The Wisdom of Ages

Graphic Joshua Barkman

They’re a sort of time-travelling RoboCop of the classroom. They fear not the social codes that keep the rest of us strictly bound. They boldly speak where no twenty-something has dared to speak before. Yes, I’m talking about over-talkative mature students.

You know the ones. They are distinctly somebody’s grandparent. They may or may not be auditing the course. They sit, jauntily, off to the side, near the front—you know what, who cares. They sit wherever they damn well please.

They speak early and often and there are few topics upon which they do not have opinions. When they casually mention Jean-Jacques Rousseau or the American Puritans, a propos of nothing, you get the distinct sense that they may be talking about their frat buddies from back in the day.

But let’s be real. The visceral rage we all feel when that wrinkly hand stretches up for the twentieth time in a single class and the smiling professor obliges—that’s just jealousy. These people literally have no fear.

For us, the classroom is a place of rules and regulations. Don’t awkwardly sit next to a stranger if there are free seats. Don’t make too much noise when you’re eating, you disgusting, noisy chewer. Don’t show up smelling like a hobo, looking like a hobo, or begging for change like a hobo.

Whatever you do, especially don’t raise your hand so often that you turn the class into an extended dialogue between you and the prof, lest the rest of the class descend into extended murder fantasies to put an end to your questions (which are really not questions at all, just attempts to sound smart).

Over-talkative mature students don’t see these limitations. They stride boldly through them like Magneto through a set of iron bars, or Adam Sandler through a teeming mass of elementary school children.

Don’t hate them. Instead, befriend them, and ask them to impart their wisdom to you. Imagine what that kind of confidence would do for you at Reggie’s.

—Alex Manley
Copy Editor