Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baffling early thirsty

This note arrived in my email inbox yesterday:

Greetings Proffie Bubba,

I'm in your Fall 2011 Introduction to underwater Wittgensteinian equestrian basket-weaving class. My grandfather is sick and he's in the Netherlands, and so I'm going to fly to see him in September. Can you please tell me what my options are before I buy my airplane ticket? How many classes can I miss? Will it affect my grade if I miss too many classes? Will I be able to make up missed classes?
Thank you.


Bobby Zox

Polite, well-written note. Sounds like a nice kid. And the student is planning ahead. Bonus points for all that.

Q. How would you reply?

A._______________________ [Be creative, dammit.]


  1. Dear Bobby,

    Sorry to hear about your ill grandfather. I know it's hard to have extended family abroad. As a student and instructor, I've missed many weddings, births, and even funerals because of classes. Pretty horrible, huh? My advice is to not choose your education over your grandfather, I won't be able to live with myself. Drop the class now before you become a shell of a person like me!

    Kindly xxx

  2. Dear Bob-o-link,

    As a great warrior of the Soviet people, Ivan Drago said of a defeated fellow boxer: "If he dies, he dies." We in higher ed don't give a doodly-shit about your relatives, pets, girlfiends, fuck buddies or whatnot; either be in that chair when class starts or I mark you absent.

    May your entire generation get its collective head out of its ass,

    Strelnikov, who used to hunt mujaheddin for sport

  3. I am befuddled by the idea of an ailing grandparent lasting until September when it's only late July. Why not visit in August?

    Why am I smelling a trip somewhere tropical in the early Autumn?

  4. Dear Bobby,

    Your claim of an ailing grandparent reflects poorly upon you. The semester hasn't even started yet and you're already playing that card? What, are you new around here?

    OK, junior. Get on the bus. I'm taking you to school.

    Your first move is to say you just added the class so that you can miss a couple of days during the first week. Next, you'll get financial aid problems so you have to run all over campus (during class time, of course) to get that straightened out. Maybe you pick up some more hours at your job (again, during class time) to cover the cost of books. By midterm, you should plan to take an all day (on Friday or Monday) trip to the hospital to be with an injured friend. Throughout the semester, your idiot roommate will turn off your alarm, making you miss that 1 pm class. Grandparents don't start dying until mid-November. Always keep one in reserve in case you need some time off during finals.

    Christ, I can't even believe that I have to explain all this to you.

  5. Dear student,
    You're traveling in September? To an atheist nation like the Netherlands? Don't you realize that it's the tenth anniversary as 9/11? This offends me as an American and a Christian.* I suggest that you and your "grandfather"** rethink your plans immediately.
    Prof. Bubba***

    (* It does not actually matter whether or not you're an American or a Christian; you should write this anyway.
    ** Note mandatory scare-quotes.
    *** Please sign your email "Bubba," especially if your name is not "Bubba.")

  6. Send him a copy of the syllabus in Dutch. Bold, underline, and italicize your attendance and late work policies.

  7. Sorry this is not creative, but I'd do what EnglishDoc said, only in English, along with a few words about how life is short and of course, one should visit one's dying relatives or else face a life filled with regret.

    Then I'd take a sentence to fall all over myself praising the student for realizing he had this conflict in time to change his schedule and arrange to take the class next semester when there might be less going on in his life.

  8. Dear Student,

    Since the Netherlands is in the southern hemisphere, time actually runs backwards. Get to your grandfather immediately before he gets so young that he crawls back up a uterus. If you leave now, you'll return three days ago.

    If you see Michael J. Fox while you're traveling, tell him I said hello.


  9. Dear Bobby,

    What a shame. As to missed classes, the only important ones are the ones where I'm there. Don't miss those.

    Prof. FrogToad

  10. Have a great trip. I'll see you in 2012 when the course is offered again.

  11. Dear Bobby,

    I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. But if you bring me back some sweet wooden shoes that'd be great, even if you need to drop the course.

    Bye now.


  12. Dearest Bobby:

    There are several options available to you. I prefer to fly 1st class, but then I'm a rich professor. If funds are lacking, then a good strategy is to fly coach and sneak into 1st class after the plane has taken off.

    You may miss as many classes as you wish, but it would be nice if you bring some good weed back for me. Don't forget to tell the customs agents that you have it when you return.

    It is difficult to determine if missing too many classes will affect your grade. Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that the grades of a certain category of students are unaffected by class attendance. Students afflicted with sick grandparents usually fall into this category, so it is possible that your grade will not be affected if you miss many classes.

    I always enjoy reading fantasy, so please make up stuff about the classes you miss. I suggest you post this material on Facebook so that your friends and family may see how creative and intelligent you are.

    Most Respectfully Yours,

  13. Dear. Mr. Zox,

    I am sorry to hear about your grandfather. Since you will have to miss multiple sessions of several different classes I suggest you contact the Dean's office to let them know. Once they approve your absence, as I am sure they will given the circumstances, then we can discuss how you can best make-up missed class work.

    Best wishes, Dr. MM

  14. Hey dipshit,
    Go fuck yourself.
    Dr. Bubba

    But I'm 3.14159 sheets to the wind. When I sober up, I'll probably write something else. Jesus h, bourbon is good.

  15. Dear Student

    If you are lying about your grandfather being ill, he will get a terminal disease, and it will be your fault. This is called karma.

  16. It just occurred to me that a response to the dead or dying relative might be to "friend" the student on Facebook. Set up an extra facebook account solely for the purpose of "friending" students, so they don't get real access to your facebook life. Then, when their relatives die or get sick, you can talk about it on their "wall" - offering your condolences, asking about the trip, etc.. If they're lying, it will get really sticky for them, especially if their parents are among their "friends."


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.