Yesterday was my big debut as a Faculty Presenter and I must say that I was much less nervous about it than I thought that I would be and that while my presentation was apparently well received (no one threw anything at my head) I was accused of being earnest. I can totally understand how my appearing earnest could throw the SASS universe into a tailspin of confusion and self doubt, so I just wanted to take a minute to reassure everyone that I am not turning over a new leaf or planning on appearing earnest on a regular basis. Every good presenter has to be able to craft a message that will be positively received by his audience and while SASS might respond best to mocking sarcasm we are, sadly, a minority here at the Ivory Tower of Temerity.
I confess myself slightly worried over how easy it was for me to appear sincere, interested, and earnest. In fact it took me whole minutes to fall asleep last night for worrying if this signaled a new and alarming change in the persona of RW. I was still mulling over the philosophical implications this morning on my way to work when an innocent comment over the radio made everything wonderfully clear and restored my Rage-o-Meter back into the Red Zone and returned the world to normal.
As always, it was a thoughtless turn of phrase from which I instantly gleaned a larger context, blew completely out of proportion and had to rant about for 6.3 minutes. A woman was being interviewed on her participation in an adult spelling bee; she stated that one of the reasons she went was because the drinks were free (alcohol apparently DOES make you better at everything!) and with the recession on she could use all the free stuff she could get. The phrase “with the recession on” helped me to understand that I could spend my entire school year as earnest as I like and will never be in danger of “mellowing out,” “growing up,” or “gaining a mature perspective on things.”
“With the recession on” makes it sound like a TV show that we are all watching happen to someone else. “With the football game on, we can’t watch cartoons” is how my children might use that phrase. I’m refusing to even address the epic failure of grammar inherent in the phrase (I’m a public school teacher remember, so I’m excited that she pronounced each word correctly!) and instead I’d like you all to take a minute to realize how passive people have become about their own lives.
– Done yet? –
(See! I’m betting that none of you actually took a minute, you just skipped ahead to this part to see where my rant goes from here, didn’t you!)
Even the avant garde among us (presumably our teachers and professors) can’t quite grasp that actual participation in shaping our futures is required. Just keep putzing along and someone else will make it happen for us. Really?! This is the attitude that built the greatest nation the world has ever seen between Canada and Mexico?! Where’s the famous American Spirit (I need a smoke!) that drove us to the forefront of Western Civilization and Couture? People need to wake up and get with it! Why do you think BoJangles Iced Tea isn’t 75 cents?! Because the recession has driven the price up to 99 cents, dummy! We need to get out there and make it happen and I don’t want to hear any nonsense about not having any money; that’s loser talk!
So as you can see, I’m quite recovered from my bout of earnestness. Relax, everything is totally fine.