In Which the Prof Becomes Uncomfortably Aware that He Has a Birthday in 20 Days

I’m 51 years old. Barring something unexpected, I will soon be 52. Unlike the Mad Dog, who loathes the thought of aging, I share my mom’s opinion that getting older beats the alternative. Still, events over the past two days may have unnerved me a bit.

Yesterday, I assigned my freshpeeps a simple sort of explication/rhetorical analysis —  a 3- to 5-page look at the lyrics to a song of their choice. I encouraged them to exercise care in choosing a song — they’ll want to choose a song with some depth, but not one with lyrics that would require an overlong analysis. As examples of the latter problem, I mentioned Don McLean’s “American Pie” and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

After I dismissed the class, I was chatting with one of the kids, and she said, “You said something about the song ‘American Pie'” — does that have anything to do with some movie? I know there’s a movie called that.” I explained that while the filmmakers probably enjoyed using the song’s title for their movie, the song was considerably older. “When did it come out?” she asked. I told her the song was released in 1971.

“My mom wasn’t even born then!” she said, and (maybe because she saw me wince), said, “It’s OK, Dr. Moore — you’re younger than my grandparents.”

“Good to know,” I said. Which was better, I suppose, than any number of replies I could have made.

But then there was lunch today. As is my custom, I had lunch in the school dining hall, where I go Monday through Friday with my colleagues and the occasional bold student. At one point, I was the only one at my table, and I saw a student walk past. She was wearing a Newberry T-shirt, and I said to myself, “Wow! What a coincidence! A Newberry T-shirt. I work there! How cool!”

And then I realized I was saying this to myself while sitting in the midst of hundreds of Newberry students, many of whom were wearing school gear, because we were in the school dining hall, where I was in fact sitting and eating because I work there.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t always been addled — but I could be wrong.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Education, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In Which the Prof Becomes Uncomfortably Aware that He Has a Birthday in 20 Days

  1. nightfly says:

    and I said to myself, “Wow! What a coincidence! A Newberry T-shirt. I work there! How cool!”

    Be reassured… people of any age can skip a groove once in a while. Heck, at least you didn’t say it aloud. Altough I must note, grimly, that your student’s observation about American Pie and her mom’s birthday also applies to my own birthday; I just clicked past 45 on the odometer. It’s fairly sobering to think that, had my life gone a hair differently, a child of mine could be a classmate of that student. (I’d be mightily reassured about her English professor, at any rate.)

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