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Start the countdown

My AI instructor just informed the class that the final, my only for this quarter, is cancelled. This pushes the end of the school year up by five days for me, a scant 96 hours away.

I like to think of my yearly journey through academia as a marathon, with holidays corresponding to those guys that toss water on grateful runners and quarter breaks corresponding to glorious, loping sections of downhill. Right now I’m panting doggedly up the final hill, and I can see the hundreds of spectators lining the street on both sides, cheering and waving giant foam fingers assuring my weary soul that I am, in fact, number one. The banner above the finish line looms into view, and it’s no longer a question of whether I’ll finish the race but in what kind of shape I will cross the line. The big muscles of my thighs burn maddeningly, my lungs are aflame, and my blistered feet are a nexus of pain, but I keep going, my spirits lifting. Just as the pain begins to vanish in my elation, some big but relatively useless organ, like a spleen or gallbladder (no one ever uses those, right?) goes nuclear in my abdominal cavity. I’m so close to the finish line that my momentum will carry me across regardless, but will I survive the journey? My spleen is the final paper for English, worth half my grade in the course, and my gallbladder is the final project in AI, worth gobs as well. Both are due Friday morning.

Come Friday afternoon, I plan to pile all my school-related accoutrements high onto a ceremonial bonfire, then solemnly chant “No more teachers, no more books…” as I send them to their fiery hereafter. The only problem with this plan is that The Man hates that sort of public display of dissent. I carried out a much smaller version of this ceremony last year in the McCarty parking lot, with a single lousy math assignment, and a cop yelled at me. I thought about yelling back that it was our right as Americans to burn stuff, but then wisely crushed the flaming equations under my flip-flop instead, much as the officer so cruelly stomped my civil liberties under his jackboot. Lest someone accuse me of not learning from experience, I think I’ll move the event from its originally scheduled site on the HUB lawn to somewhere more private, say, the barbecue on my patio. I’ll have a Corona Especial in one hand and vicious-looking metal tongs in the other – the former will erase all mental record of this quarter, and the latter will assist the barbecue’s slow blue flame in destroying all printed record. If anyone wants to join me, I’ll be kicking things off around four pm, contingent upon weather and other commitments, such as stretching out on the beach.

Posted in Musings.


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