Friday, August 31, 2007

Thick Skin Necessary

My answer was correct, and no one can tell me otherwise. How Professor Simmons chose to respond to my statement is proof that one needs a thick skin in this crazy law school world…

Professor Simmons teaches my Property Law class. He’s an old man, probably in his mid 70’s, and seemingly as cantankerous as he wanna’ be. I say seemingly because it is while in the midst of his most crabby quotes that he smirks, momentarily showing the joy he receives in making students feel uncomfortable. This is different from actually being cantankerous, in that those who are actually irritable to that extent never find joy, no matter how badly they treat folks.

For whatever reason, this specific day was my turn as Professor Simmons’ amusement. The issue we were discussing doesn’t really matter (rather, it would matter if I could remember the issue. I must have blocked it out of my mind…), but whatever the issue was, I, having done the reading, briefed the case, and peered through the supplemental, just knew I possessed the correct answer.

While I am not a gunner (a gunner is an individual who incessantly raises his/her hand [most members of the gunner club are male] only to hear his/her voice. It is not uncommon for their opinions to be based in everything outside of the case at hand, effortlessly avoiding any law whatsoever), I do occasionally raise my hand in order to ask a question or respond to one…

Ok, that’s bullshit. I often times flaunt my understanding of readings and case law just like gunners do, but I do attempt to ground my flaunts in law…

Anyway, this time my flaunts bit me in the ass. I raised my hand to answer the Profs question with a great deal of confidence. He didn’t pick me right away; instead he worked his way to me by calling on others in the class to answer his question. One by one, he’d call on someone, they’d answer, and he’d simply respond with an “incorrect,” and move on. By the time he got to me, I was sure I had the correct answer simply because every other possible answer was given and deemed incorrect. By now Simmons had grown cranky because no one had correctly answered his seemingly (to him) easy question. He must have recognized that I was confident in my response-to-be, much more so than any other respondent had been. I mention this because even before he called on me to answer, his smirk was in full affect.

He said, “Mr. [Spotless], please grace us with the correct answer so we can move on,” with his smirk in plain view (I should have recognized that he was only awaiting an opportunity to have fun). With that, I, without doubt in mind, gave my answer. And to my response, he replied, “Mr. [Spotless], that is preposterous,” leaving me feeling a combination of shock, embarrassment, and a slight amount of amusement. I mean, he played me beautifully; I have to give him credit for that.

Moral of the story: some of these Profs have fun with their students, many times at their expense. I can’t take that to heart (at least, that’s what I have told myself every night since).

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