03/26/02 - 13:31:52
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RED MARKS ATTACK CALIFORNIA STUDENTS:|
S.F. State Univ., circa 1984...
...Where one Professor Zimmerman, an absolutely amazing lecturer on 19th & 20th Century American Lit, totally skewered my brilliant 20 page term paper on The Sun Also Rises/The Great Gatsby. Red marks everywhere, and a C-. Honestly, I was expecting an "A." I was crushed.
But I'll always be grateful for it. I'd breezed through my first 2 years at California's FREE community college system in the 1970s, essentially bullshitting my way through easy courses with absurdly loose academic standards. Because I could write halfway decently, I compensated for the absence of research. I was so used to knockin' out term papers in one or two nights and acing them, I figured I could get away with it forever. The rest of those first two college years, I think the only thing I learned was how to unwrap a Thai stick.
Jump ahead about 6 years--after goofing off California style (FYWDWX3), I finally decided to finish college. And Professor Zimmerman, bless his pointed little head, had the dignity and class to say, with those cruel red marginal notes, "Kid, grow up, this is REAL college, start acting like it."
Shook my world. Prof. Z. took his work seriously, unlike so many English teachers who hate their jobs and don't give a shit about their students. This guy's eyes sparkled when he talked. He really inspired a love of literature that remains with me to this day.
About a year later, I took another class with Prof. Z--in which I ACED a 25 pager comparing Moby Dick to William James' "Varieties of Religious Experience."
Live and learn. Still trying.....
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