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Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I haven't been able to post much because it's been a bit on the busy side, and that really won't end until Labor Day, but between now and then, I thought I would catch things up a bit with an amusing anecdote from one of my classes on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, our instructor was apparently not going to be able to make it to class. Just as we were all getting ready to leave, a substitute teacher showed up. We all got seated at which point he asked that we get out our workbooks so we can do logic exercises. Now it's important to note that this is the first time we have really looked at the workbook. In fact, until then, I hadn't even opened mine. We flip to page four where the madness begins; we are introduced to "Larry Logic".

As the first page is read to us, it is almost insulting how low level this book is. We are greeted with "My name is Larry Logic. If you are logical when you follow my trail of arguments, you will find out what my occupation is", followed by a series of the most child-like statements of logical argument any of us have ever seen. The class begins grumbling right away and the teacher, noticing this, asks a bad, bad question.

"What's wrong?"

Nobody wants to answer. That's a lie. Everyone WANTS to answer, nobody is willing to answer because this is one of those cases where telling the truth is a bad thing. Well, most people see that...

"Umm, this book was written for grade school children? Did the author know that big boys were going to be reading this? It's just a little insulting..."

Things went on from there for a few seconds as I mocked the book for a little while. The class laughed for a bit, the instructor blinked a few times, then moved on without comment. No sense of humor, I suppose.

We make it through the first exercise and he asks what we thought of it. Again, although we were all complaining amongst ourselves about how poor the layout was and how frustratingly bad and difficult to follow the design was, the room is silent. Well, mostly silent...

"Well, for someone teaching 'logic', the author certainly didn't employ any in the layout of this page. Half the time you can't tell where you're supposed to go from where you are at that moment, the rest of the time you can find out where you should go, but you don't know what information you should be taking there. The layout is atrocious."

The class nods along, but nary a voice can be heard as the room got less and less comfortable amidst the silence that followed my explanation. We moved on.

The next exercise had a much better layout. We made our way through it until we reached the second to last question. The questions were True/False inquiries about a defined logic chain detailed above. The second to last question was painfully ambiguous. He asked for our answer, and someone said "False" and explained why. The teacher asked if anyone had true. I raised my hand and explained why the answer could certainly be true as well, based on the ambiguous question. I explained how the question was likely SUPPOSED to read, and what the author was probably trying, ineffectually, to ask. I explained how the question would be false if it were asked properly,. but as it stood, the answer had to be true.

He stammered out a noncommittal response that didn't really specify which answer would be correct. Someone in the class specifically asked if the answer was True or False, and was met with more evasion. The individual went on to ask our substitute teacher what HE taught. The response was mortifying:

"I teach Logic, er, I teach this class."

Then he said his name. His name was familiar… so familiar, that I was filled with a sense of dread as I flipped my book shut and glanced at the name on the front cover. The last names matched. Still clinging to a desperate hope that it was some sick coincidence, I glanced back up at the instructor to see him waiting for my response. As our eyes met, he nodded his head once in recognition and said, "Yeah, that's me," then dismissed class for the day... 20 minutes after class had begun.

I am not proud to say, I virtually sprinted from that room.

Ahh, the fun of being me.