My mentor, Dermot Dermot, came into the Teacher’s Assistant rooms and yelled at me yesterday; I don’t know if he was having a bad day or if it got bad when he saw me standing atop the cubical wall. I thought it was an overreaction on his part because the cubical walls are robust and can definitely hold the weight of any of the T.A.s—apart from Nigel “Fatty Lumpkin” Lumpis who is enormous. Oh, my god, he is so fat.
You see, we T. A.s have a weekly competition to see who can find the worst-written sentence out of any of our students’ essays, so we circle up and take turns reading a single sentence aloud from one of our students—the worst that we can find. The game is a real hoot. The best sentence—which is to say the worst sentence—wins one lucky T. A. an enormous bottle of the best that the rest of us buy at the local liquor store.
Who wouldn’t enjoy this game? And, anyway, raise your hand if you’ve written an undergraduate essay at any point in your life? Yeah, and that proves my point right there: we’ve all written some ripe fruit at one point or another in our careers no matter how long or how short our careers have been. True, yes, true, according to the rules of our T. A. game, I was not required to climb atop the cubical wall, but, again, the walls are robust and have allowed many of us to play Hot Lava when we aren’t playing Bad Essay for Beer.
Anyway, so I was standing atop the cubical wall when Dermot entered the room and rather than clear his throat, cough, or make a small polite noise to bring us to order, he screamed:
Dermot: TROUSERS! TROUSERS!
Now that I think about it, yes, I guess my nearly-naked Southern end added some top spin to Dermot’s day. What I mean is that I wasn’t wearing my trousers at the time I climbed atop the cubical wall, but come on, man, I’m an artist. I’m a serious artist, too, not one of these nanny panny artists; no, I’m the real wing dingy, and a real wing dingy artist can’t go around being shy all the time. He has to put things out there—literally—and if that means he climbs on a cubical wall without his trousers and reads aloud an incredibly embarrassing passage from an embarrassing essay from one of his students, well, who am I to judge?
But then my mother stepped out from behind Dermot, and then the dean stepped out from behind my mother and there was this triad of grim authority standing there looking at my Neaderthals: my mentor, my mother, and the dean just looking at me in horror. I quickly came full circle with the situation and, yes, I have my regrets. Don’t we all?