Friday, February 29, 2008


The university has this big unsanctioned, unapproved holiday that all the students call “Unofficial”… as in… Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. Supposedly the local bars started this several years ago because St. Patrick’s Day (typically a big drinking holiday for stupid Americans) invariably falls during Spring Break when all the students are gone. The bars felt they were losing money because students were getting drunk in Puerto Viejo or wherever it is they go on spring break, so somehow this “Unofficial” was born. I never really remember it when I was an undergrad here; I think its just reached epic proportions in more recent years. Some people skip class to party, some people come to class falling-over drunk, decked out in green St. Patrick’s Day themed costumes. As you can imagine, professors hate this holiday. The university has done some mealy-mouthed things to try to put the smack down, but it seems to keep growing instead of dissipating.

At any rate, I was a little nervous about this holiday. This year it was to be an especially big deal, because whoever decides these things had placed it on Leap Day—a day that only comes once every 4 years. The students have been talking about this for weeks, obviously the excitement was high. All sorts of university warnings were issued to instructors, such as, “Call 911 in the event of an emergency.” Yeah, I guess I wouldn’t have figured that one out on my own….

So I was a little nervous about today. I had originally planned on giving the exams back today, but pushed that back to last Wednesday in order to avoid inciting antagonism when students were likely to be drunk. Less than half showed up for class today, and at least one of them had had a few. But he’d told me ahead of time that he’s a friendly drunk, and true to his word, he was.

All in all, class went really well. It was such a small group, and we were able to joke around while learning some about Apolipoproteins too. At least I hope they learned some things about Apolipoproteins. They were all asking me if they could get extra credit for coming to class today, and asking me to put something on the test that only they would know and the absentees would never guess. They said I should tell them some random fact about myself and put that as a question on the exam. After some brief consideration, I thought that maybe I could do that, so I asked them what they wanted to know. They thought for a moment and then one student asked if I had favorite monkey while I was in Nicaragua, and if so, had I given it a name.

Perfect. So I told them all about you-know-who, and they seemed to enjoy my stories (and impersonation). I told them not to mention this monkey to the other students and I will reward them for coming to class today by giving them the following extra credit question (which they’d all better get right): What is the name of Melissa’s favorite monkey? ______________________. I know that everyone reading the blog knows this answer!! Let’s see if the students can remember this and get it right! Thanks for reading.


Logan's Mama said...

Wow, the "unofficial" sounds like it has grown to epic Mardi Gras proportions. They certainly didn't have that back in the olden days when I was there. Bravo to the brave attendees who came to class and what a great idea to test your favorite monkey on the next test. The semester will be winding down before you know it :-)

Anonymous said...

Glad you survived the 'unofficial' holiday and only had HAPPY, HARMLESS DRUNKS, attending your class. and no one PACKIN a GUITAR CASE!!!!!!!!! Hope your 'next' quiz , and the extra credit question, tweeks the interest of those , who missed the STORY HOUR today!!!! Hang in there. luv you, foxy mama

Jodi said...

As you can imagine, this "holiday" is not a favourite one of Andrew's. Here's the letter he sent to the DI (which they published) a few years ago:

Anonymous said...


amypfan said...

This cracks me up, because my sister was here visiting this weekend, and I overheard her on the phone asking one of her friends if he had a good time at "Unofficial." I was wondering what that was, but now I know. Do you have to deal with the joys of 4/20 too, or is that largely a high school "celebration"?