Thursday, May 11, 2006

Smoke Gets in My Eyes. Which Helps.

For a long time -- decades if you are into geological time -- I smoked pipes and an occasional cigar. I smoked to keep my hands busy, one of those admissions that can substitute for a joke among those of low wit. (People of low wit are the wallpaper of my life. No brag, just fact.) I smoked because, even with pipes and cigars and no inhaling, it is mildly addictive. And then I quit smoking for five years or so for health reasons.

Then, Lawdy, I started up again ina small way because I am getting older and my nerves aren't what they were , and *it is so damn hard to grade at the end of the semester* without a bit of aerosol tar rolling around inside my mouth. I crave a mild buzz when I grade because -- here are the two ways you can look at it -- either my students are terrible or I am terrible as a teacher.

Now you could curl up for most of the next ice age under that blanket statement, but anyone who has ever taught any sort of writing course knows the feeling. Some students just can't make sense. It is not clear what they had in mind. Let's step back: You hesitate to posit a mind. And you did try you called them in for conferences and gave them checklists and did everything but suggest their smart friends do a ruthless and extensive final edit.

In fact, that is what you suggested, hoping that their smart friend would not shrug, cough and just write the damn thing for them. You thought you knew how to teach them to get better, but it did not get done, if I may retreat into the passive sense and thus shed blame.

I don't like to grade, and a nice cigar eases the pain, so last week I ordered up a bundle of Don Diego shorts, having bid for them at the JR Cigar cigar online cigar auction. Look here from the JR Cigar website.


DON DIEGO - BABIES
$40.75
$40.75
$40.75
18

Successful bid was $40.75, and there were 18 bids. Look how I fought it out with mapmaker.


Bidder
Bid Amount
Date of Bid
1.
soylentgray
$ 40.75
05/05/06 - 07:38:17 PM EST
2.
mapmaker
$ 40.50
05/05/06 - 07:37:18 PM EST
3.
soylentgray
$ 40.25
05/05/06 - 07:36:38 PM EST
4.
mcostigan
$ 40.00
05/05/06 - 07:35:52 PM EST
5.
mapmaker
$ 39.75
05/05/06 - 07:35:52 PM EST
6.
mcostigan
$ 38.00
05/05/06 - 07:35:45 PM EST
7.
soylentgray
$ 37.75
05/05/06 - 07:35:45 PM EST
8.
mcostigan
$ 37.50
05/05/06 - 07:17:46 PM EST
9.
mapmaker
$ 37.25
05/05/06 - 07:17:46 PM EST
10.
mapmaker
$ 35.00
05/05/06 - 05:12:53 PM EST

Place Your Bid
Thank you for participating in our auction. This auction has ended and was won by soylentgray.

I could have bought the damn cigars straight up for $45, but -- as the fisher kills the fish and the hunter kills the blameless bird, squirrel or Texas corporate lawyer -- so much satisfaction in the process. And now I have written about it and filled up a fraction of the time I must spend waiting for the cigars to arrive so that I can finally....

Grade.

Ugh.

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