If you all can think back to some of my initial “Week in Review” columns, you might remember a certain math class I had that was so overrun with fools it made for such a horrific educational experience. I can now say, that after four weeks of Computer Logic and Design at the college that will not be named, not only has it eclipsed the previous class, but it has led to a lowering of my stupidity tolerance—give me another month or so, and I’m sure I will be completely allergic. My escapades through life, liberty, and the pursuit of technical literacy began the very first week, when I was asked by an odd-looking fellow, whom I will refer to as the “politician”, to sign his petition, which would allow for him to be some kind of representative to the student body for the college. Not thinking anything of it, I indeed signed it, as did everyone else later on in the class, after he asked the professor for permission to make a short speech after the break (he’s learning the trade of being a BS-artist rather fast). I would just like to point out, that I have no quarrels with the professor, who is very calm, soft-spoken, and has the patience of a saint (if you keep reading, you will realize how important that is).
But before this happened, that is, before I even signed anything, he did something that irked me, which I unknowingly cast aside as I put pen to paper. With the room pretty much empty about twenty minutes before class, I was sitting in the back row of computers (there are desks in the middle, and rows of computer on the two sides and back walls) all by myself, and of course, he sits right next to me. After lobbying like only a used car salesman could, he told me that if he gets onto the student board, he can get us anything we want. Me being who I am, said we should get a hockey game going. He looked at me and responded, “Come on! How about something realistic?” to which I said, “Oh, its realistic.” After I said this, something in him snapped and he started to get angry with me. “How?! Where can we get a rink? We can’t have a game!” he sneered at me. Now it was my turn to be snippy, “Well, actually we tried last year to have a game on foot in the gym, or on skates outside on the basketball court, we just didn’t get enough sign ups. I planned it with the head athletic director [John Smith], but as someone who is so involved in student government, I figured you must have known that already.” Not able to say anything, he made a humming sound, and walked away to another student who had just walked in. Did I say I was referring to him as a politician?
The next week, he did something else that annoyed me slightly. The class was just about to begin, and was pretty full, when I hear a, “Hey, that’s a nice shirt!” comment. Considering the possibility that he was referring to me and my Williamsburg Civil War shirt, I continued to look straight ahead, figuring that if I ignored him, maybe he would go away. Well, that doesn’t work with a bad infection, so in the end, it didn’t work here either. Again, blaring across the room, “That’s a nice shirt! Williamsburg!” With everyone in the room now staring at me, I turned my head slowly and gave him an unenthusiastic thumbs up, so he would stop making a fool of himself.
Later in week two, though, would be the funniest, and strangest, moment of my two-year college career, one that puts the exclamation point on my experiences at the college which will not be named. In fact, this is something that had never even happened to me in high or middle school either. It is so astounding that I can only hope to be able to describe it well enough so that your eyes will widen too, and of course, start to chuckle at how humanity has degraded to such a feeble level. Class begins at 1:30, and we are now about ten minutes in. There are two doors in the front of the room, one on each side, with the whiteboard in the middle, which was where the professor was standing when the moment of all moments occurred. With both doors shut, I see this creepy looking fat kid, who had become a nuisance along with his political partner in crime a week earlier, attempt to open the door, which I saw through the small window at head level. The door, which must have accidentally locked itself, refused to open. Puzzled, I heard a loud thud as he punched the door and walked away. The professor is oblivious to what happened. Now, rather than calmly knock and wait for a kind Samaritan to come to the aid of this monumental task, he leaves all together. Thirty seconds later, we all jumped as we heard what sounded like cries and screams of agony. No, it wasn’t crying, it was wailing—earth shaking exertions of insanity, screams of torture and pain. The professor is still oblivious and continuing with his lecture. Then we hear a lady ask, “What’s wrong? What happened?” followed by his shrieking of, “I’ve never been late to a college class before! Aaaah! I can’t get in! Aaaah! I’ve never been late! Waaah!” The professor is still talking about computers.
Probably wanting to get this obviously mentally unstable character out of the hallway, there was soon silence. Everyone in the class was now staring at each other. Then, all of a sudden, the climactic moment! The professor, who had been calmly reciting his lecture while chewing gum stopped chewing, turned his head to the left and said, “Is something going on?” I nearly burst out laughing because it was so perfect (probably had to be there to find it funny). After being informed of what happened by a lady outside the door, he entered the classroom with a smile on his face that he was trying to hide, and continued on like nothing happened. Just days later, I found out from a friend that this same kid was nearly arrested in the admissions office for threatening to kill himself and the lady at the desk because he had to withdraw from the class. It was so severe, apparently, the police came, and when he reached into his bag for something, they jumped on him, in case it was a weapon. Well, I don’t know what the hell that was about, cause he’s back! It’s been two classes since, and he continues to take up space and breathe my air, while asking stupid questions and colluding with you guessed it, the politician! The two of them sit in their own little world together.
Now on to last week, I was able to find a friend in someone with a low tolerance for stupidity, as well as being a Rangers fan. We hit it off great, and I will deem him the only sane person in the class until someone else proves otherwise. We sat together on the side row of computers to do a lab, when the politician sat to his right. For the entire class, all I heard was, “I’m not getting this! It’s not working!” followed by incessant tapping, humming, and “Oh, oh!” every time he moved around in his chair. He sounds like an old man sometimes, because whenever he sits or stands, his exhale is so loud everyone knows it. I felt like saying to him, “Maybe if you stopped being such an obnoxious little prick, you would understand the lessons.” Actually, anyone with a half a brain would do well in the class. The professor does the algorithms on the board and we copy it into our editing program—that is all. There is no thinking involved. Instead, there was an hour and a half of tapping, humming, and whining. This week, it was my turn to feel it firsthand.
Someone took my seat, so I had the misfortune of sitting next to him. It got so bad a half hour in that I looked at him and rather loudly said, “Do you have a problem?” to which he mumbled something. Then he had to strike his keys so loud it echoed across the room. The Ranger fan and I just looked at each other and laughed, to keep from crying of course. When we were on our break, I was reading an article on last night’s Rangers-Flyers game when he asked me what I was reading. I did not even look at him, and just mumbled back. But he kept pressing, until I actually had to speak with some clarity. Asshole.
Later in the class, it continued as he complained and asked questions to himself. Because I actually understood the work at hand, I was beginning to enjoy myself. Finally, minutes from the end of the class, he exclaimed, “I got it! I finally got it!”. Not being able to stop myself, I stretched my arms out behind me, yawned, and said, “Yeah, that’s what happens when you stop humming and tapping and actually pay attention.” I don’t think he got the statement cause he asked, “What? What did you say? Tapping?” then an abhorrently fake laughter as only a politician could, bordering on cackling, “Ha! Tapping! Hahahaha!”
The day ended with me storming out aimlessly, numbed from the ordeal. This award goes to the two fools mentioned in this article, and covers the entire four weeks we have sojourned together through the logic (wow, how ironic that’s what this class is teaching) and design of computers. If the next eleven weeks are anything like the last four, the author of this blog might not be around to write about it.