Tuesday, April 26, 2005

blue ink (and black and green and blue again)

The bathroom of the English department at my alma mater had a poster tacked up with lots of ammendments to Murphy's Law. This being the lone decoration of a facility heavily used by English majors, all sorts of corrections had been written on the poster to fix the grammar, spelling, etc. Some of the corrections (and corrections to corrections) were funnier than the sayings on the poster.

For some reason I remembered that poster today when grading an exam. I always tell students that they should bring an extra pen or pencil to exams, just in case. This student clearly followed my advice, because on the second page the ink gradually grew fainter, only to be replaced by another color. This pen lasted a few pages more, then grew faint and was replaced by a third. In all, the poor fellow went though six pens.

I hear those snickers - no, it's not my fault for writing a long exam. (laughter)

Words Written: zero - where's my microfilm?!
Lessons Graded: almost done!


John B. said...


I used to have dreams about professors like you...they were called nightmares ;)

Give the poor souls a multiple choice exam next time!

Anonymous said...

I blame cheap pens! lol


Rachel said...

This reminds me of a copy of Beowulf (in Old English) a friend of mine had checked out of the University of Iowa library... It had gone through several generations of translating students, all of whom wrote emandations in differing colors of ink and pencil (yes, this was a library book...). In any case, we started consulting this edition while working as a group on our translations, and we would have conversations like "blue pen thinks its genitive, but faint pencil seems to think the word is dative. Green pen seems to have skipped this section." We also quickly learned that hot pink pen was rarely correct.