Thursday, July 29, 2010

A mass of incandescent gas, a giant nuclear furnace

I gave an exam this week. I usually make them a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions. The problem with that is that I then have to grade the short answer questions. It's not bad when I'm grading the good students' exams. Or the really bad students who just leave everything blank (it's quite easy to write a big X and a zero on the page). But the students who haven't studied AND write a lot? Sometimes they make me want to jam ice picks into my temple.

For example, one of the short answer questions asked them to list three adaptations that birds have for flight. Simple enough right? After all, pretty much any four year old who has ever seen a bird could get two of the three: feathers and wings. Sadly, that would be one or two more than some of my students got. One answer said this: wings are involved, and the fight or flight response allowed them to evolve flight. Okay, fine, you get one out of three, but the fight or flight response? Really? Especially when the example I used is what might happen to you physiologically if you almost stepped on a rattlesnake? Because that's happened to me plenty of times, and I've never taken to the air.

(In contrast, some of the incorrect answers make me laugh. For example, I also asked them what a circadian rhythm was. One student put that it had something to do with funky beats. Awesome. Still no points, but awesome.)

Luckily, as the instructor, I have the power to make the TAs help me grade. So I did. Usually bribery with pizza does the trick, but this time we were grading a little later, and one of the TAs had a migraine, so I excused her from the additional pain of reading. I told the other TA that I'd buy dinner after we finished. She saved me about three hours worth of time, so it was well worth it from my end.

We went to dinner, had a very good meal, but the story that I really want to tell occurred right after. We had agreed to meet some other friends for pub trivia that night, so we both figured it'd be good to visit the restrooms (that were clean) before going to the pub.

While I was in the bathroom, I heard a couple of little kids talking to each other from separate stalls. Brothers I assume. One of them called the other one to help him with something (buttoning his pants, I think - neither of them could've been older than five) as I was walking to the sink to wash my hands. Thinking the coast was clear, I felt the need to pass some gas while I was washing my hands. So I did. Unfortunately for one of the little kids, he'd chosen that exact time to walk directly behind me (unbeknownst to me until after I farted directly on his head).

I saw him in the mirror as his reflection emerged from its hiding place directly behind mine not two seconds after the deadly gas blasted him. The look on his face just said, "Why would you do that to me? WHY?"

Sorry kid.

But it could've been worse. I could've sharted.

9 comments:

Amber said...

oh I shouldn't admit this but one time on vacation when we were both teenagers Keira and I had a fart contest in a Grandy's bathroom ;>

Inklings said...

Your dad and I laughed until we almost cried when we read this. Oh yeah...and you got it from him. :0)

Lillie McSmith said...

Oh my god, I just died at this. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH

Native Minnow said...

You see parents? This is why you don't send your children to public restrooms unsupervised. They get farted on.

Boxer said...

"sharted" oh dear God.

Heff said...

"Timing is EVERYTHING."

2 Dollar Productions said...

You couldn't have planned that better Minnow. Ha. And I thought the concert story a few posts down was funny.

As for your grading, you should tell students that you will penalize them for writing lengthy dissertations (sp?) on questions they know nothing about. Seriously.

And do you like Band of Horses? I've read good things about them . . .

vivalacrap said...

I think "funky beats" should have gotten half credit.

mindy said...

hahahahaha!! Oh my, poor unsuspecting little boy!