Introducing Nervous Neddy.

I say “introducing” because I have the feeling he is a developing story. I was going to write about him last week, and now there’s twice as much material. Let’s start with the background.

You know those people who are a bit nervous, and so then they say stupid shit, and stand a bit too close to you, and this makes you a bit nervous as well, just by rubbing their aura up against yours? Neddy is one of those.

Once  he made a stupid remark in class and everyone stared at him, and then he came up to me at the end of class and asked if I knew why people were looking at him weird. Do you know how hard this question is to answer?

He’s got just a whiff of the ‘berger about him, too (although, since I know this really really really ‘bergerish berger elsewhere on the internets, my whole ‘berger standard has changed radically, in the direction of tolerance). In addition to the nervous part, Neddy has a couple of extra zesty layers on top of an already difficult personality. One, he’s a fucking moron, and TWO, he has no idea that he is a moron. This leads to scenarios like the following:

Me: So, these essays you just wrote, class, that I am handing back, I wish to point out some common errors, in the hope that you will stop making them.
Class: Okay, we will indulge you by pretending to listen.
Me: So, this is children’s literature, and in essays, when we write about children, let’s refrain from referring to them as “kids”.
Class: Okay, seems fair.
Nervous Neddy: Why?
Me (Socratically): Why do you think?
NN: No, really I have no idea.
Me: Class?
Class: It’s slang. We shouldn’t put slang in an essay, and those of us who did are kind of embarrassedly going “doh,” right now.
NN: How is it slang?
Me: How do you mean, “how is it slang?” “Kids” is an informal term for children.
NN: They mean the same thing. I don’t see the problem.
Me: Class?
Class: “Kids” technically means “baby goats”. Saying it for children is informal, and we don’t use informal language in an essay.
NN: I never heard this meaning for kids before. Therefore, it doesn’t count. I am refusing to acknowledge this point, and maintain that it is fine to say “kids” in an essay.
Me (searching for an equivalent): It’s a slang word like “crap”. You wouldn’t use a word like “crap” in an essay, would you? (After I say this, I have a flash of a second where I realize this is by no means a given.)
NN: Why are you saying kids are crap?
Omnes: BOGGLE. (Discussion continues for another 4 minutes.)
Me: “Kids” is slang. Don’t use it. End of discussion.

We then proceded to have another  round over my next point, which is that “relatable” doesn’t mean what they think it means.

So, then I give their essays back, saying “I have a class immediately after this one, as you know, so I don’t have time to talk to you about your essays right now. Come see me in my office hour.” Class ends, and I am packing up, and Neddy comes up to me. “I think I did better than this in my essay,” he says. To which I respond, “Neddy, I just said I don’t have time to talk about this because I have another class RIGHT NOW, and I have to go to my other class RIGHT NOW.” And I start walking out the door, and he starts following me, asking about the comments I made on his paper.

I jump cowardly in to the elevator and tell him to come see me in my office hour. Which he does, and that, dear readers, is a long story for another day.

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13 thoughts on “Introducing Nervous Neddy.

  1. whatladder Post author

    They use it in sentences like “this story is relatable to children”. And then I am all “you mean you can tell it to kids?” and they are all like “no, like they can relate to it,” and I am like “I AM GOING TO STAB YOU WITH A SPOON.”

    Reply
  2. fillyjonk

    I once had a student use “crap” in a paper. So no, it is not a given. (And this was a fairly-serious ecology research paper. Which the person in question did not take seriously At. All.)

    Reply
  3. zugenia

    I think maybe I’ve told this story around these parts before, but it’s so good I’ll tell it again. A friend was teaching her first semester of Art History at a Small, Respectable Liberal Arts College. Following the midterm exam, she had to write the following on the board:

    Words It Is Never Appropriate To Use in a College Essay or Exam:

    1. Douche
    2. Douchebag
    [I believe there were more, but I was laughing to hard at this point to follow.]

    Reply
    1. whatladder Post author

      It is rude internets slang for someone with Asperger syndrome. The disrespect originates from the fact that people who commit social faux pas in online communities often claim to have Asperger (aka Assburger) as an excuse. People who actually have it tend not to be jerks on purpose, but they will tend to get hung up on specific topics, and respond in non-standard ways.

      Reply
      1. American College Student

        That makes so much more sense now! I looked it up on urban dictionary, because I didn’t know either, and I got something pretty gross and maybe only slightly related to NN. It may be more related, it is debatable.

        I strongly resisted the urge to write, “…slightly relatable to NN”

        Please don’t stab me with a spoon.

  4. V's Herbie

    OMG! I heard a playwright on the radio this morning say “these characters lived in 1908, but they are so relatable to our lives”

    These people grow up to have writing jobs!!!!!!!!11one

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Whatever happened to me? « What Ladder?

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