You’ve seen the Facebook Kazooer advertisement. Apparently, it works. It works on me anyway.
In the advert, a hapless and unknowing professor is at the board writing, his back to a hall half full of students. A girl squirts a noise on a kazoo and another answers back. They both look like, “You know what? I’m gonna do it.” They grab their plastic horn, stand up, and start blowing...something...a tune? I can’t tell. Other kids in class notice – who wouldn’t – and get out their horns and blow them. The next shot is a cadre of kids, housewives, and workers marching around town like the pied piper, blowing their horns.
The first thing is, “Really? I’m paying seventy grand a year for you to march around campus like a medieval minstrel?” NOT. I temper this old man get off my lawn rant with a love for anyone who is so outrageously individual that others have to notice. But, you guessed, I don’t have to pay for it.
The other thing I think of is a history class I took once, in university days, back when we carved notes on stone blocks. The professor was antique even then, but at three o’clock, when the class started, when the rubber sole of his Converse Chuck Taylors hit the carpet, he started lecturing. It was a class on the Enlightenment, and we would meet for three hours twice a week. He talked straight for an hour-and-a-half, clearly in love with the topic.
Finally, an intrepid soul raised his hand. “Professor so-and-so, is there a syllabus for the class.”
“Ah.” The prof whacked himself on the head, a forgetful professor. “Oh man,” he said, “let me go over that stuff.”
“No,” he said, “there is no syllabus, but I’ll outline the class for you. You will have to know everything in the book.” I looked down at it on my desk and guessed it was a solid three inches thick. “I will also suggest other reading from time to time. You will need to know everything in the books I suggest. We meet for three hours, twice a week, and I will lecture for three hours with a break after ninety minutes.”
You can see a pattern.
“You will have to know everything I lecture on in class.”
Everyone moans but it gets worse.
“There is no paper due and only one test. The final is four hours long, and you are given twelve questions about the Enlightenment. You will pick ten and explain everything you know about the question.”
He nodded and looked at us over the top of his glasses. “Good to go?”
“Oh,” he said, “and just to make sure we’re on the same page? I make an assumption that you are all adults and are here on your own accord because you are fascinated with the topic. You need to know everything I’ve outlined, but I really don’t care if you’re here or not. We’re all grown-ups, after all. I’m not a babysitter.”
He looked around the room to make sure no one got up to leave, and that was that. With a word, he went straight back to lecturing.
I don’t think he would have cared a wit about Kazooers leaving the class. We were all adults, after all.
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