Can I Have My Money Back?

I’ve just had a very shocking experience. My students are writing an exam. One of the students, let’s call him Peter, finishes and hands in his exam 35 minutes before the end of the class period.

The students continue writing their exams. Suddenly, the door opens and Peter returns to the classroom.

“The exam was hard!” he announces loudly and aggressively. “Can I drop the class and have my money back?”

“You can go to the Registrar’s Office and withdraw,” I say quietly to try to minimize the commotion.

“I want my money back!” the student insists.

I stare him down very aggressively and he runs away.

What the flying fuck was that, people? I’m really not ready for students badgering me for refunds because they didn’t prepare for an exam.

Is Patriarchy a Useful Term?

What’s the problem with the term “patriarchy”, if I may ask? I keep seeing all these posts on how this term doesn’t make sense because the majority of men never had access to power under this system.

So what, I ask? Does the word “capitalism” mean that everybody has access to capital? How many people do you know who have any capital at all? (Debts don’t count as capital, in case you are not aware.) Will you claim that this is not a capitalist country, then?

In feudal societies, most people were not feudal overlords. And during the Enlightened era, 90% of people were completely illiterate. So? Where are the posts disputing the terminology of capitalism, feudalism, and Enlightenment?

I just read a very long, rambling and stupid post (that I’m not going to link to because I don’t want to give hits to blabbering fools) that made this completely inane point about patriarchy as a useless term. And before you make comments about male chauvinists, the author of the post was a woman.

If there are intelligent objections to the use of the word, then feel free to share. But this kind of silliness makes me very annoyed.

One of the Greatest Injustices of Existence. . .

. . . is that children always love their parents but parents often don’t love their children.

No matter how horrible the relationship is, how much abuse and heart-ache there has been, how many years have passed, a child always hopes that one day Mommy will say, “You know, I’m really sorry. I’m sorry for things I have done. I didn’t know any better and I’m sorry” and Daddy will say, “You turned out very well. You are a great human being. Remember how I said that you were a disappointment? That wasn’t true. I said it in anger and I’m sorry.”

Parents, however, often spend years and┬ádecades passionately disliking every aspect of their children’s way of being and communicating it to them in excruciating detail. And no amount of “I’m sorry, Mom, Dad, I’m sorry that I can’t be what you want me to be, I’m sorry but this is how I need to do things to remain sane” changes anything.

This happens because when children are small, their parents are always not just people but the people. The most important, crucial human beings whose every angry glare is perceived as the end of the world, whose every rejection confers a feeling of universal loneliness, of being abandoned by God.

For parents, however, the greatest struggle is always to see children as separate human beings. It is hard, indeed. They came out of your body, they were completely dependent on you for a long time. Besides, after everything one sacrifices to bring them into the world and keep them alive and healthy, it’s not unnatural to start expecting something in return. “I gave you life, so I feel it belongs to me,” is a tacit conclusion many parents reach. Seeing their children as people is a feat many parents never manage to perform.

“How can you do something like this to a person?” a daughter asks her mother.

The mother looks at her in bewilderment.

“What person?” she asks with heart-breaking sincerity. “I’m doing it to you. You are not a person. You are my daughter.”

If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, then you should thank your lucky stars, sit quietly in a corner and not comment on something that, for many people, constitutes the greatest tragedy of their existence.