2:25pm: I just got outta class: some kid just had a psychotic episode and cursed out the professor.
A student with a thick red beard and aviators waltzed through the classroom door roughly five minutes into lecture and yells ‘Dale Dennet is a fucking douche-bag, who’s with me?!’, throwing up his hands as he walked and collapsed into his seat, leaving the professor staring blanking, poised mid-breath, still hunching over his lecture notes. After a curious pause, the professor, being bellicose and quite provocative, corrected the student by saying “I dont think I’ve heard that name, Dale Dennet” to which the kid replied “He’s the guy who’s actually stupid enough to believe that evolution is actually real.”
With his usual air of superiority, the professor casually retorted “Perhaps the name of the person that you’re trying to, or attempting to, reference that has got you so mad is actually Daniel Dennet, the popular contemporary philosopher, who has written “etc, that book on evolution”. Upon hearing this the student vocalized his dubiousness, arguing back and forth with the professor and saying things like, “Are you sure about that?”, “Are you sure?”, “How do you know?”, “I don’t think you know what you’re taking about”, etc., until the student grew visibly bloated with emotion.
Observing the satisfaction that the professor derived from being right and telling him he was wrong, the berate student blurted for the professor to “fucking read Chris Langin, cause he’s the smartest fucking guy alive”, to which the professor replied that he actually never heard this guy’s name and asked why should he read him, with the student replying “you wouldn’t know him or read him because you’re a god damn athiest”, to which the professor, with his hands in pocket, gave a bewildered and confused look at the kid, a look I interpreted as “what the hell are you trying to do, kid”.
But the student’s emotional discomfort continued, well past the point of boil, and the situation quickly escalated as he leaned toward the professor, postured and erect, and began yelling intermittent profanities into the silent classroom like “you’re a fuckin atheist, a fucking idiot”, “fuck you, fucker”, *pause of shock and silence*, then he yells “I win” and “fuck you”, grabs his bag and stands up, throwing up a peace sign as he passed by the prof’s face, and stomps out the door, yelling “fuck you, peace fuckers”.
Silence and incredulity blanketed the room as each person tried discerning what to make of the episode: if it was a joke, if it was a threat, if we should just continue class, if we should be alarmed. But the prof, slightly bewildered and now evidently perturbed by his own ratiocination’s on the matter, continued with small lecture talk in an effort to ease tensions and make light of the confusing and outrageous behavior.
But not a minute into talking a girl interrupts to ask if he could shut the door because, confessing coyly, she was slightly worried he might come back. At that point the prof regained some gravity over the situation and asked if there should be concern, or any reason we should be concerned, such that would require notifying the police, for instance. The class then began exchanging opinions and weighing in on the matter until a student in the far back raised his voice and vocally assured us, quite ineffectively I might add, that we shouldn’t worry because the behaviors he exhibited appear to be consistent with his past, recalling that the student had taken a leave of absence in previous semesters for similar bizarre phenomena.
Obviously, as you can imagine, this had the opposite intended effect, causing quite the consternation among students, and heightened alarms that he may indeed pose a threat, be it to us or himself or others. As these concerns percolated throughout the classroom the professor, appearing less pugnacious and more thoughtful than usual, acquiesced under the growing hysteria and, with a controlled repose, began jotting down some notes as he slowly indicated to the class that “I think we might just take the rest of the day off, and since we have off Friday, I look forward to seeing you all after break”. Then the commotion gave way like a release of breath and everyone barreled for the door to gossip about the bizarrity of the episode.