Tag Archives: war

34 ways to express cowardice when confronted with a difficult test

The end of the summer portion of the CASA program is near and we are currently in what might be called finals week. Normally, final tests have some relation to the material presented throughout the course of study, measuring the cumulative progress of the pupil. In the case of the tests of Professor Harb, however, the test has no purpose aside from inspiring fear and hopelessness among her students. Let the incontinent student beware:  you might need a fresh pair of pants after glancing through the exercises on the test and realizing no amount of studying would have saved you from the ensuing humiliation.

In other words, Professor Harb’s test was difficult. After finishing the 2 hr and 15 minute long affair, I rose from my seat and limped to her desk to turn in the test, my left foot having fallen asleep while my brain was being crushed by the Arabic language. Cackling at my pain, she says, “What, you can’t even walk?” I whimper, “The test was hard….” She gets up from her chair, walks around the side of the desk, slaps me across the face, and says, “Shame on you. The test was not hard.” I made up that last portion, but she might as well have slapped me. With the one exception of the entrance exam for CASA itself, this was the hardest Arabic test that I have faced in my life, but it is over now and there is nothing left to do in Prof. Harb’s class except for doodle and drool during the 2 hours I have with her tomorrow.

But in all honesty, Prof. Harb is great and she’s probably one of the best professors in the program and I’m happy to be in her class because I learn things and she loves teaching. She considers us her children and I consider her a non-hostile life form, so it’s not like I’m unhappy in the class. But the test was hard, so here are possible routes of action I thought for the future (read: fall) when faced with a similarly difficult test.

1. Stealthily climb out the window and down the side of the building.

2. Jump out the window and end it all.

3. Jump out the window and onto the pergola 20 meters from the side of the building. Climb down the pergola to safety.

4. Hide behind a curtain.

5. Hide under your desk.

6. Hide under someone else’s desk.

7. Hide under professor’s desk.

8. Go to the bathroom for the entire class period.

9. Hide behind the projection screen and hope she doesn’t see your feet.

10. Camouflage yourself by putting the wastebasket on your head.

11. Plead insanity.

12. Plead stupidity.

13. Sit for a while and try to take the test, then pretend to realize you’re from a different class and don’t belong amongst the test takers.

14. Pretend you’re someone else and only look like the student who was supposed to take the test.

15. Kill the professor.

16. Kill the other students, then the professor.

17. Kill yourself, then the other students, then the professor.

18. Close your eyes and hope it all goes away.

19. Close your eyes, lift your hands towards heaven, and offer the test as a sacrifice to God, pleading for Him to consume it with an all consuming fire.

20. Set the test on fire yourself, claim your classmate did it, then run out of the room screaming.

21. Make a paper airplane out of the test and then set it on fire.

22. Eat the test instead of taking it, claiming to have misunderstood the exercise.

23. Return the test to the teacher with a spit mark on it saying you found it insultingly simple.

24. Report the test as an incident of abuse.

25. Report the test as an act of terrorism that inspired fear in the heart of an American.

26. Use the test as a diary to talk about your feelings and hope that’s good enough.

27. Explain that you never actually learned how to read.

28. Hide the test and say you lost it. Repeat as needed.

29. Sprinkle soil and grass seeds on the test, moisten with water, plant in the earth and watch it grow the answers. Harvest answers and turn in the test.

30. Vomit on the test. Repeat as needed.

31. Say you appreciate the offer but you really couldn’t take a test today. Make sure you’re sincere.

32. Claim a religious reason: Arabic tests are considered an abomination on the 20th of every month according to Leviticus.

33. Try bargaining with the test; talk it down from its level of difficulty.

34. Stir up philosophical questioning amongst the students, aiming for a mass walkout: “What’s the point of all this anyways? In a few billion years when the sun blows up and the earth becomes a potato chip, who will care how we did on a stupid Arabic test?

35. Take an aspirin and then take the test. Obtain a tissue for the ensuing nosebleed. Schedule an MRI to make sure everything is still okay up there afterwards.

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There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother

It is a mosquito.

An entire day passes in my apartment and I see no Cairo wildlife, i.e. insects of various sorts, dogs, cats,

This is the enemy

weasels, or small badgers, but as soon as the hour approaches when I consider beginning the long nap I take at night, my old enemy confronts me once again. Indeed, as soon as the very thought ekes its way through the fabric of my mind, I hear the familiar high pitched whine that signals the presence of a creature desiring to partake of my flesh.

Nothing could be more dangerous than this foe. Left unattended, I am faced with the frightening reality of awaking in the morning to as many as five or six bites upon my feet, face, and claws. That is a reality I do not wish to experience.

And yet, night after night, the dastardly devil proves nearly impossible to kill. I have only successfully killed one mosquito in my time here. In that case, the little lady had feasted too heartily on the blood of yours truly. Slowed down by the weight, she could not avoid my slowly approaching, slightly moist palm which after the fact was graced with a bright smear of body fluid complemented by mosquito appendages. Of course I ingested it, making my revenge complete.

The war continues, however, another thirsty female eagerly filling the last one’s place. How does it hover so slowly and closely to my ear and spring away with the precision of a gazelle when I go to slap it? What mad science is this that the mosquito is perfectly adapted to inflict both physical and mental pain in its victims? Why do I leave my windows open and breed mosquitoes under my bed?

The only solution is continual wakefulness until every mosquito is gone. A disguise must be sequestered. I have work to do.

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