Figure out pithy and original ways to write the comment “you need to support your claims” in the margins of 72 term papers.
Debate how old the cup of coffee on desk is and whether or not it is safe to drink.
Vacantly stare into space while chewing on a pencil eraser and twirling foot in circles. Contemplate taste of pencil eraser for full five minutes.
Despair and drink the coffee to wash eraser taste from mouth.
Painstakingly write another comment explaining why this particular claim needs to be supported with a credible source and that it needs to include a parenthetical citation formatted—as specified in assignment guidelines—according to APA style, but know deep down that said comment will never, ever, ever in a million years be read, let alone implemented.
Wonder whether supporting “claims” with “credible sources” is even still a “thing”?
Choke back sense of nihilistic futility and impending doom.
Think about that article that’s been in the pipeline for three years because it gets hung up and re-reviewed every time the journal editorship changes, the article that would totally be finished if it weren’t for all of this grading.
Clean out office filing cabinet that is filled with: files of random articles, old syllabi, and meeting minutes; a twenty-year-old creative nonfiction essay entitled “How to Prepare a Pomegranate” that as a sophomore in college seemed like an insightful meditation on the nature of relationships; a box of tampons and half a stick of deodorant; a rusty tape measure; a very old bag of gorp.
Determine optimal amount to crack open office door in order to signal “I am definitely here, but I definitely don’t want to talk to you.” Satisfied, actually use rusty tape measure to check the size of the crack for future reference.
Shame spiral and eat very old bag of gorp.
Attend meeting of faculty senate; silently bet which will happen first: A) third senior male colleague in a row will weigh in at ponderous length on an issue of minute significance, or B) one of said colleagues will switch from topic at hand to initiate debate over proper Robert’s Rules of Order procedure.
Look up Professor Watchlist on phone. Make up fake names to submit, such as “Eric Shun” and “E. Normus Peter.”
Map out shortest routes to Canada and contemplate number of days survival could be sustained in snowy wilderness.
Realize outlook is grim.
Attend department potluck; singlehandedly polish off a bottle of wine and start unabashedly on a second.
Perform karaoke rendition of George Michael’s “Faith,” despite fact that there is not, in fact, a karaoke machine at department potluck.
Retreat back to office.
Continue grading, now writing comments such as “Seriously, WTF.” and “Listen. LISTEN. Don’t get squashed trying to make it to the top of the caterpillar pile. Be the caterpillar who turns into a butterfly!”- – -
Pass out on stack of ungraded papers, dreaming of Justin Trudeau.