Professor Miss

One of the things I like best about the show Community is that it really captures the "I don't really want to be here but I'll make the best of it while I try to figure out what to do with my life" feeling I endured pretty much around the clock when I was attending Onondaga Community College. I'm sure a lot has changed in the years since I was there, but back then OCC really was more like an extension of high school than an institution of higher learning. At times that was comforting, especially after my time at Syracuse University (which was anything but pleasant) but most of the time it just seemed wrong; wrong in a scary way I couldn't define or ignore or escape from. Even so, there were bright spots, and while being required to take health and swimming my first semester there wasn't one of them (way to fight that "extension of high school" perception, guys!) my health professor definitely qualified. I don't want to name names, because that's just rude in this ultra-connected world of Google and Facebook, but the fun started when she walked into class on the first day of the semester and announced that her name was Professor Miss ____ _____. I'd never known anyone who liked being called by two titles simultaneously, and when she announced matter of factly and appropo of absolutely nothing that she was also coach of the women's tennis team, I knew I was in for a fun semester. Unfortunately the reality fell far short of the promise of that first day. Professor Miss ____ _____ was no doubt an intelligent, educated woman, but she was cursed with a ditzy demeanor that made her seem like a moron and a speaking voice that could bore you to tears in less than 2 minutes. My solution was to read ahead and tune her out in class. Or try to tune her out. One day during a particularly inflectionless lecture she told the class that she lived in Fairmount Fair. Who knows what she meant. Maybe she meant she lived in Fairmount, or near Fairmount Fair. But she said she lived in Fairmount Fair. Nobody reacted; they were probably tuned out as well. But Professor Miss suddenly acted as if she had made the funniest blunder of all time. "Whoa, I mean, of course I don't actually live in Fairmount Fair. Nobody lives in Fairmount Fair! That would be ridiculous. I live in a regular house, not a shopping mall!" I'm doing her an ill turn by paraphrasing but I'm doing you a favor by stopping short. The original disclaimer lasted a minute and a half if it lasted a second, and she wasn't even halfway through it before I was muttering "we get it, lady, you don't live in a fucking mall."Late in the semester she gave the class a project - research and review an over the counter health or beauty product. She had fairly strict guidelines on what information she wanted and how she wanted us to present it (she was clearly a fan of Consumer Reports) but the actual product was entirely up to us. This will come as a shock, but I sort of put the project off until well after the last minute, and desperate measures were called for. And that's when Fulox Tablets were born. Fulox was a word I'd invented which combined fool and an ethnic slur for people of Polish descent, and which ascribed a particularly nasty variety of stupidity to people I didn't like. Since I already loved the word, and it had a vaguely medical sound, I made up Fulox Tablets, a new headache remedy that claimed to be as effective as Tylenol but at a much lower cost. I made up a description of the product and its packaging, its advertising campaign and its warnings, which were suspiciously similar to the giant bottle of Wegmans aspirin we had in our medicine cabinet. I even made up the test results in a move of arrogance that could only come from the absolute knowledge that Professor Miss ____ _____ would never catch on. And either she didn't or she didn't care, because I got an A. I realize this story isn't terribly interesting; I just like to think about it and marvel at the nerve I had, once upon a time. And if my head starts to ache I reach for a bottle of Fulox.

No comments: