not the first in my career - who spells his name four different ways, depending on his mood. He also writes his papers in text language, but that is another complaint entirely. So that I don't sound like I am singling out any ethnic or social group by way of splainin', I will use the name of a famous person who is most assuredly not attending college to make my point. To prove I am not even ganging up on men-folk, I will choose a woman's name.

The name shall be: Angelina Jolie.

Now, if you have an "Angelina Jolie" in your class, like I do, you expect that your Angelina Jolie will have nickname. Good. Let's say it is "Angie." Excellent! Let's rule in the possibility that Angelina, sometimes known as "Angie," will sometimes type "Angie Jolie" in the heading of her papers because she would assume I would know, based on the last name and my knowledge of her casual moniker, to whom the paper belonged. To whom the paper belonged!

Not so!

During the semester, I collected six formal papers from Angelina. On the first paper, she spelled her name:

Angelina F. Jolie. (Cool! She has a middle name!)

On second paper, she spelled her name:

Angie Farina J. (Huh. I wonder if this is Ms. Jolie?)

On her third paper, she spelled her name:

Angelina Farina Jolio (Oh shit. I wonder if this is the same person as Angie Farina J?)

On her fourth paper, she spelled her name:

Angelina Q. Jolio-Farina. (What the FUCK?)

Fifth paper?

Angie Jolie (Wow. It's almost clear to me who this is.)

Sixth paper:

Angelinina J. (Who the fuck is this?)

So when I returned her portfolio the other day, I asked, "What is your name, seriously?"

She replied, "Yo, miss, it's Ange."

"Really? No Angie? No second syllable?"

"Whatever, it's Ange."

"Ok. Look at all the ways you spelled your name this semester. Why did you do that?" I was a bit snappish.

"I was just keepin' things fresh."

"Really?" said I.

"I got to go," replied Angelina, Ange, Angie, and Farina Q Jolininio.


And then I had a breakdown and I begged Jesus to just make it stop.

And that's all the splainin' this "miss" is gonna do.

Happy Thursday.


Avitable said...

Hey gorgeous. You should come over to Philly Saturday to go to TequilaCon and meet me.

Neil said...

I hate that stupid Angelina Jolie.

Mrs. Who said...

Hell, I'm envying the fact you have a student actually writing and turning in assignments!

Annie said...

I can totally see why you would hate that :-).

eSquared said...

First: No apologies or splanations necessary.

Next: WTF? that is stupid

Last: Sounds like "Angie" should be an example to the other students

cajunvegan said...

Mamma said there'd be days like this. There'd be days like this my mamma said.

Effortlessly Average said...

but if you've got a rack like Angelina Jolie, no one cares how you spell your name. Welcome to America! heh

LAS said...

I'm totally laughing right now!

Anonymous said...

Do these students arrive at school on a short yellow bus with a lift in the back? Do most of them wear a helmet?

I wouldn't grade papers of students who may not be in your class... your work load is heavy enough without having to add detective to the list of your responsibilities.

ByJane said...

There's one in every class, and you know that on the first day. It's just a question of who that one is and what form their "oneness" will take.

country roads said...

I agreed before the explanation. Now I'm your biggest supporter.

Dagny said...

interesting, these youth.


ricki said...

"Spells his name four different ways, depending on his mood"

I'm a college prof, so I know whereof I speak: what you describe above should be grounds for mandatory sterilization.

I had a student like that once who was trying on different personae. I never knew from day to day if he was going to show up to class in angry-Goth persona, in happy-cheery theater kid persona, in I'm-wearing-a-man-skirt-even-though
-I-know-I-can-get-beat-up-for-it persona, or his beleaguered-artist persona.

It was exhausting because I kept having to adjust how I interacted with him and I didn't like feeling like I was being forced to participate in some kind of Samuel Beckett horrorshow stageplay.

Look, I was young and stupid once but even I knew not to piss off the person who was going to be assigning a grade to me at the end of the semester.

LizB said...

All I can say is this sounds FAMILIAR.

imaginary binky said...

I'm pretty sure this made my head explode. Yep. Definite brain matter scatter.

Jamie Croft said...

The future of the world looks so bright.

pretty boy

pick one,

Rodney Lewis said...

It's quite a shame you are too cold of a person to care enough for the young ones under your care to compassionately see their behavior for what it is.

Angie is not stupid, she resents being labeled and pigeonholed by the world, she wants you to know she is more than these compartments you try to put her in. What did you think she was saying when she said she needed to keep things "fresh"?

This is one case where the teacher definitely has something to learn from the student.

Rodney Lewis