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More about Graduate and Teachers’ Assistants

March 6, 2019

We’ve gotten some doozies come through the graduate program. Among the worst are the Graduate assistants and teachers’ assistants. Really. They’ll write almost anything to make themselves appear to be people who are committed to the betterment of mankind. I don’t know why the committee that chooses these yoyos can’t see through the bullsh*t. One semester we had three older males ( aka nontraditional students) ranging in ages to about 28-40 who professed to have been very closely associated with religious groups at some point in their lives.

One of them revealed in his application to the program that he had been living in South Africa with his parents who were missionaries. He claimed to be fluent in Zulu, the predominant language of that country ( only twenty-two percent of South Africans speak Zulu ). I was a bit doubtful, but I thought, Okay. No big deal. Maybe he does. How would I know?

He also stated that he was fluent in French, having lived a significant portion of his life in France.

Another guy who was about 39-40 years old professed to be a former Franciscan monk, and he took every opportunity to throw in as many obscure facts about the Catholic Church, the Knights Templar, the history of his order and several other orders, and just about anything anyone could NOT converse about into conversations. Apparently, he had earned a prior masters degree in obscurantism from another university. Why he wanted another degree from this diploma mill was beyond everyone who knew about him.

Then we had a guy who was in his thirties who claimed to be an active, ordained minister in a local Christian sect. He wasn’t an evangelical; he wasn’t a fundamentalist snake handler; nobody was quite sure what his faith was because other than the statement that he placed on his application, we knew little about him. In fact, we saw very little of him. He attended to the duties of his contract and nobody ever complained about him. I wondered if perhaps he was a pagan or a Satan worshiper, or a naturist and just didn’t want to call attention to himself. You never know about people.

The preacher’s kid and the former monk showed up at a faculty Christmas party that year. The Preacher’s Kid slowly got loaded to the gills on his own stash of Spaten German beer that he brought with him (surprisingly, not French wine). Also attending the party was a very young undergraduate from South Africa whose English was impeccable. He grew up speaking Zulu. He spoke to the PK in Zulu, and the PK looked like he was going to die. He couldn’t speak a word of Zulu. Later, I overheard one of the grad facs ask the PK about the places he had seen in France. He couldn’t recall more than the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and the Seine River. He did offer that he was quite taken with the Rhine River.

Uh-huh. The last time that I looked a map of Europe, the  Rhine was in Germany.

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