Dear Kyle F. Student (not real name):
I am in receipt of your email request for extra credit. First of all, I would like to thank you for writing to ask for extra credit rather than wasting precious class time with your request. This will also spare you from being humiliated in front of your peers. Unfortunately, though, it will probably result in your being humiliated in front of numerous members of our community - some of whom will probably be members of our university community as well. Please allow me to explain.
Your extra credit assignment will be completed in five basic steps. In order to get full credit, you must complete each one of the following steps in order:
1. Buy a cardboard box and tear off a square piece approximately 12 inches wide and eight inches tall.
2. Purchase one black magic marker.
3. Using the black magic marker, write the following words on the piece of cardboard
ABLE-BODIED MAN REFUSES TO WORK
PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING I DID NOT EARN
4. Go to the Walmart on Market Street and College Road and hold up the sign at the entrance to the parking lot. Just blend right in with all the able-bodied men who are holding up signs begging for money instead of working. Stay there for approximately one hour.
5. Go home and write a 500 word description of what it felt like to ask people who work for a living to give you something you did not earn. I am especially interested in how it felt for you as a man to beg from women - especially those with small children in need of cheap food and modest clothing. Share your feelings with me, Kyle. And don’t hold back one bit. Pretend like you’re writing a Women’s Studies paper.
I predict that your reaction to this little assignment will take one of two forms. Each reaction requires a separate course of action and, therefore, must be discussed separately.
- 1. You may feel perfectly at home hanging out with the other able-bodied beggars in the Walmart parking lot.
This would not be terribly surprising to me given your behavior this semester. Recall that you once asked the following question during a test review session: “Dr. Adams, what particular cases should we focus on (emphasis mine) as we prepare for the next exam?” In other words, you actually asked me which cases would be on the exam so that you could just read those – as opposed to all the cases you were assigned this semester.
Also, recall that after I specifically told you not to disclose personal medical information to me you came into my office and announced that you were “bi-polar.” In fact, you began your sentence by saying “I know we’re not supposed to tell you this, but …”
In other words, you seem to be more than just comfortable trying to get special treatment by making people feel sorry for you. In fact, you seem to feel entitled to beg for sympathy. And you would not do it unless you thought you could get something in the process.
In short, if you decide that you feel comfortable hanging out at Walmart with the other beggars then I would suggest that you drop out of college immediately. You don’t need a degree to hold a sign and look pathetic. Save yourself the debt, Kyle.
- 2. On the other hand, you might not feel comfortable holding the sign in front of Walmart.
In fact, you might feel rightfully ashamed – knowing that you are able-bodied and can do much better with your God-given potential.
If your reaction is indeed one of shame then congratulations! The good news is that you will have earned ten points on your final average. The bad news is that it will have to be credited towards the ten points I just deducted from your average for asking me to give you something you did not earn.
Put simply, Kyle, there are two types of men in this world. There are those who spend their lives begging for things they don’t deserve. And then there are the rest of us who spend our lives working to subsidize their dependency. You simply need to decide what kind of man you are going to be.
Good luck on your assignment, Kyle. I look forward to reading your paper.