A Gentleman and a Scholar, Uh, or a Gentleman and a Legend

I've mentioned before that Punk proof-reads all my blogs for me. Partly because I'm too lazy but mostly because she's just so much better at spotting my errors. Yesterday she was blown away by my egregious lack of commas. The issue was so bad that we dubbed it a Comma Catastrophe, and she copied and pasted the entire blog into an e-mail, made the corrections and sent it back to me. So sad.
I'm sorry, Mom. At least one of your kids knows how to properly place a comma. Of course, it could be worse...
Coach and I were talking tonight about his college experience. His time spent in college was maybe one of the least educational ever. In his Comp & Lit class, he went out of his way to not read any of the assignments except for perhaps, "My Kinsmen, Major Molineux." Even then I'm not convinced he read the story as much as he liked the title of it and chose to throw it into a conversation every chance he could.
In his Non-Fiction writing class, the students would sit around in a circle and read a short personal piece they had written. Sort of a journalistic style of writing, similar to what you might find in this blog. After they had shared these very personal stories, they would go around the room and rip each other's papers to pieces. Nice, right. "Your paper about your very personal issue sucked. No offense." Ah, but Coach took offense. If you ripped his paper, he ripped yours worse. He doesn't take kindly to criticism. Keep this in mind in case you run into him in a dark alley or friendly comment section.
Evidently, the professor in this particular class found Coach's use of commas, or lack thereof, highly offensive. He went so far as to assign Coach and his friend to do a Comma Presentation in front of the class.
They did a little research and then wrote a few commas on the blackboard and called it good. I asked him what he learned from this exercise. I figured I'd get at least a basic rule like where to place a comma in a compound sentence. Instead, he drew a comma in the air with his finger and said, "Where commas should go." Awesome.
At some point during his higher education, he instituted the legendary "check" system. He and his friends would sit in the back of the class and write down checks everytime another student acted too smart. If you answered too many questions or raised your hand too often in class, you would get a check. Sort of, like, if you misbehaved in elementary school and the teacher would put your name on the board. Only this time you got in trouble for excelling beyond what was necessary to pass. There was even an award, named in honor of the most annoying student of the year, whose name I shall refrain from putting here out of respect. And fear of hate mail.
One night, the professor was preparing the let his class out a whole hour earlier than usual. Naturally everyone already had one foot out the door. Except for one student. The foolish kid raised his hand and said, "Professor, we didn't cover such and such." The professor then proceeded to pull his book back out and go over whatever such and such was. That kid got a lot of checks. Honestly, he's lucky that he didn't get a textbook to the back of the head.
I might have thrown a book at him, and I liked school.
All of his in-class antics made him a legend, and in spite of his complete lack of trying, they actually gave him a diploma when he was done. Now that's a true Legend.


Anonymous said...

EGREGIOUS! wow, I'm impressed. I had to look that word up. I really was a good teacher! But on a darker note: And fear of hate mail is not a sentence. I really suck as a teacher.(head bowed in shame)- A Jollie Good(Fair) Mother

Punk said...

It's a fragmented sentence. For emphasis. Like these.

I'm of the school of thought that once a person understands the proper mechanics of writing, it's quite all right to mangle them. Poetic license and literary liberty, that kind of thing. It's when that person believes that what they're writing is perfectly fine that it becomes a problem. At least we know how to fix these mangled sentences into proper form. You know, if we wanted to. :-D

And you were a fantastic teacher. Cutest ever.

coach said...

EXCUSE ME! THIS BLOG WAS ABOUT ME! Not about who was a good teacher or the word egregious or fragmented sentences. It was about my wonderful experiences. After these responses many checks might have been given out. Come to think about it, I should bring back the ol check system for people who make me mad in my daily life. It's just a way to make me feel better. Just so everyone knows I did actually read My Kinsman Major Molineaux or however you spell it. It was pretty crappy the first time I read it, but twenty two times later I got to liking it.

Again Missy you did a great job on your blog and should write more about ME!

Punk said...

You mean you gave up the check system? I figured by this point I was rife with them:

Knew how to spell egregious? CHECK
Lectures her own mother on grammar? CHECK
Gets giddy about commas? CHECK

But, this I will say about you: I've never read "My Kinsman Major Malieaux" even once. I think you deserve a check for each time you have read it. CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK CHECK

coach said...