Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Humor Break: Sex Education

Pride of the Professors
(Image from Wikipedia)

About 20 years ago, I was working as a Teaching Assistant in U.C. Berkeley's History Department while studying there for my doctoral degree.

That degree, as readers have likely figured out, took a somewhat circuitous path that led me through the thicket of theology, the gradgrind of Greek, the harrowing of Hebrew, and the cornucopia of Coptic.

Speaking of Coptic, I learned it under Berkeley's David Larkin, of the Near Eastern Studies Department, and I've just seen, via Jim Davila's Paleojudaica, that Egypt's Daily Star ("Coptic language's last survivors," by Joseph Mayton, October 24, 2006) has reported that Coptic is now spoken by only a couple of families in Egypt and is thus in danger of utterly dying out as an oral language. Sad to hear that, but I'm surprised to learn that it's still spoken at all. I recall Bentley Layton's Coptic Grammar suggesting that spoken Coptic had probably died out in the 15th century.

But this report on Coptic has gotten me rather off-track ... a bit like my, um, career.

Anyway ... as I was saying, back in my Berkeley days, I worked as a TA for the History Department, usually teaching history-of-science sections in conjunction with a survey lecture by one of the professors.

One semester, I was working with another TA, Jonna Van Zanten (now married to a friend of mine, the historian Walter McDougall), and we talked a lot about our lackadaisical students and their ingenious ways of avoiding real effort.

Sometimes, energy expended by students in avoiding work seemed, to Jonna and me, to involve even more effort than actual studying would have.

"One of my friends is an undergraduate in a different department," Jonna said, "and he told me about a girl he knows who was complaining about having a difficult semester."

"So Berkeley is hard," I replied. "The students should just get used to the high expectations."

"Uh..." Jonna hesitated, "this is a bit different."

"Different how?" I asked.

"Well..." Jonna, still hesitating, considered her words. "Okay, I'll tell you. The girl told my friend, 'This is a really hard semester because I'm sleeping with four of my professors.'"

That shocked me. I guess that I'm rather naive, but FOUR fricking professors?

"Four," I said.

"Four," Jonna confirmed.

"Hmmm..." I mused, recovering my irony with a smile. "Four of them, you say. Well, I wonder who's getting the raw end of that deal."



At 10:03 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

At Berkeley, they don't screw around when it comes to screwing around.

Bunch of overachievers...

"Berkeley is hard" indeed

At 3:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Maybe not, Kevin, but they sure gotta screw loose.

Jeffery Hodges

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