Thursday, August 28, 2008

War, drugs and llama fetuses.

Remember that job I forgot how to do? I'm not so worried about it anymore. That's because I've met Fred.

Fred is the professor I'm TAing for. We had arranged to meet at IC Square (or the snack bar, as he called it -- thank goodness I guessed right) after I had finished classes yesterday. I saw a man who resembled the picture I'd seen online and went up to introduce myself.

Fred seems to me to be a grizzled old war veteran, though I can't be sure that he's actually fought in a war. He's got this black Celtic-looking tattoo on his arm, not his forearm but the top part of that section of the arm. (Leave me alone -- I'm not a scientist or even remotely familiar with what various body parts are called.)

We start talking, and he asks me what classes I'm taking this semester. I tell him about the witchcraft class I'm taking. Ten seconds later the conversation turns to llama fetuses and how our experience with southest Asia are like witchcraft.


It didn't take me long to figure out that every conversation with Fred will somehow turn into one about war, usually Vietnam or Iraq. The kids in our class soon learned this too, I'm pretty sure.

The first class began today as a discussion (one-sided since the kids were probably frightened a bit) about the history of war and what we're willing to kill or die for. Then we went around the room and said what we needed to work with in writing. A nice flip there for you. The weird thing is, it all seemed to flow together very nicely. I don't quite understand it.

He said that most of what the students mentioned they'd like to work on were bad habits, like drinking or smoking: wordiness, bad grammar, run-on sentences. One girl said she was bad at avoiding run-on sentences. He asked her if she liked writing them; she was confused.

His explanation: "Well, most people who have habits do them because they like them. Why do heroin addicts shoot herion? Because it's fun! You ask a herion addict why they do it, they say it's fun, I get off on it, it makes me feel good. Not that I'm condoning drugs. You shouldn't do them. But that's why people do drugs. They enjoy them."

"Oh God, please don't do herion..." I mumble from my place a little behind the circle. A girl, Kelly, looks back at me and starts laughing, which most of the class is already doing anyway. A kind of uncomfortable laughter, but still, I guess it's better than silence.

So these are my first impressions of Fred. I'm not writing his last name because I don't really want him to somehow find this and read it, but whatever. I like him. He's out there, but I like him. At any rate, I think this shall prove to be an interesting semester.

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