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That One Kid In Your Class Finally Shuts Up

It’s been a long semester. On top of all of your work and activities, you’ve had to sit next to one of those guys — yes, one of those guys — in a M/W/F class. So thank God he’s finally decided, for once in his life, to shut the hell up.

Every class period, he strolls in three or four minutes late, loudly setting down his tote bag (depending on the day, it’s from either The New Yorker or an NPR pledge drive) and placing his YETI coffee thing on the desk with an audible thud. He sniffs loudly and adjusts his round-frame glasses. He just sucks so much.

When he’s not trying to interrupt the professor whenever she pauses, he’s staring intensely at the rear end of the girl in front of him or rolling his eyes and scoffing at points other people make while he does the little exaggeratedly amused expression thing.

“If I could just play devil’s advocate,” he likes to say, pushing his glasses up his nose with heartbreaking lack of irony. He namedrops Nietzsche almost every class, and you think you’ve heard him use “Orwellian” or “Kafkaesque” to describe at least one aspect of each week’s reading. You’ve become convinced that he practices condescending chuckles in the mirror when he gets dressed in his flannel/t-shirt ensemble.

Today, though, is different. You can feel it: a glimmer of hope in the air, a sense of comeuppance blowing in the wind.

Maybe it’s fate finally giving you a break. Maybe cosmic justice has been served. Or maybe he’s just hungover from drinking too much of that pretentious whiskey of his while he was “working on the screenplay” last night (which, of course, he mentions at every opportunity).

But when the professor asks that fateful question — “What do you make of this?” — your ears, trained to begin to flinch, detect an almost orgasmic silence. You turn. You see his head slumped on his desk. You hear no “Well, actually…” or “What I think the author misunderstands…” And you smile. Because he has finally shut the hell up.

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About the Author

Steve Schneible

Recovering Bethlehem, PA native. English & Psych student, PSU SHC class of 2021. Paterno Fellow. Narcissism Hour Showrunner. Kalliope Fiction Coordinator. Earnest and usually good-natured milquetoast. Baby Onward State contributor. Email: [email protected] Moderately amusing Twitter account: @steve_schneibs

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