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general A Fantastically Fucky Week
by GMFTatsujin
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(Ask and ye shall receive) on Nov 29, 2004 12:17:53 PM

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That's right, "fucky."

Last week was to be my week of triumph: the culmination of months of study, refinement, and preparation. But instead of peaking in an orgiastic explosion of energy, audience, and acclaim, I fell flat on my face and never quite recovered.
Monday Novemeber 22nd was the first annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium. Now, before the name finishes putting you into a coma, let me just say that it was a Big Deal to me to be able to present at this thing. It was a student-driven effort to put the show on, it was the first of its kind at the university, and while they expected to get about a hundred people to ask for a slot to present in, they instead received over 400 applications. My own presentation was to be part of this momentous occasion.


So I'm obviously all jazzed up about this. Finally, the chance to make public the brilliance and insight once only afforded to those few professors lucky enough to have me in their class! How could I pass that up? For an entire day every corner of the Student Union Building was packed with curious seekers of knowledge migrating from room to room so as to absorb the collective academic experience of their inspired peers. And I, dear reader, was to be such a peer. For an egocentric genius such as myself, this is an accolade to envy and achieve.

I pulled out a paper that I was particularly proud of and began constructing my presentation. Over the course of weeks I dedicated time each day to work on it--to tweak, to energize, to unveil--and in the end I had crafted twenty minutes of solid academic showmanship. It was high-minded and enlightening, yet earthy and accessable; it was formally rigorous, yet jauntily entertaining; it used Powerpoint, yet didn't suck balls--a paradox resolved with the poigniant elegance of Alexander and the Gordian Knot. Truly, this was a work of the highest calibre.

"How did it go," I hear you ask all a-quiver. Even here and now, across the disjuncted tenuousness of the internet, I can sense the fervent question roiling in your mind. You must know!

Well, it depends on who you ask. If you ask me, I thought it was brilliant. I may be biased. If you ask my parents, I'm sure they'd say the same, although they may be biased too. I don't know about the judge, but he seemed pretty happy with it.

If you try asking anyone else, well, good luck *finding* someone else who saw it. As in, NOBODY ELSE SHOWED UP. Not my faculty mentor, who had encouraged me to present in the first place. Not my professor for whom I wrote the paper, who encouraged me to pursue its development. Not my friends, not my classmates, not anybody to whom I mentioned the event, not anybody who told me "ooh, that sounds neat, I'll try to be there," not any other fucking person on the whole campus. NOT NOBODY. The scattered applause I received in that near-empty room only barely drowned out the drone of the freshly-enlightened crickets.

That ringing emptiness still echoes in my thoughts a week later. "Oh," but you say, "don't feel so bad. Perhaps your expectations were too high. Perhaps there were other things going on in those peoples' lives. Perhaps people don't take the same pleasure in academic fraternity as you do." Doubtless this is all true. And yet... And yet...

The next day, I appeared before a more captive audience. I will be teaching a class next semester in the honors program, and in order for students to register early, they must attend a preview night. Teachers are given three minutes to pitch their classes and present a welcoming face to prospective students. Preview night is a really important night, because if a class doesn't get enough students, the class doesn't make, and therefore gets dropped from the curriculum. Naturally, this means that all the work I've done *this* semester in preparation will be flushed away, and I'll have to figure out something else to do for my senior year at the last minute.

Oh, I had prepared for this night too. Not so intensely, of course, but enough to get the job done. I was really looking forward to this: three minutes, one good pitch, build up some enthusiasm, and cut loose. All my ducks in a row, no problem. I'm very good in front of crowds of people.

Of course, all my little duckies had gotten splashed while crossing the road by the EIGHTEEN WHEELER OF WOE the night before...

To make a long story slightly longer, I was so let down by the previous night's disappointment that I couldn't pull myself up and be my normally coherant, charming self. Whereas on Monday I had been brilliant and unattended, on Tuesday I displayed the transcendant blitheringness of my idiocy to a degree previously unheard-of before hundreds of on-lookers.

I don't even know what kind of burbling spewage came out of my mouth. I was in a daze, and while I'm pretty sure I managed to point out the name of the class and the referant page in the class listings, I also think I managed to openly insult my sponsoring professor and one other of the faculty before hurf-durring my way away from the podium. I seem to remember a smattering of restrained yet polite applause as I staggered away.

For the past week, I have been severely down in the dumps. I feel utterly humiliated and foreign to myself. Slicky can tell you what a mealy-mouthed pain in the ass I've been. Fortunately, it being a short holiday week, I didn't have to spend too much time in public after all of that. I've been power-hermitting on a steady diet of hot tea, Reese's Peices, and Diablo II for four days. Naturally, my 31st-level hardcore barbarian died. :(

It has been, in short, a fantastically fucky week.

Or to quote Dr. Smith: The pain! The pain!

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