A Farewell to Patience

Punch Bowl columnist Mike Coyne takes us inside of the mind of a college student who just can’t take that one kid in class anymore.

Goodness me, this is like the seventh time you’re raising your hand today. Listen, I’ve seen your hand go up to answer more times than my mom’s during an episode of Jeopardy…she really doesn’t get that show, does she? 

We get it, you finished this week’s readings. Congratulations on planning your time efficiently and being conscientious, I’m sure your GPA is awesome, gag me with a spoon. *Internal high five for Clueless reference.* Oh but you can’t just give a sentence-long answer, no, you’ve got to hold a goddamn filibuster about LA as a postmodern city. No one wants to hear your personal treatise about this! You look foolish, you child. It’s fitting that this recitation is in the basement of Williams because it’s the closest thing on campus to what I imagine hell to be like.

Can you not see that no matter how hard our T.A. tries to respond to you, not even she can continue to pretend to be genuinely excited by your eagerness right now. She’s in phase three of “done with you,” aka shark eyes.

Finally — you seem to be wrapping up. Thank you for letting our T.A. finish, Kanye. Oh never mind, you’re going to try and riff with her like you’re equals. The rest of us serfs will just listen to you, my liege. Ugh, I can’t stand this. You don’t know her! I probably know our T.A. better! Now that may or may not be because I was in line behind her in Frogro and know that she likes red peppers, 1% milk, and purchases gym shorts at grocery stores, but that’s not the point!

I feel like you, specifically, will be the reason for my demise. It’s not going to be any bad choices on my part, no, my brain is just going to pull an ego-death on itself – no ketamine involved! It’s just going to be like, “I don’t want your conscious self to have to deal with this anymore, I’m sorry, goodbye.” Just like when they shut down Katey Segal in Smart House I’m just going to go away, replaced by a blank spirit that has assumed my body.

Should I be concerned that I’m spending this much psychic energy mentally tearing you apart in the style of Virginia Woolf? Probably. BUT I CAN’T HELP IT! You need a room of your own that locks from the outside, because much like my grandparents in a nuanced discussion of progressive politics, nobody asked for your input! Oh, but you’ll make us hear it. You’re going to force us to sit and nod pleasantly while you talk and talk and talk. You’re clearly willing to spend days making us hear your interpretation of the readings despite the fact that it makes me as uncomfortable and angry as my grandparent’s talking about race relations.

Are you scared of silence? That’s about the only reason I can conceive of that could logically explain the number of words that you say. Or are you scared you’re going to forget how to speak, maybe? Do we need to hold an intervention? I’ll call TLC. Wait, actually, is this about the participation portion of the grade? You know that you only have to talk once per class tops to get 20% of your grade taken care of, right? OH, okay! I get it now, you’re a freshman…nope you’ve got a Class of 2016 t-shirt on. Wtf. Is my life a Kafka novel? Am I being tested? Is this some sort of perverse “What Would You Do?” situation? Get out here John Quiñones and we will settle this now, trial by combat! Thunderdome!

~15 minutes later~

I CANNOT ANYMORE — I CAN’T! Please just stop! I can feel the darkness coming on! The voices are telling me it’s time to go to sleep, DEAR LORD NO, IT’S NOT MY TIME. This isn’t how this is supposed to end! I’m supposed to pass away quietly at home in my sleep in my late 80s! The voices are getting louder now!

“Goodbye Michael. But do remember that this is all for your own good.”

But, I’ve got so much left to give!

“Do you? Your first two Punch Bowl columns were subpar at best.”

I can get better, though!

“Questionable.”

Goodbye, cruel world!

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