Sure, it’s a little scary to see Dr. Martin on Zoom with his face shrouded and voice gravelly, talking about the death of all good things. Sure, it’s concerning to see him go on wild tangents about his third ex-wife or the time he lived as a sex worker in Belarus during the final days of the Soviet Union. Sure, it’s weird when he pretends not to see when students raise their hands or, when he does answer questions, emits a long string of beeps that sounds like Morse code. But at least now he can’t punch me through the screen.

My parents raised me to be honest to a fault. And even though they’re dead and buried after what the county morgue deemed “multiple bovine-induced tramplings,” the lessons they taught me live on. That’s why, when I met with Dr. Martin every week last quarter to talk about my thesis, each time he’d start ranting about how he was just inches away from tenure, I could never stop myself from speaking up and saying: “Dr. Martin, I don’t think you deserve tenure. I think you’re a big pile of meat.” And then he’d give me a good one, usually right across the cheek but sometimes on the eyes or nose.

My parents told me that everything happens for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that everything that happens feels good. So while I could put up with Dr. Martin shoving me into lockers or dunking my head in the toilet or calling me “the Piss-Goblin’ Piss Goblin,” I’m still happy that now all he can do is ruin my grades and make me take my pants off with everyone watching while the class is being recorded. Even after last Thursday’s lecture, when he made me read poetry I wrote when I was fourteen in front of the whole class, I knew he was only doing it because he was mad he couldn’t hurt me more.

And then, when the poetry was over? I private messaged him that he’d never get tenure, the buffoon. Say what you want about Zoom University, but I for one don’t miss the constant pummelings!

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