Sunday, October 12, 2008

Embarassing Moments: The Precocious Me

Having met all of my program requirements except for a single elective course, I returned to the University of Waterloo and took a bird course called "Philosophy of Women and Men." It was dull and pedestrian...exactly what I wanted for the final course of my school career.

We were assigned to read an article about "geek culture," and the following week we returned to discuss the article. I hadn't read it, but I thought myself sufficiently interesting and knowledgeable to raise my hand and say the following:

"Not that this has anything to do with the article, but it might be interesting to point out the original usage of the word 'geek.' A geek was a circus performer who bit the heads off of live chickens. It would be interesting to find out how the word's meaning changed over the years to represent the geeks we know today."

*I* thought it was a fascinating observation, but everybody in the class just STARED at me. Assuming they didn't believe me, I insisted that the whole thing was true but not common knowledge, and told them to do some research if they didn't believe me.

Total silence. "What a bunch of weirdos," I thought, and sat back down.

That night I decided to read the "geek culture" article that I was supposed to have read in order to prepare for the class. The first sentence of the article -- which everybody had read but me -- went something like this:

"The original 'geeks' were performers who bit the heads off chickens in circus sideshows. Here's the way the word 'geek' has changed over the years..."

2 comments:

Gary said...

Yeah...I remember some of my lazier college days, too. A politics professor sounded so erudite in lecture - turns out she was really reading from the assigned text.

As for your professor with his biases - I remember a sociology professor with an admittedly socialistic bent. I probably saw things somewhat his way for the purpose of doing well in his course. I don't remember if it worked or not.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I had a statistics professor who literally read right out of the text. I'll get to her eventually. :)