I had an ugly confrontation with one of my students.  It concerned plagiarism. 

      I was in a foul fucking mood when we started.  Plagiarism offends me worse than nuclear war and I’ve lost seven lbs. in 9 days, which is making me feel very grouchy, very grouchy indeed.  
Aside from my weird five-minute crying spell the other morning, I’ve pretty much felt made out of metal.  My favorite way to feel. 

     “Look, you’ve got to re-write this before you turn it in,” I told him.  

      “You don’t even work for my school!” he argued.  “That’s not your job!”  

       “You will be identified with or without my help.  And the further along in your academic career it will happen, the more severe the consequences will be.  I am trying to warn you.”

       “You’re threatening me and sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong!” this kid actually yelled.  “My parents hired you!  My dad’s a lawyer!” 

      I lifted out of my chair, just a little bit, and bore into him.  I don’t remember precisely what I was thinking.  I felt rage, but it was cold.  There are maybe a handful of people on this earth who get to push me around these days.  This spoiled, cheating punk is not one of them.  

      “My father’s Franz Adler*.”  Checkmate, bitch.  If my father was an idiot, he’d probably doing life in a SuperMax somewhere.  Don’t you dare underestimate me.  

      He backed down and said he had to leave early. 

      They might left me go.  But I bet the kid will re-write his paper, and keep his mouth shut.  And I will, too.  

       Even when I am most down on myself, I must remember: I do have skills.  I do have certain skills that almost nobody else I know has. 

*Franz Adler is not my father’s real name.  

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