For the past couple days I have taken on the role of Mary's secretary. She has recruited me to assist her in getting her exams for her high school English students retyped and brought up to date. So I have been a keyboard slave, tap, tap, tapping away at this computer making her exams look pretty. Or at least up to date.
In doing the typing I have learned a great deal about satire and science fiction, two of the classes she teaches. I think I could even pass the exams without ever actually reading the material. I wonder how many of her students are going to try that. It's not that the tests are particularly easy--I'm sure some of her students will have considerable difficulty with them--but that I am a pretty good test taker. It's a talent I have that I relied on too often when in school, instead of actually learning the material. I have an unusual knack for the essay questions--bobology rules!
In fact, telling the following story may get me in deep doodoo with my beloved, but it goes to illustrate my test taking prowess. Way back in ancient history--the late 60's to be exact--when we were both in college, Mary had to take a Political Science course to fulfill some arcane requirement for her degree. She had zero interest and too many other classes, as well as a part time work schedule to attend to, so she was hoping for an easy class that she could skate through with minimum effort. Being the hero I am, and being in love to boot, I jumped up and volunteered to take the class for her. (Don't get all ethical on me now, this was the 60's after all, and thumbing our noses at the establishment was required for remaining in good standing in our generation.)
It was one of those lecture type classes given by a droning, uninterested prof who recited by rote the same sentences he had droned out a thousand times before, to 300 students in an overheated hall, fighting off sleepiness while scratching incomprehensible notes in their notebooks. I attended the first lecture to get the syllabus and to get a sense for what the class required of its students. I attended the last class to make sure it was still the same course. The vast middle of the class was a wasteland of no consequence. The final exam was, of course, an essay exam with several questions. Right up my alley, as the saying goes.
I scribbled page after page of tangled discourse and obfuscation in my bluebook, weaving a tapestry of nonsense that only a political scientist could appreciate. The fact that what I wrote made no sense and that it was couched in an excess of verbiage, served to validate my standing as a budding politico. Today they call it "spin"; back then it was known as "bullshit." I knew I would pass the course simply because there is no way that the professor and his minions could possibly read and try to comprehend the pile of garbage that the students taking the class buried them under. I figured, rightly I presume, that as long as the bluebook was filled with English words that resembled sentences when arranged in a logical order, their meaning would be superfluous.
I/we got a "B" for the course. I think I was robbed. That was an "A" bobology if ever there was one. I'm still upset. Mary, however, is riddled with guilt and every now and then when the guilt has had time to fester, she will threaten to write a letter to our Alma Mater, confessing her sin and offering to return her ill-gotten degree. I think the statute of limitations has erased that crime, though.
So now I am paying for that long ago transgression in our academic careers by serving as a lowly typist, pecking out the words of another test. This time though I'm not answering the questions, just posing them, and it isn't nearly as much fun. The questions I've been typing though have piqued my interest. Maybe I'll actually get around to doing the reading and filling in the blanks of my education. I can't wait for the exam.