Profiles in Courage.
author: sara birrell | contributor
Oh God, it’s so true. / Jeremy Davis
You know the ones.
Welcome to Profiles in Courage. Today I’ll introduce you to some of your fellow students, the ones who bravely disrupt class and boldly inflict their terrible personalities on everyone around them. Raise a glass to the ones who leave you saying, “Are you freaking kidding me right now?”
Meet Chad. Chad has courageously made it all the way to your Honours English seminar even though he hasn’t done any of the reading. But, don’t worry; he still has plenty to say about it. In fact, Chad thinks the whole class could probably understand the reading better if he took a moment to read from one of his own poems. Chad is also writing a novel that’s raw and elemental and really exposes the way we’re all just caught like animals in this 21st–century machine. Chad thinks the women in the class could really benefit from reading David Foster Wallace. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men really influenced his “brand” of feminism.
Meet Lisa. Lisa is in your Intro to Marketing class and she just wants you to know that she couldn’t do her part of the group project because she’s sooo tired. She’s the only student on a campus of 13,000 people who is taking five classes this semester. She has no time for “like, anything” but was definitely spotted at The Owl last Thursday night. Lisa is exhausted because, like more than half of students, she worked last night. She’ll probably go home and crash after this, but if she could get your notes from 309, that would be great.
Meet Eric. Eric is in your Existential Philosophy class (because of course he is). But, before this, he took a couple years off school to discover the world and really find himself. Now he has 27 years of hard-won wisdom to bestow on you young pups. Hold on tight. Eric spent an entire six weeks backpacking in Vietnam, just really getting to know the people and living the way they live. They have real values there, you know? He met this old farmer, who had, like, just a thousand lines in his face, like life had just taken a hatchet to him, and even though he had no teeth, he had the most joyful smile you could ever see. It just really makes you think about how much we take for granted. After Eric graduates, he’ll probably just buy a motorcycle and ride it all the way down the coast to Central America and teach English there, where people actually value education.
Meet Sam. Sam is in your Material Culture and Consumption class and she’s going to courageously stand up for what’s right, even though no one said or did anything wrong. Sam is loudly oppositional, even when everyone in the class is in total agreement with her. When women of colour speak up in class, Sam helpfully cuts them off and then paraphrases what they just said. Sam thinks it’s really disgusting of you to wear clothes from Wal-Mart because they’re made by child labour, conveniently forgetting that her hemp pants were paid for from her parents’ combined annual income of $400,000. Sam once Instagrammed a pic of her with menstrual blood smeared on her face like war paint and when someone told her it was racist and problematic, she rage-typed, “THIS IS FOR WOMEN OF ALL RACES” and blocked them.
Meet Chris. Chris is getting his mandatory Women’s and Gender Studies credit, and he just wants to play devil’s advocate for a minute. Did you know Hitler was a vegetarian? Whoa, just goes to show there’s some good in everyone. Chris wants you to know that he would be a vegetarian, too, but he lifts weights, so he needs the protein. Chris can’t wait to be a dad. He hopes he has a daughter, so he can “show her there are some good men in the world.” Chris supports #MeToo, but he wants you to know it goes both ways. Did you know men are falsely accused? It happened to a buddy of his.
Meet Nathan and Jenna. They’re in your bio lab and they’re both in relationships with other people, but there’s DEFINITELY something going on between them. There is no one else at their end of the table, but they’re still sitting shoulder to shoulder. Be surprised at how distracting it is when Nathan leans over to whisper something in Jenna’s ear every ten minutes. Notice how irritated you become when she clasps her hands in front of her face and giggles at his jokes while the rest of your group struggles to recreate the cell cycle with bits of coloured string. Wait, is he gently removing a single strand of hair that’s fallen lightly across her collarbone while the TA explains how to extract DNA from a banana? Seriously, is anyone else seeing this? Are you freaking kidding me right now?