Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Classics

College. I'm sitting in a class room listening to some guy hitting on on a girl. I feel like a whore. I've just changed from liberal arts to business, so I can avoid taking a Spanish class.  I'm in an economics class; my teacher, who isn't here yet, hates us. I can tell by the way he seems to throw up a little in his mouth each time one of us asks a question. And from the questions we ask, I don't blame him.

The guy actually leans his butt on the girl's desk. Smarmy. He picks up one of the books she has there, F. Scott Fitzgerald. He flips through the pages, nodding his head. "Reading the classics?" he asks her. It's the sort of voice that comes out of an infomercial at three A.M.; it's the sort of voice that makes parents stand outside a child's bedroom at night discussing the moral implications of going in there and trying to smothering their young. 

"Yeah," he says, handing her back the book. "I've read all the classics."

This is when it snaps. I stand, eyes wild, and confront this stranger. "You've read all the classics? You've read ALL the classics???!!!!!! How was Joyce's 'Ulysseus'? A good read? Did you like 'Farewell to Arms?' I understand he wrote a sequel called 'Hello, the Feet'.  Did you enjoy Sandburg's work on Lincoln? What about Pynchon? There's a fun fellow, eh?"

The whole class is staring at me.

"He's read all the classics."

Over my shoulder I call out. "What an ass." 

I immediately head out to drop Economics and to return to my double majors of English Literature and History (yeah, I probably should have gone into Law instead, or maybe something more marketable like...anything).

I passed Spanish, by the way. 


Charles Gramlich said...

There's more than 2 or three classics? Who knew? Oh, I guess English majors know that sort of stuff. ;)

Akasha Savage said...

How your blog brought a smile to my face - I admire your self control - I think I would have throttled the guy! I am forty-six years old and have been reading my way steadily through the classics for at least the last twenty years, my worst fear is I won't be able to read all the classics I want to, before I die!!
Does that make me a sad person?

Stewart Sternberg said...

There are actually six classics. There were nine, but three were disaqualified I think it had to do with the wall coming down and all that eastern european stuff.

I am going to be posting about classics soon, a long post and hopefully a thoughtful one about the nature of classics and their role in literature.

Avery DeBow said...

Classics? Oh. You mean stuff that was written last year. I got ya. Yeah, I've read all them, too.

Kate S said...

"Hello, the Feet"?!

Brilliant :)

Sidney said...

I've read all the classics, but I use the term loosely. When I say all I mean, uh, some. It's kind of like not being a strict vegetarian, I guess.

Angie said...

LOL! Did all the women in that class applaud? I sure would've. :D


Virginia Lady said...

Spanish is always a handy skill to have. Congrats on passing. Of course, you're likely to run into the dweeb elsewhere anyway.

Lana Gramlich said...

Ay caramba!

Donnetta Lee said...

Good for you, Stewart! I'm sure you were the voice of many. One might say that your performance was...well...classic! D