MAMA�RUSSIAN CLASS, AND OTHER D-III ACADEMIC TALES
As usual, any reference to myself, my family, my friends, or associates is absolutely true!! Truth is stranger than fiction. Any reference to a stillers.com poster that sounds like concocted bullshit�well�..it probably is.
Please forgive me lest you condemn me�.all of the events herein occurred prior to my 22nd birthday.
Also, there�s a very good chance that you�ll think that this article sucks�it probably does. Appreciate your telling me so.
This piece is inspired by long-time poster Nick79, whose wife is Russian. News reports yield a wide-range of appearances for Mrs. Nick. She sometimes is described as an Anna Kornikova look-alike. At other times, she could pass for Igor Olshansky�s mother. Of course, when one thinks of Nick�.flashes of Igor himself come to mind�.so perhaps this is appropo.
Nick was supposed to meet for a beer in the concourse between Sections 517 & 518 at Heinz during the �01 Divisional Playoff Game against the Ravens. Said he�d be about 6�4� with a leather jacket, with the words ROONEYS ARE ASSHOLES imprinted on the back�.one big eye, middle of his forehead. Nick, whose tickets are in Section 525 or thereabouts, didn�t show.
FLYING DUTCHMEN: INTRO TO MAMA
When I enrolled at
Since I passed 2 years of high school Spanish though, I wouldn�t be able to receive any credits for Elementary Spanish at
What should I do? Take French�.closest I came to French was trying Coquille St. Jacques at the LaMont on
I took my mentor�s advice though, enrolled in Russian, and went to my first class with Mrs. Gailen Hansen�aka �Mama.� Mama was not Russian, she �vasCozzack voman.� She also had to be the worst college professor in the
I never learned how to speak any Russian with Mama, save for �Docvidanya Chas� (..It�s time to leave), which we recited at the end of every class to Mama�s �Katore Chas� (�What time is it?). I did learn the Russian alphabet, so I could read in Russian, but had no idea what the fuck I was reading. Exams with Mama consisted of her passing out a sheet of 10 Russian sentences�of which I had no clue what any of the shit meant, or what the fuck I was supposed to do with it. Mama always made sure that something was on my paper at the end, and assigned me grades ranging from C to B. The major requirements were to listen attentively to Russian music in language lab, go to the Russian Club Halloween Party, where you had to let Mama dunk your head while you bobbed for an apple�.whereupon Mama would Laugh her Fuckin� Ass Off, see Mama in her office for extra help, where she would gossip about the German professor (��she Nazi�she pick her nose�), and demand that you drive her home to Lebanon.
Mama had an eagle eye. She would see you on the other side of the Quad, a good 60 yards away. She�d scream, �Black Lobster,� or �Pedro,� and come walking over as fast as her legs could carry her. I would say to myself, �Shit�she saw me. I don�t have time for Mama now.� We�d come walking out to Arnold Field for our Saturday afternoon contest with the Moravian Greyhounds, or the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats, game faces on, breathing fire. Who�s there, in our path�.Mama!! �Good luck, my son�.I pin Thussian good luck charm on your jersey.� Get the fuck away from me, Mama!!
The catch was that Mama would flunk one student a semester. She would get on the case of most students about twice a semester, at which time one would freak, �Am I the one this semester�.Mama�s sacrificial lamb.� If you were the one to be flunked, what the fuck could you do about it. You really couldn�t make an argument that you deserved a better grade. You didn�t know a goddam thing. You could say �Docvidanya��that was it.
My friend Don had a guarantee of not being flunked. He was President of the Russian Club�akin to selling his soul to the Devil. He had to put up with more of Mama�s bullshit than anyone else, give her more rides, etc. �Don�.you too busy with basketball. I talk with Dean�you only play 2 games a week.� Don would go ape-shit. �But Mama, you can�t do that!�
Mama was sympathetic though. My ticket to passing Russian was needing to undergo knee surgery first semester of my sophomore year, injured against gay-ass Swarthmore. I went back to my orthopedic guy in
We thought for sure that Eddie Muldoon was the flunkee during our final semester of Russian. Mama was on his shit almost daily. Then, the Gods smiled on Eddie. He broke a bone in his neck in a lacrosse game�.came back to class the next week, wearing a collar. Mama never said an unkind word to him again. A broken neck saved Eddie�s ass!!
