Professor Asks Student Basic Questions About Last Night’s Reading

Maude Lustig, Bitch With A W

“Can you summarize this article for all of us?” A chill runs down my spine at the very thought of those words. A sweat breaks out upon my brow. I look up for inspiration, down in desperation and left and right for information–all for naught. Noticing my hesitation, the professor rephrases the question:

“What was this article about? Can you articulate it in one or two sentences?” But my throat has already closed up and I’m choking, drowning, gasping for air. It doesn’t even matter if I’ve done the reading or not. Suddenly, my brain lacks the capability to form the most basic of sentences. What was the reading? What class is this? Who am I?

Academic sounding words float through my head, and I try and grasp at them like leaves in the wind. “Rhetoric”… “Analyze”… “Systems of Power”… “Hegemony”… they all seem so meaningless. Did I ever know what they meant? Or did I just use them as filler words, like seasoning on my sentence salad? There’s a high-pitched squeal, and my brain condenses into the size of a marble and slips out my ear hole. It rolls across the floor only to be crushed by someone’s Blundstones.