Code, nerd culture and humor from Greg Knauss.

So it's 1991 and I'm twenty-three and I'm suffering through the final lecture of what is undoubtedly the single worst class I've ever taken in my life. It's been a long, slow, senseless quarter and the professor has seen fit to top it off with a long, slow, senseless lecture.

"Just try listening, for a change," my TA told me before the class. "Just sit up front and try listening."

And so I'm trying. Gritting my teeth and trying.

The professor, Ramon Gutierez, hates me. He doesn't actually know me, but he hates me on principle, since I'm white and male and heterosexual. He's spent ten weeks carefully explaining how much he hates me and how I -- me, personally, to hear him tell it -- am responsible for all the suffering, everywhere.

Mr. Gutierez is ostensibly teaching us about the culture of the Chicanos, from Mexico to the American West. What he is in fact doing is venting his personal political vendettas all over the podium. The only innocents, near as I can tell, are infant lesbian Chicanas.

It's about half an hour into a fifty minute lecture and I've been listening. Oh, have I been listening.

"...and so, I would think, it should be perfectly obvious that the domination -- the continued domination -- of the Chicano people is a crime largely perpetrated by European invaders, almost entirely male. Indeed, this domination is so prevalent, the emphasis on male power so completely ingrained in your society, that even the most powerful weapons mirror it. Phallo-centrism appears even in the design of nuclear bombs."

And there's a pause. I'm about ten rows back, buried in a room filled with four hundred people. So I shout.

"That's ridiculous!"

The professor looks up from his notes, at me -- he's got good ears, I'll give him that. He tilts his head forward a bit, looking over his glasses, and says, "Well, then, why are they shaped that way?"

I take a deep breath.

"It's a question of aerodynamics. You build a missile in the shape of a vagina, and it just. Won't. Fly."

Mr. Gutierez lowers his head back to his notes, clears his throat and continues.

Afterwards, my TA comes up to me and says, "Never mind."

I end up with a C minus.

Hi there! My name's GREG KNAUSS and I like to make things.

Some of those things are software (like Romantimatic), Web sites (like the Webby-nominated Metababy and The American People) and stories (for Web sites like Suck and Fray, print magazines like Worth and Macworld, and books like "Things I Learned About My Dad" and "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard").

My e-mail address is I'd love to hear from you!

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