January 15, 2003

School Dazed

Aw heck! Now I wish I'd saved all my old college ID cards. I got yet another one made today, and yep: there he is again laminated in plastic... Fred doing his "Deer in the Headlights" impersonation. If I had all the student ID cards I have ever carried in my wallet, I could collage the wall behind the computer here with them. It would be terrifying.

My college mugshots would have sociological significance. They would represent a study in evolving hair length and facial distribution, going back to the mid-sixties (need I say more?) Moreover, the ID mugshot would provide a study for what decades, gravity and miles of smiles do to a perfectly good human countenance. This grotesque collection would capture every stilted and wooden expression this face is capable of making. Not suitable for viewing by children.

I don't know why it is, but when the lady behind the Polaroid says 'smile on the count of three' my lips sag awkwardly to show just the least enamel underneath while the remainder of my facial features are obviously paralyzed by a South American toad toxin. The entire bearing of my body morphs in the rays that emanate from the camera just before the shutter opens, and I become a gollumish thing, a "type" considered suspicious and dangerous, sure to be picked up by the behavioral profiling folks. They know I have no business back on a college campus. Just look there at my Hokie Passport. Hideous! Turn away! But I digress.

Every time I end a college stint, I think 'well, that's that last time these feet will walk on a college campus in student shoes'. But there I was again today, mingling self-consciously amongst the ridiculously young, realizing that this time around, I'm the chronological equivalent of two post-docs, with pocket change left over. I have underwear older than these kids!

Nevertheless... it's official. As of yesterday I'm a Hokie. (Did I hear someone ask 'what IS a hokie? I'll come back to that sometime). I'll be taking a heavy load: one class, Appalachian Identities: a senior level Humanities class, for personal interest, non-credit. It promises to be more demanding of reading time than I had expected (hence, less blogging? NAH!) and there is a major research project required as well. The prof made my day when she singled out the three 'graduate students' in the class of twenty and told us she expected from us all the requirements in the syllabus she had just gone over, but piled higher and deeper. Get out the hip waders! Honestly, I need something to focus my energies; I have some ideas for a research topic that could be fun. So...

We pulled our desks into a big happy circle and got acquainted. "Find someone you don't know" says the prof (well duh, for me that's all of ya). "Take five minutes, find out all about each other, and we'll regroup and you tell us about your new friend." It's like deja vu all over again.

I told her my tale first. I condensed every major epoch of my life into a single sentence and it still took me seven non-stop minutes. My 'new friend' is twenty two. She was a hall monitor in high school and then she came to college. It must be nice having such a nice, clean resume. I've heard that in some societies, when your resume spills over to a second page, they put you out on the ice for the Polar Bears.

Bring on the bears. When I see'em coming to eat what's left of southwest Virginia's oldest college student....I'll just flash my Hokie Passport photo! Take that, you ol' bears! I'm not ready to go yet.

Posted by fred1st at January 15, 2003 06:14 AM | TrackBack

You've set up a wonderful challenge for yourself! I envy your closeness to the University. As someone with a very similar background to yours, and a Yankee trying to understand this place I've ended up in -- Appalachia -- I hope you'll share some of the wisdom and information you gain from the course.

Blog on, Fred, blog on!

Posted by: Red at January 15, 2003 09:48 AM

Heh. I can't imagine a day where I don't learn something new. I changed careers in my late forties and the reading was a killer...but it sure gets the juices flowing.

I have a passport photo collection that chronicles my transition from smooth faced youth to middle aged wear & tear. I renewed it last year and somehow they switched my photo with a photo of my mom.*G*

Posted by: feste at January 15, 2003 10:23 AM

Hokie is one of the weirder choices for a college mascot -- I remember finding it very humorous when my cousin went to Tech. Good blogging material!

Posted by: Anita Rowland at January 15, 2003 11:09 AM

Good for you, Fred . . . and I bet that you're probably just a delight in the classroom! And boy, the "deer in the headlights" picture phenomenon. Ack! I am *so* unphotogenic, and every time I have to have my picture taken I immediately become stricken . . . my eyes dull and glaze over and stare maniacally into the camer and my mouth does this weird glued-on grimacing thing. Humiliating! Awful!

Posted by: Artichoke Heart at January 15, 2003 12:41 PM

Wow, a professional student! I had heard about them, and now I (kinda) know one.

I had heard that a Hokie is a turkey with a certain male appendage removed, but that was from someone who went to UWVa, so consider the source.

Posted by: MarcV at January 16, 2003 09:10 AM

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