Friday, April 30, 2004

Pssst, Did You Put "Friday" as the Answer to Question One? I'm Just Checking...

Last night Nightline did an exposé on cheating. I suspect that they actually got the idea from Dateline NBC.

Evidently, students cheat. Nooooo. Pardon my sarcastic overuse of the letter “o,” but –no crap!

The students on the show last night were first class morons. Even the student that was getting paid really well to write other student's papers was an idiot. As people like me like to say in order to protect our fragile egos, “he’s book smart, but he’s got no common sense.”

I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone has cheated in school at one time or another. I’m not talking about hardcore cheating on tests, I’m just talking about the little stuff. I did it, I’ll admit. My cheating, however, was mainly restricted to copying homework. It happened rarely. Usually, I just didn’t care if my homework was completed or not. That’s why I graduated from High school with a 2.8 GPA (I think it was a 2.8, I can’t remember. All I really know is that I was almost smack dab in the middle of my graduating class grade-wise).

I think that my indifference to cheating on homework stemmed from the fact that I was accused early on of cheating when I hadn’t. I had this horrible harpy of an English teacher while I was at Mead High School in Spokane. Our assignment was to write a pretty lengthy research paper, ten pages if I’m not mistaken, that was a lot for me my sophomore year.

Now, this paper was to be accompanied by note cards which we were supposed to turn in periodically so that she could coldly criticize our feeble attempts at grasping the basic ideas of composition. (I graduated Cume Loude from College and I still can’t write a good sentence, I refer you to paragraph three in this post.)

Long story short, we had a set amount of cards to turn in each time. I, being King Procrastinator, never wrote note cards. So before I was to turn them in I went through a book on NASA (I’m also a bad storyteller, my project was on the space program) and wrote down the photograph captions. Those captions were my note cards. I didn’t care what they said, I just copied them until I had enough.

It was a misunderstanding. I wasn’t going to publish my goddamned note cards! I wasn’t even going to copy them into my paper. They were NOTE CARDS!

Ms. Harpy must have had it out for me, she checked every one of my note cards. Maybe she just loved NASA. But I know that other students did the same thing and she did nothing to them.

Well, Ms. Harpy went ballistic. She acted like a child. I was supposed to leave her class early for a band performance one day, one of the days that the note cards were due. She meticulously, and very slowly, went around the entire class and checked everyone else’s cards first and when I asked her if she could check mine so that I wouldn’t be late for the concert she just said, “Mr. TAM, it’s not your turn right now, I have other students that need just as much attention as you, you know.”


I got to the performance just in time to help them put the chairs away.

Why should I care about her class after that?! I’ll tell you why. Because she threatened to expel me from school and she would also leave really horrible, nasty, and frankly – inappropriate messages on my home answering machine. I can’t really remember what she had said but I think the term “spawn of Satan” was thrown around a few times.

Maybe I was the spawn of Satan, and Ms. Harpy was just jealous that Dad paid more attention to me…

I ended up getting a D out of that class. The only other class I ever got a D in was P.E. Even my mother didn’t care. She knew I couldn’t win.

The moral of this story is, don’t cheat. Don’t even cut corners. Your teacher could be a stalker psycho.

I’ll save the story about how I almost got thrown out of college for academic fraud for another time. It was another misunderstanding. It really was.

Fun Fact: I’ve got a new book out! I just finished it, you can buy it on! It’s about an earthly man who looses the family’s struggling grocery store when angel lawyers from heaven conduct a hostile takeover! A really good summer read! By me: “Stanley” Tam!

Oh, and the new TAM cartoon is up!

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