There is one for whom the ability to weave together narrative threads of bullshit has become an art form. Around midterm time, I received a huge email address to me and the student's other professors. And this did it for me from the get-go - don't you hate it when a student sends a pleading, let me tell you my life story email to ALL their professors? Anyway, apparently this student had gotten it into his head that one or many of his profs had notified his parents that he wasn't doing adequately in his classes. Now, he was making a D in mine, but it's against school policy for us to discuss a student with anyone else - including their parents. So, he writes this tome to all of us and the basic gist of it is that he wants us to lie to his parents and tell them that he was passing his classes. An excerpt:
I am on the verge of being dropped from one of my classes and my parents fear that I shall make a mess of things as I have in High school, but between you and I, if I may be so bold to include you all, I have no intention of continuing the perpetual failure that was my high school transcript. But I digress...I have small aspirations. I dream of teaching English and/or History in a local university while residing happily in my near-campus apartment. Returning home for any amount of time is not an option.
So that I might appeal to you as a sentient and feeling human being I shall tell you a small bit about myself. I do not wish to boast, but I am in fact very intelligent. No lie, I have an IQ of 132...I don't want to get too haughty, and pardon the language, but writing is my shit. If I get pulled from school things start to get a little shaky. The balance of the universe will falter under the wrath of my father and mother. I may in fact die.
This e-mail is not a long appeal for sympathy begging for mercy, nay it is much more. This e-mail is a plea; a promise. This e-mail is a venture into a brave new world of education I have only recently woken up to...I would be much obliged if you were compelled to spare the defiled soul of a young lad gone astray.
After all of this, I still told him he was making a D and he emailed back that he thought that was "disappointing." I told him that he should be disappointed in himself, not in my reply.
Now, of course, this kid missed way too many classes and I eventually dropped him. But he wasn't taking no for an answer:
Please Professor MW, I really need this class. I have rededicated myself to the best of my ability. I fell down an elevator trying to get to classes this morning...I will keep showing up to your class until the end of the semester. If you deem that my work in your class has not rectified any inadequacies I showed before than fail me. Give me an F. If I do, if I prove to you that I understand this course is more than a privilege; that it is your baby, that you are the goddess and creator of all that is good and divine about this literature, then I challenge you to give me less than a C. I shall prove my worth. I am not one to give up. If I had not been dragged back to my dorm by my roommate and my RA this morning after blacking out and spitting out blood and bile, by god I would have been sitting in your classroom this morning.
Isn't it amazing how students can be full of shit, pleading, condescending, and vaguely threatening all at the same time?
I still dropped his ass...