Monday, 19 February 2007

Gentleman's Pants

Yesterday afternoon was Official Surmount An Ever Increasing Pile of Work Day. In an age of short attention spans and microwaveable tandoori tofu, official days cannot be expected to last a whole twenty-four hours. This is why my Day devoted to Pile-of-Work Surmountation (as opposed to Sermon-on-the-Mount-ation) consisted only of the hours between 3 pm and 8 pm. Minus, that is, the time spent gazing out the window, which I considered a necessary Occupational Health and Safety measure to avoid optical deterioration.

Marking my Victorian literature exam papers in Victoria proved somewhat less exhilarating than I had hoped. Indeed, so unexhilarating, that I almost cheered when a pair of navy blue gentleman's knickers sailed down from the balcony above and landed in my new potted gardenia (such are the joys of strata living). I decided that decorum required their owner to fish them out for himself. Who knows, knocking on the door of apartment number 7 with a pair of pantaloons in paw might breach some chapter of Thornburian etiquette. We New South Welshpersons are utterly unsqueamish about undergarmentry, but I daily hear tales of Melburnean gentility, and it is still too early, methinks, to rock that particular boat (i.e., the Good Ship Frank Discussion of Pants). I pulled down my blind, to allow the underpant salvager a private retrieval, and when I raised it again, an hour later, my potted gardenia was unfestooned.

Lesser highlights of Official Surmount An Ever Increasing Pile of Work Day include reading the following: "rediculouse", as in "a rediculouse waste of time" (one suspects the author of anti-communist sentiments); "I would like to point out that the wicked process of industrialisation was the main reason women turned into prostitution" (should this scholar get a job in public policy, I take no responsibility for resultant legislation); "sigma", as in "Ladislaw faced social sigma because of his parentage" (better than social omicron, that's for sure); and in parentheses after the word "Plummle", used to describe the Dickens character more orthodoxly known as "Drummle", the words, "Sorry if this is the wrong name, my mind is B-L-A-N-K" (a confession I found so charming that I was at risk of throwing in Official Surmount An Ever Increasing Pile of Work Day altogether).

But now that particular sub-hillock of my mountain of tasks is defeated, and I say, with a tear in my eye, and a nostalgia in my left temple, "Farewell, oh Sydney Varsity! I knew thee well!" To work.

8 comments:

blue_haired_jennifer said...

My Ancient History teacher, who once graded HSC papers (oh the terror), told of the one occasion on which he threw up his hands in despair. It came upon marking the twelfth consecutive exam paper which cited as a source that well-respected historian, Ibid.

I for one admire the honesty, though not the resourcefulness, of the B-L-A-N-K author, and won't even suggest that you Plummle them.

alexis said...

I admired her honesty too. And - I say this a tad too late perhaps - the authors of all the malapropisms cited herein are fine folk, a pleasure to meet, with much to offer, and deserve better than public defamation on the world wide web. A hearty apology to all concerned for my disrespectful tone. I won't do it again.

blue_haired_jennifer said...

Please don't feel too guilty. As a member, albeit an absent one, of the ArtsUsyd community, I can inform you that many people who submit rediculouse essays do so knowingly, and with the full expectation of being redicule-ed for them. Also, rare is the tutor who does not vent hilariously to one class about the idiocies of others.

Even if your lovely students read your blog and feel you are implying that their personal worth is summarised by their ignorance of economic theory, you're a full state away from them and their recriminations.

alexis said...

Thanks, J. If you're ever at a loose end, employment-wise, I could do with a good confessor.

Karen said...

Did you come across any Wadsworths? You're not truly marking until there's a Wadsworth.

I'm not sure about the propriety of mentioning these things either, but it may interest you to know that I did once receive an essay about whether the moon landing was real (I have no idea how) and my friend (a student of Physics) begged and begged to be permitted to write the comment.

I have some hilarious one liners too, all emanating from the one course, funnily enough, but perhaps it's best not to air them in public!

alexis said...

I saw a wonderfully poker-faced mockumentary on SBS once, claiming that the American moon landing had been staged, as a snub to the USSR.

Anyway, no need to be coy about the hilarious one liners. Name no names and she'll be right.

Karen said...

Ok, this is my best one (paraphrasing from memory):

"Arundhati Roy is a strong woman who has had to overcome adversity, a bit like Erin Brokovich in the movie with Julia Roberts and, therefore, also a bit like Bridgette Bardot".

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