|This is the same cover that stared at me trying to shame me into reading. Never!|
Our required reading for that first half of the semester was an awful book, 'Alas Babylon'. Well, I guess it could be a awful the first couple of pages never grabbed my attention so I lost interest and I am not really sure what it is about. I did know that it was about nuclear war and we were still in the afterglow of the end of the cold war so it still seemed relevant. Besides the writing the main thrust of English class was reading and talking about and taking tests on that book and I refused to read it. I could not work up the willpower to just get in there and read what I didn't want to. So everyday I sat and listened carefully to the smart kids make comments and the teacher make comments and would remember every detail so when the quiz or test would come I would have enough ammunition to take that next hill. I was aided in the fact that the teacher was one of those who was terrible at writing tests and would often give away answers in previous and following questions, so I always did okay. I was reading lots of other books of my choosing so it was not like I was becoming illiterate but I just carried that book back and for to school hoping that one day the inspiration would strike to read it. Right before midterm we had an essay and a test on the book. The essay I pieced together from what I had heard other people say about the book, because five hundred words is not that hard even for a non-participant. The test was just a rewrite of all of the quizzes we had taken to that point and once I know an answer it is very rare that I forget it. I got an 'A' on the essay and one on the test so I was feeling pretty good about that. The teacher was impressed with my performance and liked me anyway so she asked me to tell those in the class who had chosen not to read the book what they had missed out on. I thought because the test and essay grades were in the bag that I was in the clear so I came clean and told the class that the first ten pages were tedious. I let them know that I had not read the book and that I just wrote the essay and passed the test based on in-class discussion and that it wasn't that hard. That little confession was not exactly what the Frau had in mind and liking me or not she had publicly prided herself on not being fooled by what she called B.S. Essays and she had bragged that if we faked it she could tell and we would get a terrible grade. She was so outraged by my confession that she started yelling at me and telling the class that what I did was the same as cheating and that I would be getting a zero on the essay and on the test. I asked her in what sense was it cheating and she said that I had lied about reading the book and I reminded her that I had never claimed to read the book. She said that using information that I had not learned from reading was cheating. I pointed out that group discussions in class were encouraging everyone to cheat then and she told me we were done talking about it. I was livid and didn't come back to her class for a week so I had some time to cool off and not get into more trouble. When I did come back our relationship had definitely taken on a chill and there was no more special treatment.