Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pop Rocks + Cola = a few less students to get on my nerves

So, I'm doing urban legends with my freshman class.

I don't know what possessed me. Maybe it was the ghost of that girl in the neighborhood a few years ago who was acting all crazy and vomiting and her head was spinning around and, no, honest, my cousin's girlfriend knew her.

Ah, I slay me. But, seriously, it probably wasn't the best idea.

For starters, when I mentioned that we would be taking a look at urban legends this week in class, my Vanilla Ice corner erupted into a, "Yo, I loves T.I. 'Urban Legend' is tight. One of my chicken heads got it for me when it dropped. Did you see that movie ATL, yo?"

Uh, no I didn't catch that one and not quite what I was going for anyway. But, thanks for playing, yo.

I explained to them that urban legends were a type of folklore, typically stories passed on by people who think they are true. They are exaggerated, sensationalized stories which might contain a grain of truth, but are by and large false and typically passed along for their shock value. "A friend of a friend of mine once had this happen to him."

I then proceeded to give an example of such a tale--the disappearing hitchhiker. The class, of course, erupted.

"Nuh uh! That's true! That happened to my uncle's best friend in college!"

"Liar! My sister's ex-boyfriend knew that guy!"

And so on and so forth. No amount of explanation or debunking on my part could sway their opinion that, indeed, these things did happen to 30 different people that they all knew via six degrees of gullibility.

Who says the age of innocence is over?

The topper, however, was when I asked each of them to write their own favorite urban legend. I explained it could be a story they heard growing up, or something a friend told them or, if they preferred, they could even create their own original urban legend.

Naturally, when I started reading their submissions, it turns out everyone in the class has a friend whose ex-girlfriend had an uncle who ran out of gas and ran into a house of chainsaw-wielding cannibals and that guy from Full-Metal Jacket.

Look folks, I asked for an urban legend, not your film adaptation of a prequel to a remake of a 1970s film.

Whatever. I'm gonna' go say "Bloody Mary" three times in front of the faculty restroom mirror and see if I can put an end to this cruel fate. Wish me luck.

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