By which I mean, I get a lot of hilarious email from students saying stuff I am sure they would not be so foolish as to say in person. Email lets students send weaksauce excuses without having to go through the face-to-face embarrassment of barefaced lying, and it lets them ask stupid questions they are too chicken to ask in class, for the most part. I get a ton of emails that are sent 5 minutes after class often asking questions that were answered in class already, or that ask for clarification on things I mentioned (and have often asked “Is everyone clear?”), or that ask embarrassingly basic questions. (Eg, “What’s a tunic?” Answer: “Do you own a dictionary?”)
Sometimes students save these for the end of class because they don’t want to ask them in front of the group. I get that. You are a moron, and you want to keep that a secret from your peers. Somehow email makes this stuff less embarrassing, because maybe it feels like you are just asking your computer, and not your actual prof, and besides, asking in email means you don’t have to watch him or her hold back snorts of derisive laughter.
Then, of course, there are the inadvertently amusing infelicities in expression, and the emails that are so dreadfully written that they engender gnashing of teeth, banging on keyboards and demands that colleagues come and look at what this asshole has written.
Once in a rare while, there is an email that transcends all this mundane amusement, and launches itself into the realm of epic lulz. Such an email, I was lucky enough to receive on Friday. I share it with you, mildly edited:
It was my first term at college this year in the fall semester. I was enrolled in your English 101 course and completed the course. However, I checked my exam dates on the college website on the Saturday before the exam week. Unfortunately, the English 101 exam was on that Saturday morning and I had completely missed it. I was very concerned about it because I have NEVER before missed an exam, and never before had exams on the weekend. I am wondering how I could fix this.
Okay, you read that and you might smirk a little. Dude “completes” the course, but forgets to go to the final because he isn’t quite sure when exam week started. He’s a loser, but shit happens. It’s no worse than the girl who missed her exam because she confused the date and thought it was Thursday instead of Wednesday, or the stoner who slept in and missed the 8am exam, or the other girl who didn’t realise that she had two exams at the same time until, like 15 minutes before they both started, OMG.
Ask any department secretary, and she will tell you these are common or garden student doofuses, and that every exam period there will be a handful of them, suffering from terminal “can’t get my shit together” which is generally fixed by having them sit in the next available slot during the exam period.
Ah yes, the exam period. Here’s where “I can’t believe the final was on Saturday” dude really launches himself into the stratosphere. See, in all previous known cases, students who missed the final and figured it out, like later that day, as he claims to have done, were in contact with the prof and/or the department pretty much the next day. Monday at the latest. So while their mistakes were embarrassing, they were fixable.
Not for this guy, though. This guy waited – wait for it – 6 weeks before he sent his email. SIX FUCKING WEEKS! Can you believe that? He’s “very concerned” and that prompts him to wait an entire 42 days before doing anything about it. That was time for the entire exam period to be over (since, as he notes, the exam he missed was on the first day), all the marks to be in, everyone to be off for more than 2 weeks for Xmas break, the new year to start, the new semester to start, the add/drop date for the new semester to be over, the supplemental exam period for people who were hit by a bus to be over, and academic probation reports to come out. This last, presumably, is what finally prompted him to get in touch. That, or his parents to ask how he did on his exams.
You know what really puzzles me? This is not an outwardly dumb guy. He was getting a B before the exam debacle, and he can walk upright. Hell, he has a licence to fly a DC10. I am guessing that the pilot exam was not on a Saturday morning. Either that, or the airline industry has been involved in a long and complex conspiracy about just how hard it is to fly an aircraft.