Friday, November 18, 2005

Get Smart or Die Tryin'

I suppose Armageddon is not at hand. Reached this conclusion today, after waking to 30-degree weather. For the past three or four days, temps have been in the 60s and 70s. On Tuesday, I wore a t-shirt to class. Mr. President? Um, maybe we should’ve checked out this global warming thing. Or at least moved “the environment” farther down on our shit list. Then again, “Christmas in July” has worked well as an office-party theme. “July at Christmas” could be equally chic.

Just to be safe, I’m stockpiling Aquafina. Another ominous sign: 50 Cent may make Oprah’s book club. Is this the “club” Fitty envisioned all along?

Crazy times.

Unlike Ben Affleck, I can’t honestly say that I “don’t wanna miss a thing.” I wouldn’t mind closing my eyes and falling asleep for the next week or so. UVA has granted students a full week for Thanksgiving break, but this means a shorter pre-Christmas crunch. The co-eds have already traded beer pong for a game I call “Don’t Even Start.” Object: shame anyone who claims to have a heavy workload. I got lots of practice at Wellesley.

Player 1: Ohmigod! I’ve got soooo much to do! Three 5-page papers, two problem sets, and an American lit presentation in the next five days!

Player 2: Don’t even start. I’ve got two 20-page papers, three presentations, and a biophysics lab report in the next two days. And I’m donating a kidney tomorrow.

My contribution to the game -- class presentations on 12/1 and 12/6, a paper on 12/5, a research proposal on 12/9, and exams thereafter. So much for tofurkey and football.

Though I’m not looking forward to T Day in Charlottesville, I can’t complain much. In the spirit of our Puritan antecedents, I find some pleasure in denying pleasure. “Don’t Even Start” probably originated on the Mayflower. Pilgrim 1 said something like, “Ohmigod...what if we don’t find land? I only have enough water to last five days, and I feel a case of scurvy coming on.” Pilgrim 2 responded, “Don’t even start. My water rations ran out yesterday, and Goody Proctor just gave me the mumps.”

Things could always be worse.

The exams and papers aren’t causing me much concern, anyhow. It’s the presentations that might ruin my holiday. I realize public speaking is no match for religious persecution, discomfort-wise. But at least the pilgrims knew exactly what to expect in England: marginalization, jail, flogging. Public speaking involves a few more “what ifs.” What if my PowerPoint slides vanish into the techo wilderness, leaving me alone at the podium? What if my voice goes shaky and sheeplike? What if my legs refuse to perform their standard, torso-supporting function?

Count me among the individuals who fear public speaking more than death. Death might involve humiliation, but, by definition, you don’t have to live with the shame.

The 12/1 presentation is for Social Stigma, and the professor has advised us to frame our schpiel as a “story.” “What you want to do is tell us a story about some part of the stigma literature,” she explained. If you’re in the mood for a “story” --that is, if you’re not playing “Don’t Even Start,” and you have time to comment on my presentation draft -- please email me. Most of you are writers (newsies) or teachers (past or present) or both, and I could sure use your critiques. In exchange, you’re welcome to share my doomsday shelter or organic pumpkin pie.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooh, I want to contribute to the don't even start game (even though I'm pretty sure you're sick of it). I have three papers, three presentations, three new people to train at work, three to certify, sixty five hours of work next week (including inventory at another store (a 7 a.m. to midnight day), Turkey shoppers (they are mean), just Thursday off, and black Friday (a 5 a.m. work morning until 4 p.m.)and the busiest shopping weekend of the year), and my master's thesis proposal to finish and comps questions prepared. I say do away with coffee, papers, end of the semesters, comps, proposals. And with the temperature change, I am more committed than ever to go live in my box on SoBe. -A

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oooh ive got an idea. if yor legs dont perform the function of holding you up. you could always put your head betwen them and blow really hard.

maybe you could try to feed children on a single mother's salary or work for minimum wage instead of college crises

boo fucking hoo

2:48 AM  
Blogger Jesseanna said...

I think you win, Amy.

anonymous, well...what can I say? It's too sunny outside to blow myself - I think I'll go for a walk.

Really, I'm fairly certain who "anonymous" is, and I'm saddened. Please don't hate.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't really win. i have an acquaintance with a new baby, a turkey day to throw, three papers/presentations, and an undergrad class she has to read and grade papers for plus a husband and a kid. sometimes it's just nice to feel sorry for yourself when you are stressed and at the end of your rope. next semester will hopefully be easier. i am writing my masters thesis (from arkansas, i think). when's mardi gras? -a

9:30 PM  
Blogger Jesseanna said...

Anyone with a spouse and/or child automatically wins "Don't Even Start." There's no competing with those sorts of responsibilities...

Appearances to the contrary, I was aiming more for wry humor than self-pity. Though self-pity does go well with the Southern Comfort I just purchased.

Brian and Kelly: "Steel Magnolias" will always be a favorite. Thanksgiving is a good occasion for ahhmadillo cake.

12:41 PM  
Blogger B said...

Hey Jesse, take a bite out of spam. Configure the comments of the site to require commenters to enter a verification word. That way the nasty web-bots can't advertise their crap.

Email me if you need me to describe how to do this.

-- Brian

10:59 AM  
Blogger maengy said...

hi jesseanne. i dont know you, but i like the game of "dont event start."

i remember the life of being a student and i hope to be back sometime soon, but in the grand scheme of things, nothing school related wins the game of "dont even start." so when you're staring at your computer screen trying to write fifteen 70 page papers, put together 12 presentations and grade three metric tons of papers, just look over at your bottle of SoCo, look out the window into the night sky and in a calm and composed manner, say "double farts" out loud. if you can do that without laughing to yourself, i'll eat my hat.

happy thanksgiving.

4:45 PM  
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