Future, Proofed


My student loan got sold to some new company recently. So I set up automatic payments for it. So I’ve had to call my new student loan people to yell at them about screwing up my student loan payments a couple times this past week. Thing is each time I call their recorded spiel tells me “Important tax information for … 2017 … is available now through our web site”.

It’s that pause that’s got me. They recorded someone saying “Important tax information for … is available now through our web site” and then left a gap so the appropriate year could be badly sliced in. How many years did they get the guy to record for? Why didn’t they just record him saying the full sentence for each of those years? I understand their wanting to make a scheme as flexible as possible. But, like, how long would it have added to the original recording session to do the full sentence out through, like, 2040?

Do they really think they’re going to still exist that far in the future, when every corporation has been merged into a real-estate holding company with no actual assets and the only people making telephone calls are actors in historical re-enactments? And why would they care about my student loans? Do you think you’re distracting me from the projection it’s going to be seven minutes before I talk to a person? Do you — excuse me, have to go unproductively yell at someone who isn’t at fault because I can’t yell at the web site productively either. The system is stupid, but what else is there to do with it?

The State of the University


Good afternoon and I’d like to thank everyone for attending this State of the University address. I’m sorry it’s going to be a little ragged but I kind of have to patch up the parts where the Public Relations department told me I couldn’t use words like that in public. I think they’re being a little … well, I mean, we all use words like that sometimes, right? Well. Anyway.

As anyone who’s walked through the deserted wings of the main quadrangle or “quad” as I’m told by informed people who’ve met students tell me they call it knows, we have suffered an under-enrollment problem in the past few years, affecting our ability to fill such levée-en-masse courses as Grueling Calculus and the basic Great Works Of Agonizingly Boring Literature Or Maybe Movies. This isn’t just a problem at our school, so please stop writing us about it. We have taken several pro-active steps to improve population. Even as we speak we have an unmarked van driving slowly around Ann Arbor, and when they locate people who seem to be about the right age for college they swoop down with the giant nets and bring the prospective students back here where they’re to remain until completing at least five years or study or accumulating $185,000 in student loan obligations.

The first several attempts for this new plan have been a little disappointing, owing to unusually large holes in the nets, but as this new revenue stream comes up to speed we hope to be able to afford patching some of them and creating what they call a “virtuous circle” of improved student body acquisition. Ah, so that probably answers the question a lot of faculty have been asking me about why some of the students have long ropes tied to their ankles.

Continue reading “The State of the University”