Monday, February 7, 2011

College Age – Follow the Leader

College Age:  A journal entry (required) for a group project (required) that I was part of in my twenty-fourth year of community college (voluntary).

Follow the Leader

It had to happen. It was a matter of time and a cliche. Somebody was going to crack. Wednesday someone did. Suzy Q. Student made a suggestion during a meeting of the student editorial board, got shot down, lost her temper, resigned her position, turned her laptop on, and started to shop for tongue studs online.  

            I believe that all group work follows a predictable algebraic equation which can be depicted in this way:  72xy + (- 8/3pdq) (666xyz666) – whothehellcares X upyours = TWO.

            Another way that this paradigm can be understood is in the following outline: 

 1) Let’s Re-Write the Dictionary—Backwards (Irrational Optimism Phase)
 2) But I Wanted to be Queen (The Power Struggle Phase)
 3) The Horse Latitudes (The Dead Horse Corpse Phase)
 4) ACTUAL WORK (Where two people will do all the work, three people will watch the work being done, one person will pout, and one group member will disappear but their photograph will be posted on the wall of the missing at Walmart)
5) Didn’t I tell you that everything would be pretty close to okay phase?

            In my opinion, the editorial staff of this year’s literary magazine “The Alchemist” has reached the horse latitudes of the group work experience. In the early days of exploration, the horse latitudes were those areas of the great oceans, near the equator, known for killing heat and little to no wind. When the horses, brought by the early Spanish explorers to help them loot entire continents, died because of the oppressive heat the animal’s bodies were dumped overboard into the ocean for chum—thus the horse latitudes.

 I believe we have reached the horse latitudes phase of group work. Our destination is still in front of us, but we don’t seem to be getting there fast enough and we’re hot and sweaty. It is at this point that someone always breaks and may feel dumped cruelly over the ship’s railing into an uncaring ocean.

In fact, considering the challenges the editorial board has faced this semester (health concerns and family challenges) we are still on schedule. We’re in the doldrums; that’s all.

            My contributions to the group project consist of the actual heaving of the dead horse corpses over the side of the ship and useless suggestions that no one listens to.

             My plan for accomplishing my portion of “the group project” include: editing the creative non-fiction selections for Monday over the weekend; purchasing a sketch pad for the mock-up of the magazine; working on additional artwork; washing Ploodle (my wee dog); not cooking anything for anyone; working on several novels (all at the same time); writing a sample mission statement; going off on verbal tangents and rants while scrubbing toilets; spreading mulch; wishing I had an extra set of eyes that could read twenty-four hours a day even when I’m asleep; and studying for another yucky algebra test.

            And that’s why I deserve an ‘A.’

Linda (Heave-Ho) Zern


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