Sam Hussey was a damn good, tough, D-III wide receiver from
Sam was a damn good receiver�..personally did in the Muhlenberg Mules 3 years running. Sophomore year, he caught the tying TD on a 4th down play in the 4th quarter. Junior year, he caught the winning TD on a 4th down, bringing us from a 20-0 deficit to a 21-20 win�.the QB who called his own plays thought it was 1st & 10�not 4th &1. Senior year, he scored the first TD of a 38-3 rout of previously undefeated Muhlenberg. Muhlenberg Mules were Ben Schwartzwalder�s team before he went off to
Sam was a tough motherfucker, too. Possibly the most vicious hit I ever saw was our opener Junior year, vs. Widerner, year after Billy �White Shoes� Johnson finished up there. Sam�s on the kickoff team. Hits the return man, a guy we had met down at the
Sam�s bridgework just added to his aura. Three front teeth off the top row. After one party later that year, Sam came to my apartment on the following Sunday morning. I didn�t know where my car was, didn�t know where my keys were; Sam didn�t know where his teeth were. We go back out to the scene of the party. My car�s there, keys in the ignition�Sam�s teeth are on the roof.
Sam got married after his sophomore year. He took the previous semester off from school to work construction. His boss caught him getting high. Didn�t fire Sam; just told him he couldn�t do that shit. Sam�s response was to say that he knew he couldn�t work without getting high, so he might as well quit.
Anyway, Sam�s wife was a real nice girl, very pretty, too, whose Dad was a career Navy guy�.Commander somebody. Must have wondered what the fuck he ever did wrong in life to have his daughter marry a lout like Sam. More than once we dragged Sam�s drunken ass home, opened up his front door, said hello to
Now, you�ll not be surprised to have me tell you that Sam was not a star pupil. Sam had the distinction of failing the same course twice�History of Western Civilization�he was under the mistaken impression that the same professor wouldn�t fail him twice in the same course�wrong.
You can imagine our surprise then when Sam said, �No, I studied,� and initially turned down our offer to join us in one of the all-time great cheating schemes. See�.the chairman of the psychology department at
Ah!!!! One would eventually know the right answer. If a quartet of fine students would pass the right answer to 5 questions each onto their cohorts, via foot signals, we would all be assured of at least 15 correct answers out of 20�.a solid C. To us, that was the equivalent of winning the Nobel Piece Prize, and negated any need to study. Well, three of us were in, and now Sam said, �no thanks,� he studied!!! We were in the car, over to Sam�s house to talk some sense into him. He quickly realized the error of his ways and succumbed to our collective voice or reason. Odds were that each of us would at guess at least 1 right out of our assigned 5 questions�maybe 2. One of our group even got 3 right of their five questions. The four of us, none of us scholars, all �earned� between B- and A- on this quiz, and every quiz thereafter. We kept it up next semester�..even though we lost one of our group. May be sexist�.but is true�.we let a chick into our group�.was her turn to give the foot signal�..delay�..where the fuck�s the signal??? The three of us look over�.tears coming down her face�.she wasn�t a Steelers fan�.couldn�t trust her!!
Oh�.Sam did join me for Steelers-Colts Divisional Playoffs at TRS in �75�Steelers-28 Colts-10.
OTHER LVC ACADEMICS
I was a committed practitioner of academic dishonesty, sometimes brazenly so. Had two semesters of Economics with Leonard (Dead) Wood. Turned in the same paper two semesters in a row to this guy. Got a B- 1st semester�.Dr. Wood liked it better on the second go-round. Got a B. Dr. Wood lived in the Y in
Glad I wasn�t a business major. The real jagoff of the economics department was Dr. Tom, an Asian guy. He taught Microeconomics, reportedly a hard as fuck course. Dr. Tom tells my lacrosse-playing friend, Buck Poley, before the final. �Mr. Poley�.you no have to take final�.no way you can pass.�
Philosophy was a good setup. Took it pass/fail. If you passed every exam, which were hard-ass exams, you would earn an A�..pass all but 1�you got an A-. Pass only 1�you�d get a D-�.but would pass. Night before the first exam, big party on the LVC campus. Let�s see�.could study�.or could not study. Chose to not study. Went to the LVC b-ball game, then partied�.flunked the philosophy exam the next day. Passed the next one�.got my D-�never went back to class. The prof, Dr. Heffner, not Hugh, was cool with that�.would rather have committed learners in his class.
