Welcome to another episode of CAL POLY CONVERSATION THEATRE (“Where the art of coherent speech comes alive, and is riddled with bullets soon afterward”). As you know, this is the show where conversations spoken by Cal Poly students, faculty, employees, and the occasional wandering hermit with a minor criminal background are reproduced for all to witness, analyze and critique. Mostly critique.
Let’s get on with the show! Our first conversation was spoken by a male and female student as they walked near the library between classes. As you read through the text, pay close attention to the depth and breadth of topics discussed.
MALE STUDENT: Oh, hey FEMALE STUDENT, what’s up?
FEMALE STUDENT: Oh wow, MALE STUDENT, I didn’t expect to see you. What did you do over the weekend?
M: I went over to my buddy’s place and we had a party.
F: Oh wow, I love parties!
M: Yeah, me too. They had a few kegs and lots of people were there.
F: Oh wow, that’s cool! I like parties!
M: I didn’t know all the people that were at the party, but I knew some of the people at the party.
F: Oh wow, I like parties best when I know people at the party because then I can talk to my friends.
M: Yeah, I like to hang with my friends at parties because they’re my friends. I didn’t know that many people at this party.
F: Oh wow, one time I was at this party where I didn’t have many friends at the party, and the party wasn’t very fun because I didn’t know the people who weren’t my friends.
M: We had a few kegs at this party, but I didn’t know that many people at the party.
F: Oh wow, but the party I was at with my friends, those types of parties, I like it when I’m with my friends because then I can talk to my friends at the party that my friends are at.
M: Sometimes when I’m at parties that my friends are at, I can talk to my friends at the party, but this party I couldn’t talk to that many people because they weren’t my friends but we had a few kegs at this party.
F: Oh wow…
The conversation continued, eventually covering topics such as the parallel between today’s news media and the propaganda of the Nazi regime along with the widening gap between the rich and poor in post-modern American society. No, that was a lie; I was just lying when I said that. Our next conversation is one that occurred between myself and a fellow student after class one morning.
CONFUSED KID: Do you think that Mary Shelley was being racist against Germans because she named the monster Frankenstein (a German surname) in her novel “Frankenstein”?
ME: Uh … Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster. The monster has no name. I don’t think the goal of “Frankenstein” was to fuel racism. More like explore the nature of humanity and the role of scientific ethics in an increasingly modern world.
CONFUSED KID: Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m saying.
Sometimes I believe such conversations are actually people trying to test me. Surely, this kid couldn’t be serious. (He was, and don’t call him Shirley.) That conversation actually ended with us shaking hands and exchanging names. Apparently we’re friendly acquaintances now. Life sure takes you on some annoying, stressful, vomit-inducing turns!
Our final conversation is not necessarily a conversation per se, but an excerpt from a presentation by a biology student to a group of 150-plus non-biology students explaining natural selection in layman’s terms:
BIOLOGY STUDENT: Survival of the fittest … is when the fittest survive.
That statement was about as redundant and unnecessary as a statement that is unnecessary and redundant. Back in the “Frilly Collars & Powdered Wigs” era, folks could only use cultured forms of communication like letters, face-to-face interaction, and snobbish laughter. But with the advent of the Internet and text messaging, the art of coherent thought has been reduced from “Four score and seven years ago…” to “A whole lot of while back…” Well, as long as the meaning still remains, right?
Next time on CAL POLY CONVERSATION THEATRE: A female student debates the boost she plans to add to her Lucy’s smoothie, a male student interrupts a lecture (the professor’s response: “talk to me after class”), and two library employees talk obnoxiously loud about their childrens’ hobbies while students attempt to study in silence.
(Author’s Note: Conversations may have been heavily edited for humorous timing. Names have been changed to protect the dignity of the speakers in question. Seriously, I would feel incredibly sorry for anyone whose actual name was Female Student, though that would probably be a good conversation starter.)