Because Stupid Question Do In Fact Exist
So, yesterday morning, as I’m rising out from behind my desk, already two sentences along with starting the day’s lecture, I see a hand go up in the back of the room. A question in class, even before class formally began? Absent of any awkward gesturing and prompting on my part to the usually still half-asleep faces staring wearily up at me? Why, for a teacher what greater prove could there ever be that a heaven does indeed exist?
“Yes, what can I do for you?” I ask the prospectively inquisitive young man.
“Yeah,” he began before pausing.
“Yeah?” I parroted in suspense to what I hoped wasn’t going to be another restroom break interruption that morning. (I mean seriously people, at your age you should have enough foresight to know how much your bladder can hold prior to chugging down that liter of Pepsi right before class.) Fortunately, it didn’t turn out to be another late onset of the pandemic high school urination affliction. Unfortunately, it turned out to be this:
Student: “Okay. I know there is the 20th Century, right?”
Me: “I believe I’ve heard of it once or twice.”
Student: “Okay, so I don’t…um…what I don’t get is…you have the 1900s, and you have the 2000s. I know one of them is it.”
Me (blinking very slowly): “Is what?”
Student: “The 20th Century.”
Me: “It’s the 1900s.”
Me: “No. No, maybe. It’s not a subjective answer I’m giving you. The 1900s and the 20th Century are objectively, factually, irrefutably synonymous.”
Student: “Does that mean they’re the same thing?”
There are times when I’m honestly left amazed by the great insights and intellectual rigor demonstrated by my students (so much so that I’ll proudly praise it for months after the fact, and on the posts of this here blog). Then there are times when one of them will say something that leaves me wondering whether or not I’m the mark on one of those godawful hidden camera shows. For the sake of our collective future, I admit I was really hoping this case would turn out to be the latter. Alas, no such luck. And this painfully baffling exchange went on longer than I even want to admit. I can see now why the school won’t let us keep liquor in the teacher’s lounge fridge; it would be gone by the sound of the first bell.