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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    From Oprah to the classroom

    Andi Berlinarts columnist
    Andi Berlin
    arts columnist

    As our glorious vacation ends and another semester begins, I’m becoming more and more convinced that school has turned into one gigantic episode of “”Oprah.””

    Any rational person can live through only just a few “”get to know your classmates”” activities before he starts to feel like every single female at the UA is the product of a fettered South Korean attempt to clone Liza Minnelli and sell her offspring to the Oxygen channel.

    Every year it gets worse and worse. On the second day of school, I can only hope the rest of my “”get to know you”” sessions will be better than the previous. Last semester, I hit rock bottom in my Pima Community College East writing class.

    I should have known it would be this bad, since PCC East (conveniently located half an hour away on South Pantano Road and East Irvington Road) is a haven for every nontraditional student, fat old lady and regular watcher of “”The View”” in East Tucson.

    On the first day, the professor, a frumpy woman wearing a vest with little cartoon kids all over it and with the short hair your mom starts to get before she turns into grandma, got up to introduce herself.

    “”Let’s go around the room and say some things about ourselves,”” she said.

    “”I just love to read,”” began the morbidly obese woman bursting out of the tiny desk chair across from me. I had a feeling that if she got up, the chair would, too.

    “”My friends always say I’m weird like that, but ever since I was a little kid I have

    Words of advice: If the first day of one of your classes sucks this much, brave it out for a few more days. It might get better. But then again, it probably won’t.

    just loved books. Some of my favorite writers are Nora Roberts, true crime authors and James Patterson.””

    Everyone nodded their heads in approval, until the blonde woman next to her began. “”I live at home alone and have six cats. I’m totally a cat person; my friends even call me Catty.””

    Suddenly there was an enormous gasp, and one of those women who is so overweight that you can’t tell whether she’s 21 or 41 stood up. “”Oh my god. Are you for reals? My friends call me Catty too!””

    “”Looks like you guys have something in common,”” my teacher said as the classroom genially laughed. Then she nodded to a skinny Hispanic woman with studs on her designer jeans and a leather purse she probably got from Saks.

    “”Hi, everyone,”” she said. “”The reason I’m in this class today is through the sole power of God. I have five children, recently DIVORRRRCED.”” The last word erupted out of her mouth like an A-bomb buried underneath 2,000 pounds of horse dung. Just the mere utterance of the syllables had set her off, and she started bawling uncontrollably until another woman had to give her a tissue.

    She went on. “”Most of them are boys, but last spring I was blessed with a little girl. My youngest son is so cute because before he goes to school every morning, he tells me he wants to sit down and pray.”” She sniffled into her hands.

    “”That’s beautiful,”” the teacher proclaimed, so dramatically that I thought just for one holy second that she might be kidding. Then she looked at me.

    “”I, uh, go out sometimes,”” I stammered. Every woman in the class nodded like they were humoring me. “”I, uh, don’t really have any kids or cats.”” The room went silent. I knew I had to find some way to pick myself up out of this, but I just couldn’t think of anything. “”I, um, I like to read?””

    “”Wonderful,”” the teacher proclaimed, as if I had just recited the intricate laws of metaphysics while juggling a dog’s penis. At that moment, I realized she wasn’t listening to a single thing anyone was saying. Then she turned her head to the only other younger student in the classroom, the girl sitting next to me. She had to fail, I thought. If I, the witty conversationalist, couldn’t make it through this wilderness, this little bitch with a Guess purse was drowning in quicksand.

    “”Hi, I’m Patricia,”” she said. “”I’m the former student-body president of a community college and now a burgeoning U of A junior. I learned at an early age that helping people is the most rewarding thing in life.

    “”Two years ago, I began an inner-city program that teaches kids on the streets how to read through the incredible power of

    hip-hop. If you dedicate so much of your time and effort like I have, you’ll see that most of our kids love to learn, but that they just need a little helping hand and some good music to go along with it.””

    Everyone in the class thought she was done, and the teacher even started the word “”congratulations,”” but then she went on.

    “”After that, I took a plane to South America and began the extraordinary plight of helping mentally retarded victims of poverty by spoon-feeding them Honey Nut Cheerios and giving them sponge baths. You’ll find that even the least able handicapped are lovely people inside, but that the severity of their disease keeps them from performing even the slightest of tasks. I’m just so glad I live in the free and just nation of America, home of the brave.””

    She continued on for what felt like hours, but after a slight glance at my cell phone, it proved to be only five more minutes. Luckily, our teacher eventually intervened because she wanted us to start our first assignment of the year, reading an “”inspirational”” essay by Tony Hawk.

    Words of advice: If the first day of one of your classes sucks this much, brave it out for a few more days. It might get better. But then again, it probably won’t.

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