A Phone Call with a Former Classmate That Should Dissuade Everyone From Going to Grad School in English

A Phone Call with a Former Classmate That Should Dissuade Everyone From Going to Grad School in English

Me: “Hey man!”

Sean: “Dunstan…I’ve got a problem.”

Me: “Oh?”

Sean: “I have 25 students at this technical college. And 19 of them are from completely different countries. So they each make 19 different mistakes.”

Me: “Sucka.”

S: “It’s like the level below regular freshman. And they all hate it. It’s the fifth time most of them are taking English.”

Me: “I had one of those classes once. But it was smaller. A reading course. And they all failed. I think you gotta just wash your hands of it, man.”

S: “Whatever, I don’t even know what to do with them. I have them read an essay, write reflections, and then for discussion, we stare at each other for long periods of silence.”

Me: “Is it a shitty school?”

S: “Nah, I mean, it’s great for culinary or automotive stuff.  They have a waitlist on their video game program. But, they just collectively hate English.”

M: “Are you full-time?”

S: “No. I’m working at a background check company, too. Washington is like The Grapes of Wrath of dudes with English graduate degrees. Everyone comes out here to teach.”

M: “Did you try Phoenix yet?”

S: “No I haven’t done that one yet, but all the other online schools use my background check company for new employees. If I apply, my bosses will know I’m trying out for new jobs. They won’t be happy.”

M: “Bummer. How’s life otherwise?”

S: “Well, I’m living with my parents and dating a mother of four.”

M: “Ouch…where’d you meet her?”

S: “At the background check place. She’s normal and nice. Kinda cute. But mostly normal.”

M: “Where’s the dad?”

S: “He’s down the way a bit.”

M: “Do you like the kids?”

S: “Not really. I just like the little one. He’s kinda fun.”

Silence. Both contemplating our existences.

S: “So, Are you still teaching at that asinine town in Minnesota?”

M: “Yeah, the one thing I hate more than anything else is applying for new jobs. So I’ll stay here till something happens.”

S: “Something happens? Like statutory rape or what?”

M: “Ha! No. But till I get bored or whatever.”

S: “You know there are ways you can get out of that.”

M: “Huh?”

S: “Statutory rape. I mean, working at the background check place I’ve picked up a few things, and if you ever find yourself in a spot, you know who to call.”

M: “Um…ok, thanks.”

S: “Oops, I gotta go. Students just came in the door. We’re doing quoting and paraphrasing tonight. It’s hopeless.”

M: “Bye”

S: “Bye, Dunstan.”


Dunstan McGill

Photo courtesy Montauk Beach