I have a class in which the students are desperately seeking personal information. They don't seem to have an ulterior motive. They are simply trying to categorize me so that they may find a way to make sense of my eccentricities. I think.
During the guided practice portion of the lesson, or, for you lay people, the worksheet, one will thoughtfully pose a question. After all ruminate on the response, another will venture an inquiry. I am not above pulling a collective leg or two. It goes a little something like this:
"Where did you go to college, Mrs. Thevictorian?"
"I went to Southwest Missouri State University. SMSU. But it doesn't exist now. They changed their name after I graduated. I was that smart. The whole college had to change its identity. Now it goes by Missouri State."
They looked at each other, foreheads wrinkled like so many adorable Shar-Pei puppies. The unofficial spokesman called my bluff. "No. Really. Where did you go to college?"
"Why do you want to know? Are you insinuating that I never went to college? That I, perhaps, obtained my diploma from some South American paper-mill by mail-order?"
"What year did you graduate?"
"I bet you'd like to know. Because even with rudimentary math skills, I'm pretty sure you could deduce my age with that statistic." I like to increase their word power. Spokesman kept up.
"Give us a range. Within ten years."
"Why? So you can get fake credentials and write the college and ask for a copy of my transcripts? I don't think so."
"How about your social security number?"
"A blood sample?"
"No. You don't need to be analyzing my DNA."
"We don't even need a blood sample. All we need is a strand of hair. Or two."
"I think I'll feel it if you pull out my hair."
"All we need is something you've touched. We can get your water bottle that you throw away at lunch."
"Go for it."
"Actually, we have a source. All we have to do is ask your son."
"Bwah, ha, ha! He'll never tell. That boy likes to eat!"
"We'll get back to you."
Today Spokesman entered the class with a statement. "I know how old you are. My source told me you are XX years old. And you just proved it. You are XX years old."
"I'm not sure how I proved it. I did not even have a chance to respond. But I can tell you with certainty that I am most definitely not XX years old. I will pass a polygraph if necessary. Your source must be sadly misinformed."
"Well, that settles it. You are XX years old."
I suppose he was trying some kind of wacky reverse psychology. Unsuccessfully. I have a feeling that the source is ANONYMOUS. Because the age he quoted was a good seven years under my true age. Maybe I should consider myself lucky that they didn't want to cut me open and count my rings.