Monday, November 19, 2007

Pssssst...did you hear???

Normally I don't blog about my fellow Hofstra Law students, but the time has come to make an exception.

I am currently sitting in the law school lounge with my headphones in my ears, listening to sound from my computer while I prepare for Con Law, eating my lunch, etc. I am basically not paying attention to anyone around me, but just overheard the following exchange between two 3rd-years on a nearby couch:

Red Vest (I'll call her 'RV'): … [something about registering for Real Estate Transactions class]
Turtleneck (I'll call her 'TN'): “I’m not taking Real Estate. I refuse to take Silverman.”
RV: “Why, what’s wrong with him?” [note: RV is probably the only person in the school who doesn’t already know the answer to this question]
TN: “Oh my god, he’s the WORST professor in the whole school.”
RV: “Why? He’s mean, he can’t teach, what?”
TN: “He’s an asshole.” [which is a fair assessment, but…]
RV: “Really?”
TN: “Remember that girl who died last year?”
RV: “The first-year?”
TN: “Yeah. Well, she obviously hadn’t been there for a couple days, right? SO he calls on her, right, and he’s like, ‘Where is she? Why hasn’t she been here?’ and stuff, and finally someone goes, ‘Um, professor, she just passed’ and he’s like ‘What do you mean she passed?’ and they’re like, ‘She died’ and then he’s all, 'Oh, I did get a memo…’ and then on the break everyone was complaining but he refused to apologize, and so many people complained that now he’s on that forced, um, what’s it called – forced – you know, what Schepard’s doing?”
RV: “Sabbatical?”
TN: “Yeah, forced sabbatical. Everyone was so mad.”
RV: “Wow.”
TN: “Yeah, plus he talks like a robot...”

Great story, right? Except, guess what, that’s not what happened. I was actually IN that class. (Property. Spring 2007. Ugh.) So what REALLY happened is that he never called on anyone out of the blue; rather, he always had the attendance sheet from the previous class and called on the people who’d been absent (unless they had an excused absence with him because they had wisdom teeth surgery or something) which is actually probably a great tactic and it worked for me because I never missed class, so I never got called on, so it didn't matter that I never did the reading or paid attention to him. Anyway, it’s a big class of 120+ and it was early in the semester and probably no teachers knew anyone's name, not just him. So,then he did call on Heather Scott. And everyone got eerily, uncomfortably silent. Even the clackity-clacking grasshoppers were silenced. But that’s all that he said. He didn’t ask anything about her, or where she’d been, or chastise her. Within a few (painful) seconds someone said, “She passed away.” And he instantly said, “Oh my. Oh how clumsy of me. I do apologize. Yes, I did get an e-mail about that.” And he was subdued for a second and then he carried on with class.

Of course it's a great "can you believe it!" story; I recall telling it to Brian that night at McCann's while we played trivia. It was pretty messed up – and I still talk about it with my friends from that class, sometimes. But I always point out that frankly, that was the ONE day I saw him break character, and stop his ridiculous monologue that he’s been delivering on auto-pilot for 30 years. We did glimpse his humanity for a brief moment, even if it was the dark side of humanity. I love how the rumor mill tells it differently. I’m so curious where this girl got her story. And what's even better than the number of altered facts and added bits is how she just nonchalantly launched into it as if she had actually witnessed it.

For me, Silverman was kind of like going to BYU, or looking for a food you're craving in Cuba, or teaching in a Korean hagwon, or any number of other grueling but bizarrely inspiring experiences we undergo in life: there’s really no need to exaggerate and embellish the stories, because living through the reality is unsettling enough. You’d know that if you were there.

1 comment:

Saradevil said...

But embellished reality is always so much more fun.

Like this one time, in Korea, there was this hot chick, and without fail anytime I went to the bathroom she would take off her shirt and parade around naked and even convince others to join her. But they like, they like, posted a spotter, or something so that whenever I came back down to the bar they were always dressed again and I would just hear about what I missed.