Barry Smith: Irrelativity
December 7, 2009
I’m a big believer in continuing education. In fact, just last month I finally learned to pronounce “palatable.” For years I’d been saying it pah-LAH-ta-bul, but someone pointed out that it was PAH-lah-ta-bul. Cool. Next month I plan to learn what it means. We’re blessed with an amazing community college in our valley. As I flip through the CMC Spring 2010 Catalog (yes, spring classes start in the dead of winter, because higher education means always looking toward the future) I see that there’s an incredible variety of classes being offered once again. A full spectrum, in fact. Really, no kidding, top notch stuff.Except the classes that I really need don’t seem to be offered. Classes like:KEY 102: WHERE THE HELL ARE MY KEYS?Through a series of guided dialogues (“Where did you last have them?” “Did you check your other pants?” “Are those them in your hand?”) students embark on an archetypical journey, a true unlocking of a recurring mystery, posing questions that only they can answer.Prerequisite: KEY 101: HAS ANYONE SEEN MY GLASSES?HYP 113: TAKING BACK WHAT YOU JUST SAIDEver wish life had an “undo” function? Searching for the cosmic CMD-Z keystroke combo that will let you erase that inappropriate comment you just thoughtlessly blurted? In HYP 113 students will learn a simple set of hypnotic techniques, allowing them a virtual do-over. You’ll be able to replace your jackass-like behavior with saucy bon mots – at least in the mind of others … where it counts. Students should bring a pocket watch and fob to the first class.Prerequisite: Knowing what a “fob” is. And “bon mots.”ENL 125: ADVANCED PSEUDO-SPIRITUAL METAPHOREver wish you could churn out quasi-enlightened metaphors like your favorite New Age authors? Well, you can! In fact, it’s only your core belief in your INABILITY to do so that’s holding you back. Limiting, negative thoughts are like pennies placed on the train tracks of your life – you think that they’re harmless and will just get flattened into a cool trinket, but in reality they will derail your life-train time and time again – AND you won’t even be able to find the elusive flattened penny amidst the wreckage. And on and on like that.Prerequisite: ENL 120: CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE RETURNING STUDENT’S SOULMUS 255: PLAY SOMETHING ON YOUR GUITAR OTHER THAN THAT SAME BASIC BLUES RIFF YOU LEARNED WHEN YOU FIRST PICKED IT UP 10 YEARS AGO AND HAVE NEVER BOTHERED TO LEARN ANYTHING NEW SINCEHey, everybody loves the blues, but enough is enough. The guitar is capable of limitless musical expression, so why spend your life playing “duh DUH duh duhnt” over and over and over? This class will introduce a few new songs to chew on for the next decade – “House of the Rising Sun,” the bass line from “Smoke on the Water,” and most of “Wish You Were Here.”Prerequisite: MUS 230: WHY LEARN TO TUNE MY GUITAR IF I’M ONLY PLAYING BLUES?COMP 117: HOW TO DEAL WITH THE INEVITABLE REALIZATION THAT NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR BLOGIt’s been estimated that by the year 2013 every human on the planet will have at least one web log. But yours is different, right? You update yours regularly and include funny pictures. You are careful with spelling and grammar, actually spelling out words like “to” and “for” instead of using numeric substitutes. Your blog is thoughtful and insightful and, if you do say so yourself, a pleasure to read. So why are you getting, like, seven hits a month? Because nobody cares. Field trip permission slips required. Prerequisite: COMP 110: HOW COME NOBODY WATCHES MY YOUTUBE VIDEOS?EFF 102: SHUT UP, SIT DOWN AND GET TO WORK!Problems with procrastination? Read all the productivity and efficiency books you could find, but still can’t seem to get on with it? Well, maybe you need to take a class! Students will engage in open discussions about how much they have to do, how little time they have to do it, and how hard it is to getting around to doing it. Optional meetings on evenings and weekends if students feel further discussion is required. Provide the text of your choice, and be prepared to read aloud.Prerequisite: EFF 101: HOW TO SPEND A WEEK ORGANIZING YOUR STAPLER
For more Barry, go to http://www.barrysmith.com. His column appears Mondays in The Aspen Times.