Friday, September 4, 2009

What Ben Said and Holly's First Day of School

Last night, John and I were appalled when we heard Benjamin call his younger brother a penis-head.

“Daniel, you’re a penis-head!” And then he laughed diabolically.

John and I convened secretly in the kitchen where we discussed how it was that Ben learned such a word.

“I swear he didn’t hear it from me,” John said, with an accusatory tone, I thought. Because that’s the kind of person I am: a person who uses vulgarities like penis-head. In fact, just this past Tuesday, a woman cut in front of me in the Wegmans parking lot and stole my prospective parking space. So I backed my mini-van up behind her, got out of the car and called her a penis-head while waving my fist. Then I stalked her in Wegmans and threw a ham at her head.

(It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I could even SAY the word penis without turning three shades of red. So, no, Ben didn’t get it from me either. I’m pretty sure he came up with this on his own; it’s a brilliant manifestation of his burgeoning, crass, MALE sense of humor.)

I don’t understand the male sense of humor. But I am continuously subjected to it. This past Wednesday was my first day of school. Graduate school. I have been an off again on again graduate student for the past eight years. This is my last class. I was actually done with all of my course-work, with only a thesis to finish, but then I ended up getting myself de-matriculated. In order to get myself re-matriculated, I had to consent to taking nine credit hours. A thesis can only eat up six credit-hours. And that’s how SUNY Brockport got another $1200.00 out of me and why on Wednesday nights, I sit with a bunch of college-aged creative writing students discussing the merits of the film “Being John Malkovich” in the Writer’s Craft course.

The course is a swing-course, which is not as exciting as it sounds and has nothing at all to do with dancing. It is a class that combines graduate students (I think there are 8 of us) with undergraduate students (I think there are 25 of them. Though it feels like 50.) This meant that before the class began, I inadvertently listened to three pimply-faced male twenty-year olds crack up over their mutual friend Sergei’s irritable bowel syndrome.

Poor Sergei.

Poor Holly. Not that I feel old. (There is nothing more annoying than a woman in her early thirties complaining that the kids she babysat for are now getting married and she feels so old!) But I feel beyond this.

When I took my last course, I had just recently given birth to Ben. I drove to the university in my Geo Prism. Wednesday night, I found it significantly harder to parallel park my mini-van on the crowded side-street, and ended up parking very far away and walking a good ten minutes to get to the campus. (Darn you, mini-van! You large, boat-like, totally uncool car! And no… I am not suggesting my Geo Prism was a cool car. It maneuvered a lot easier, however.)

I got home Wednesday night to find my husband and my sister eating Pontillo’s pizza at the table. I told them about my class, how it was full of insipid college students who all believe they are the next John Updike, and how there were even two women in the class over forty; these are students who are referred to as “lifetime learners.”

“Like you?” Joyce asked.


And then John said that lots of people go to school for eight years. We call them “neurosurgeouns.”

And now you know what I’m facing on a day-to-day basis. Let the sympathy pour in, please.


btobey said...

Hey, good luck with your class!

Sassypants said...

I went to school for 7 years total! I always joke that I could have been a doctor or something :)

Good luck with your class I hated the whole thesis thing I find it mildly useless. You liek to write though LOL so maybe you will enjoy that aspect!!! ;)

Janet said...

I don't understand the male sense of humor either! I hope Ben didn't get that name from one of my boys!

Holly said...

Thanks for the luck. If you add college to the mix, I've been a student (with significant breakage) for TWELVE YEARS. And I hadn't thought of it, but no, Janet. I think your boys are beyond calling one another penis-head. I sincerely hope they are, anyway.

Veronica Lee said...

Hi! I'm visiting from MBC. Great blog.