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Your Finals Week Motivation Column: How To Blow Off Assignments

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The two things I could not stand the most during my school days were classes that I had no interest in, and pointless assignments. You could throw GDIs in there as well, but it only takes a few seconds for a longboard to zip by. A shitty class drags on all semester.

The classes I hated were exactly the ones you would expect an ADD-addled, former state school super senior who currently makes a living off of dick jokes to hate. Classes having pretty much anything to do with math or science.

DONNNNN’TTTT CAAAAAREEEE does not even begin to describe my disinterest in things like fucking geology. Brown University may be the drum circle where the children of successful parents go for their Ivy League day care, but they got one thing right, no general education requirements. I would rather walk next door to Rudy’s BBQ and have the hobos rummaging through the dumpsters explain to me what exactly constitutes the perfect garbage stew* than learn about sedimentary rocks.

*Lots of rib bones, not too much creek water or you’ll get dysentery, especially if it’s from an oxbow lake, because the water isn’t running quickly enough. Oxbow lakes are diarrhea city.

As far as math goes, I stopped learning anything useful to my present life after fourth grade. Aside from basic arithmetic, the most complex mathematics I subject myself to can be found on Fangraphs. I can assure you of one thing, I’m not going to be able to help my son with his junior high math homework, but I will absolutely be able to tell him just how awful their OPS is on the junior high baseball team.

“No son of mine is going to be slugging below .500! And if you want a Capri Sun after the game then you’ll take a FUCKING walk for once! CHRIST!”

Blowing off classes was never an option though, at least not after freshman or sophomore year. If I was in a class it was because I had to take it, whether I liked it or not, so passing was paramount. However, assignments within said classes, specifically the ones that as far as I could tell served no purpose other than to provide extra points for which the professor could grade us on, were a different story. Those assignments I blew off with great enthusiasm.

When most people think of blowing an assignment off they simply think of not turning it in, or haphazardly completing it with no concern for the quality of the work. I, however, took a different route. When I thought an assignment was frivolous busy work, I wanted the teacher to know how I felt by making said assignment one big “fuck you.”

It’s not enough to not turn an assignment in. If you do that then the professor will assume that you’re the idiot, and that you’re just too lazy to turn it in. It’s far better to prove your point by turning in work so sarcastic, and so absurd, that whoever assigned it will be forced to take a step back and realize that only an asinine assignment could have produced such work.

The first time I ever gave this strategy a whirl was in a sociology class. I HATE sociology, but unfortunately sociology classes were an easy way to knock out certain general education requirements at Mizzou, so there I was. Even a class titled Social Deviance turned out to be endlessly awful. The class didn’t focus on people acting socially deviant, at least not in the way I had assumed, that being the orgy having, crystal meth smoking, Buffalo Bill types. Instead, the class defined “deviance” far more literally. “Social Deviance” just meant learning about people outside of society’s norms. That meant emo kids, the obese, whatever. It was torture. The type of tri-weekly uselessness that this class discussed was best embodied in a short essay assignment we were given about halfway through the semester. The instructions were to write about a time or situation in which we felt socially deviant, i.e. a time we felt like an outsider.

I was pretty sure I had received the same assignment once in third grade (write about a time you felt left out) and resolved to treat the assignment with as much seriousness. Unfortunately for my fraternity brother Steve, who happened to be in the class with me, I decided to throw him under the bus in the process.

The great thing about including Steve was that he sat right next to me in class, and the way we handed in papers was to pass them to the left until they reached the end of the row, at which point the papers were collected. That morning I made sure to sit to the left of Steve, so that his paper would be directly under mine when the teacher got around to grading them. I also wrote the most ridiculous story I could think of in the prose of a third grader, which I believed was an appropriately-aged voice considering how absolutely fucking stupid the assignment was.

Unlike sociology, I actually enjoyed courses such as Writing For the Media. It was in my major and it was a relatively creative class. But it was also a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class, and it was in the morning.

One fateful Friday morning, when the inside of my head felt like someone had jammed a giant shard of glass through my temple, and most of my energy was being allocated to trying to contain the heinous hangover farts that were the product of whatever skunked beer Harpo’s had used for quarter draws the night before, the TA gave us an in class assignment that was infuriatingly stupid.

The class was tasked with writing a movie pitch. Why? Fuck it! That’s why! Write a movie pitch in twenty minutes, by hand, and turn it in. Those were the instructions. It was a useful lesson for never, unless you’re Adam Sandler.

Again, I felt obliged to convey just how awful this assignment was, and in the most sarcastic way possible. I decided to come up with the worst movie idea I could think of. After reallocating some of my fart containment energy to the movie pitch, and letting a few noxious reminders of my disgusting alcoholism slip, I had crafted the worst movie idea of all time. It was a film about a boy who can talk to mummies, fighting aliens, scored by a then Top 40 Madonna/Justin Timberlake hit song.

It was treated with every ounce of seriousness it deserved. Sadly, Happy Madison is looking into producing it as a romantic comedy.

If you encounter any last minute busy work, an essay question that is infuriatingly awful, or just feel like giving your teachers one last “fuck you,” I highly recommend this strategy. They might not even understand what you’re doing, but dammit it’s satisfying anyway. You could also have a pledge take a shit on the professor’s doorstep. To each their own.


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