Tuesday, January 30, 2007
LSE - IV: Classroom Humor
There are things, which happen rarely to people (or) things that people rarely do. The reason I am, who I am, is because I do those rare things consistently.
I am taking an Accounting course called Corporate Financial Reporting. In case you are not aware of what this means, understand that Accounting is a painful, detail-oriented subject that demands a lot of patience fom its practitioner - much similar to those signal processing courses (which involved case sensitive things like f(x) and F(x) ). There was a homework due in class yesterday and I did my due diligence and asked people how long it had taken them to do this homework. 1 hour was the most popular estimate. So I got up at 8AM for the 10:20 class, finished the homework exactly at 10:10 and rushed to class. On the way to class, I stopped momentarily to take a print out - expecting the worst - but thank god - the printer gods were sleeping, so I managed to sneak out a printout.
There is that feeling that you sometimes get - when you enter the class. It screams that something is wrong. When I opened the door to my class room, I got that feeling. Its nothing specific. Its the whole molecular structure of the class. A combination of million things that combine to tell you that something is wrong. I was late by 10 minutes - so with class door half-open, I noticed the professor was a different guy and I didn't recognize most students. So I closed the door and stepped back out of the class. Confused. Was this the wrong room? How can it be? I distinctly remembered walking in here last week. So I logged in, went to the course registration page and saw the location for this class. Double checked that with where I was. Correct location. "maybe its a guest lecturer today" - my mind began to wonder. "how can this be the wrong class. you have been coming here for 3 weeks" - my mind began to push me. So I took a deep breath and walked into the class. The students gave me a confused look, probably thinking "why is he here again" . I went to the last row and sat down. But that nasty feeling didn't leave me. I was uncomfortable. Slowly my mind cleared and the professors words began to trickle down my ear and into, what was left of, my damaged brain. Have you experienced, what those psychologists call as 'the moment of clarity'? If not, experience it. I highly recommend it. The lecture didn't sound like Accounting. It was boring but definitely not Accounting-boring. Then I saw a guy, who I thought was a first year. I began to realize that I, after all, may be as think as I drunk I am not. So I slowly opened the laptop and checked what I should have checked 3 minutes ago.
Well. It turned out my class began in this room at 12:40PM. And I had been coming for the 12:40 class for 3 weeks. So now I had a choice. Leave immediately and risk being embarrassed. Or sit in this lecture for 2 hours. It was tense. Such decisions aren't made by ordinary men. It requires careful thought, skill and experience gained as a result of - years of avoiding embarrassment. Every second I thought, I felt heads turning in my direction. They must be wondering. Then I decided, I just couldn't sit in this lecture. I'd rather be embarrassed than sit through an unnecessary lecture. So I picked up my laptop and began my walk towards the door. For the first few steps, I heard nothing, I began to relax. The next second I heard something that chilled my bones. Laughter. A couple of people started laughing. I quickened my pace. More people started laughing. In that haze and confusion, this strange thing called 'intelligent thought' suddenly decided to make an appearance inside my head only to alert me to the fact that the professor had stopped the lecture. My only objective was to somehow reach that exit door and leave. My worst nightmares were coming true. I distinctly had a feeling, that the Prof was staring at me now. By the time, my hand touched the door knob, the entire class was laughing. I didn't have anything funny to say. No quip that would absolve me or lighten the situation. I just turned back, gave a big smile and ran out of the class like a man possessed. I had walked into a first-year Operations class.
I rushed into the actual class 10 minutes late. The incident was behind me. I had jabbed myself hard, repeatedly, to wipe the silly smile off my face. I was a serious student now. Only for so long though. The professor put his slide out and said "so lets review today's homework" and that cold feeling crept back up my spine. I had done the wrong set of homework problems.