As dense as I was in languages, I was probably equally weak in Sciences�.but needed some credits to graduate. I took Biology pass/fail�.taught by some dyke-looking younger prof, butt-ugly with a dutch-boy haircut. I had a 62 average going into the final, a D-. Auditorium seating, I sat behind my friend Bill Wienschenk, a freshman lacrosse player from
I had no idea what to major in. I liked my first English class�.and was actually good in it. I earned an A- from reputedly the toughest English prof in the college. Next semester, though, I couldn�t get better than a B- on any paper. I liked the political science classes my sophomore year, and I needed to declare a major going into my junior year�.poly sci. it was. I took Comparative Government, a boring ass course looking at the
My research of the course catalogue yielded the momentous finding that the Psychology Department had no attendance policy. That was the place for me!! There were a lot of committed students in that department, most of whom are now working for phone companies, running delis, or selling insurance. Me�totally lacking in commitment�.I�m still in the pysch business�.sort of. It was in my Abnormal Psych class, that Dr. Love, another likely dyke, had me pegged. We were reviewing the body types. Ectomorphs are skinny shits�..Mesomorphs are muscular�.Endomorphs are fat fucks. I had a tendency to add pounds in late November, going into December, after the season ended. Dr. Love points to me�.�Mr. V---here is a mesomorph�..fast becoming an endomorph.� I had the last laugh on that bitch, though. I was struggling in Abnormal, no surprise. She approached me before the final, asked me if there was anything she could do to help me, as she would not permit me to take Clinical Psych. without earning a C for the course. Our thousand-yard rusher, Frank Tavani, was selling the test for $20 (�.that�s 1,000 yards in 9 games�not bad�.considering that we also had a 600-yard rusher on the team as well). �No thanks,� I told Dr. Love, I think I�m good.� I got what I needed in Abnormal, and was onto Clinical, which earned me the privilege of doing an internship in the Mental Retardation Unit of Harrisburg State Hospital. That experience, more than any goddamn course work, prepared me for my life�s work.
BACK TO RUSSIAN
Second semester sophomore year�.last semester of Russian. We take a field trip to some goddamn Russian book store in
Two days later, we have a test. Mama says, �Haitthy�..good luck�.you take my Thussian dictionathy�I take yours.� Mama take Harry�s dictionary�.opens it up�..Harry has a bunch of shit written down�.answers. Guess what�.Harry, in his last semester of Russian, is the flunkee. Harry would need to go an extra semester to fulfill the language requirement. Harry, you stupid ass!! Why cheat on Russian!! It�s all risk; no reward. You would have passed no matter how little you knew!!
Christmas break, junior year, Mama is found dead in her
My shit caught up with me a bit�not my academic �ingenuity,� but my brazen laziness. Junior year, my roommate and I withdrew from an Education class taught by the President of the college. The night before a major project was due, we�d not yet started. Figured we could make up the credits somehow.
Entering my final semester, I needed 18 credits to graduate. In order to take more than 16 credits, you needed to have a 3.0 GPA, or special permission from the Registrar. Guess who didn�t have a 3.0 ?? (I actually finished with a 2.7�.not so bad, considering). And guess who Ralph Shay, that sonofabitch of a registrar, wouldn�t give special permission to. So, while my class graduated in May, I went back home to
My graduation from
All of these events, all of the �close arrests� detailed in the Message Board�s �Graveyard� section�all took place prior to my 22nd birthday�.going on 30 years ago. Graduate school�.all A�s for me�.all honestly. Long, strange trip�.