Friday, March 14, 2008

Have a good "day"

When I was an RA in college, the secretary of my dorm, Mary, was the sweetest elderly woman ever put upon the earth. She had not been raised in the era of computers, but since she had one at work, she loved it. She would type up every single message, no matter how short, and print it out for us. The best part about her notes, however, was her manner of emphasizing certain words with no discernible pattern. Mary liked to underline or bold or put in quotation marks random words, and it was the daily game of the RAs to read aloud her notes and collapse in the floor in laughter at their altered meanings.

For example, one day this note was put up next to the RA mailboxes:
I put brownies in the kitchen -- "enjoy"

Of course, our immediate response was to assume the brownies were poisoned or laced with chocolate laxatives. What else could be the meaning behind the ominous "enjoy"?

Another day, we saw:
RAs, many pedestrians don't LOOK before crossing the street in front of the staff lot. Please be "careful" when driving out.

Is it just me, or was she subtly asking us to run down the pedestrians so they wouldn't just walk in front of her car without LOOKing anymore?

Anyway, the reason I bring this up (besides the fact that it makes me laugh when I look back on it) is because I now have a professor who loves to put quotation marks around random words, just like Mary did. At first I thought he was just putting quotes around terms of art (like "reasonable care", which is a legal standard), but now I think he suffers from the same quotes-happy disease Mary did. Take, for example, this last email he sent my small group after we submitted our weekly assignment:

"This is terrific work, Group. You should be very proud of the time and effort so clearly displayed in this Assignment which "tops," I think, any prior Week's Assignment. Congrats on a job very well done indeed. You have grappled with the "core issues," in a way which fairly replicates the "real world" negotiation on which the Hypo is based. In other words, you are ready to be "welcomed into the legal dept." to prepare First Draft Agreements!
Congrats on "making the grade," and challenging each other to "raise the bar" each week.
I look forward to seeing you in Class tomorrow."

As soon as I read that I thought of Mary and the brownies we should "enjoy" and started laughing all over again. I sure do "miss" her.

Now, I am leaving this prof. unnamed on purpose, so even if you know who it is, don't go spouting off about it in the comments. I don't want people to google his name and find this post and think I am making fun of him. I am making fun of him, of course, but I don't want people to think that.


Melanie said...

I'd like to point out he also has terrible grammar. I'd expect better from Harvard professor. :)

Crazy Daisy said...

wonderful story!

Quirky said...

Ah Mary. I'd "forgotten" about her. PS- Good job on your "assignment"!