The class in question was called “Environmental Conservation.” Joe and Nick had been talked into signing up for it by their registrars. Joe’s had not only called it an easy A, but the most important class he would ever take in his life. “We’re killing the Earth,” she told him earnestly, “and only Professor Delino has the courage to speak out about it.” Whom or what, exactly, everybody else was afraid of, Joe never really figured out; he had just been enticed by the “easy A” part.
Even as a kid, Joe knew the class was light on science and heavy on politics. Back then, he kept his mouth shut and clapped along in the right spots with the other trained seals to get that A, which everybody got as far as he knew, although rumors swirled that a few College Republicans who challenged Professor Delino in class were less-than pleased with their final grades. If he wasn’t worried about screwing up the universe further, Joe would tell those students that things actually got worse on college campuses in the future.
Politics, for the most part, bored Joe, then as with now. He had never been overtly political, just skeptical and disengaged. Being of long-time blue-collar stock, his family were reliable Democrats, for all the difference that made. His dad had been out of work plenty of times growing up, and if it hadn’t been for the unemployment checks, things would have been a hell of a lot worse. And yet, Joe saw how they decreased the urgency of his father’s job hunt, something his mother complained about to dad when she thought Joe and his siblings couldn’t hear.
Altogether, politics and politicians were lumped into the same garbage basket in his mind that he kept religion, though, even as an adult, he’d never admit as much to his mother.
Nick, whose family were all small business-owning immigrants, was a different story: Besides being loud and insane, they never met a Democrat they didn’t call a communist. But Nick was hardly ideological. He was a flame-thrower, reflexively against all forms of authority . . . which made it doubly hilarious that he ended up an attorney.
His issues with Professor Delino went beyond politics, though. It was her attitude that rubbed him the wrong way, hear bearing. She was like an aristocrat slumming it so she’d be spared when the proletariat finally revolted. The scion of a well-off Connecticut family, the daughter of two national journalists and ex-wife to a famous civil rights attorney from New York City, he found her claims of solidarity with the working-class, people like his family, insulting. And the environment just seemed like another weapon in her political arsenal a tool to serve her ambitions.
It was cynical and jaded, but that was life, and nothing Joe experienced after college lead him to think any differently.
Of course, he had not been able to articulate these thoughts and feelings when he was a kid. But now, as a kid with the mind of an adult, his annoyance was amplified to an unhealthy degree. The thought of listening to her ranting made his head preemptively ache, but since he was going to drop the class anyway, he was fully on-board with Nick’s plan to do as much damage as possible with the time he had there. Continue reading “Reset: Chapter 17: Wednesday, September 5, 2001 (2)”