Monday, 4 March 2013


Student # 934******
Name: My maiden one. I barely remember who that girl even is any more. It was right after I'd dumped my first fiance and before I met the man I'm married to now.
Class: Greek Mythology. Yes, you read that right, Greek Mythology. I was on my third major in a year and a half by then. I'd abandoned Art history because, after three years in college making art, sitting in a University classroom reading about centuries old art in textbooks was...let's go with dry. Yes. It was dry.  Actual history was more like the recitation of who won what war, and why the losers were so heinous they deserved to lose, and Greek Mythology was a part of Classical Studies. What this would be good for in life? About as much as that Fine Arts Degree from college, I expect. Which was why I was back in school trying to find myself a career.
Prof: A. Mc-I-have-tenure-and-I'm-eighty-and-I-don't-have-to-come-to-class-sober.
But I still admired this man in a weird sort of way. Because he didn't give a rat's ass what anyone thought. He  didn't follow anyone else's drum beat. He never apologized for telling off-colour jokes in the presence of the ladies, and happily extended debates over the advantages of Roman baths and Greek apprenticeships into the pub after class. He wasn't a melancholy drunk. In fact, he was an exuberant one. The world opened up when he had a tipple, and anything was possible. Kids in university these days need to hope that anything is possible. Hell, kids in university *mumblemumble* years ago, when I was there, needed that kind of light shining into the darkness of the potential job market.
A- *me* is doomed to be a world famous best selling writer. Go in Peace.
Title: An Affirmation
Assignment: Hell, you know what? I have no idea any more what the assignment actually was. None at all. But I still have the paper I handed in because what I do remember was that it was a 5000 word essay, worth 30% of our final mark. What did I do for that last, most important essay of the year? I wrote a short story set in...well, actually, I'm not sure. Some fantasy kingdom somewhere about a guy sitting in his study trying to think up a name for his new baby girl.

Did I learn much about Greek and Roman  mythology from that professor? Probably not any more than I later researched on my own when I read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Did he mean to teach me that I was better off thinking outside the box and marching to my own drum? Possibly. Did he predict my future? The "writer" part he got right, though I had no idea at the time I was willing to actually let another soul read the stories I wrote that really mattered to me and I might have been reeling a bit from the realization that I was not cut out to be an artist. I'm still crossing my fingers on the "world famous"  and "best selling" parts. Was he drunk when he marked this? Who cares? I passed the course and I learned a valuable lesson. I think it was about taking risks and following my heart, but it could also have been about knowing when and where to make the most of what I do best.

It's entirely possible this story sucks rocks and the only reason he passed me was because I had the balls to completely snub the assignment and do what I truly wanted to do. I'll never know. I wasn't supposed to get the paper back at all, but he mailed it to me and it arrived during summer break. He retired that year and I never saw him again.

I keep that paper on the wall beside my writing desk, though. It's my affirmation that even before I understood myself, the self I am meant to be was forming and growing, and eventually, I'd have the guts to step up and be that person. Most days :D


Valerie Mann said...

Who knew how prophetic Professor Mc'I'm-too-Drunk-to-Teach-This-Whiny-Herd-of-Students, could actually be? Wait, that wasn't his name. But he sounds like an amazing instructor anyway, one who actually got through to his students!I'll bet he's not the least bit surprised at where you are now (watching you from his lofty cloud somewhere!)

Anthology Authors said...

I think he was encouraging you. He saw your potential and didn't want you stuck like he was (if he was stuck at all.)

Sounds like a great teacher. More entertaining than some I had. I had one first thing in the morning that literally put all of his students to sleep. LOL

Jaime Samms said...

Val, Marci, I think he might have been encouraging me. if not to become a writer, at least to continue to be brave enough to flout the establishment in my own small way. He was a lot of fun, and despite his often soused state, I think he had that job for so long partly because he did reach students in his own way. he was good at it.

Faith said...

I had a professor like that. He was a Catholic priest, so he never came to class drunk but he did tell dirty jokes and cussed, lol. He was awesome.

Jaime Samms said...

Faith I went through five majors in two and half years at university. Yes, I know, I was a bit of a lost soul, and I never did finish any of them. But the fact is, I also went through a lot of professors. I do't even remember most of them, so whatever else prof. Mc-drunky-pants did, he made an impression.