A Fine Line Between “Pet” and “Pest”

I started out as such a sweet girl. A good student. Eager to learn and to please my teachers. I’m sure that more than once, I was called the Teacher’s Pet.

Throughout high school, even when I was going through my small fits of rebellion, I managed to keep it away from the school house. I made honor roll and kept my nose clean—never even going to the principal’s office. (Except that I worked in the office and occasionally had to deliver mail to the principal or vice-principal, but that doesn’t count.)

I took four years off between high school and college, so when I got to Methodist College as a twenty-two year old freshman, I was ready to learn. I had all of my foolishness out of my system.

But then, I fell in with a wild crowd…

And before long, it started to rub off on me and I started to get just a little wild…

(Okay, those were actually really sweet girls. And although we loved to laugh and have fun, we didn’t actually “party.” The top “party” picture was at homecoming and the bottom “party” picture was a fundraiser gala for a charity I worked with my Senior year.)

But I have to honestly say that in college, I was far less concerned with being the goody-two-shoes, Teacher’s Pet type I was when I was younger. And my favorite example of that was Dr. Hall’s Philosophy class…

Everybody had to take Philosophy. It was one of those things (like Algebra I and PE) that they just required of everyone. And since I went to a small, private college, we didn’t have a whole lot of choice in professors. Still, I wasn’t prepared for Dr. Hall.

Dr. Hall was, in sum, a brilliant lunatic.

Seriously! How else do you explain a man who would interrupt his own lecture to rant at the groundskeepers (through closed windows) for twenty minutes for mowing too loudly during class? Or who would cancel class allegedly to go Texas to see his stepson die by lethal injection?

And while he was a cut-up (with an adorable British accent), he never really minded when we students would join in. He fed off of our little peanut-gallery comments and some days, a brutally boring lecture would turn into a three-ring circus over which he was the benevolent and comic ringmaster. As anyone who knows me in real life can tell you, sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain and gets ahead of my internal censors and this, combined with one of Dr. Hall’s manic jaunts, turned into a disaster one morning during class.

On this particular morning, Dr. Hall was lecturing on and on about something. Students were chiming in with their regular comments, but as usual, I just sat taking notes and trying to keep up with his deeply philosophical, but highly lunatic train of thought. And then, he said it:

“My grandfather was a blue tick hound.”

He stood still and straight, gripping the lectern and staring at us under his bushy gray eyebrows.

We students sat, stunned, waiting for the punchline.

He continued.

“Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am part dog.”

As the snickers and giggles erupted around me, my mouth overloaded my censors and I heard the words coming out of my mouth.

“Don’t worry, Dr. Hall. All men are!”

The class burst into laughter and applause as my face erupted into a violent shade of magenta. I couldn’t believe I’d said it! For starters, I don’t even agree with the statement. But most of all, I couldn’t believe that I had said it aloud, to a professor, in the middle of a class, no matter how unorthodox!

Neither, evidently, could Dr. Hall. He dashed around the lectern, to the front of my row, and pointed a crooked finger directly at me and barked, “You! Get out of my class!”

The classroom went silent as I froze, staring wide-eyed at my professor. And in the blink of an eye, his stern expression disappeared, replaced by a bright smile. He turned on his heel and returned to the lectern, chirping over his shoulder at me, “Never mind, young lady!”

And we returned to the class… The class that I almost got kicked out of.

About Sarah Salter


  1. How mortifying! I would have died.

  2. Oh Sarah! I LIKE you. And I think he took one look at those eyes and knew they’d haunt him the rest of his years if he kicked you out.

  3. Priceless …. just priceless!

  4. Sarah, that was just too funny not to say.

    Of course I think I am part fish, but you should be used to that by now. 😉

  5. Ha! He had that one coming.

  6. I would have thought he was kidding when he said to get out. And how can you be upset with something funny?!

    Oh and I just have to ask, did he have a THICK British accent? 🙂

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, he seemed VERY serious when he told me to get out. And yes, his British accent was quite noticeable.

  8. I SO wish you’d actually been kicked out, The groveling you would have had to do to get back in would have made a great story!

    This really is quite hilarious!

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Peter! GAAA! I love you, too! (You’re just on the professor’s side because he’s British!)

  10. I’m still laughing at the image… Have to say my cruel sense of humor agrees with Peter.

  11. I totally would have said it, too. Kick me out or not 🙂

  12. You turned out to be a right capable little Filly.

    A teacher in high school actually used that term
    to describe me!
    I do not miss the dark ages.

    Let me know if you need help with the men.


  13. Haha! I wish I could have witnessed that! I would have been mortified!

  14. I’m still laughing at the image… Have to say my cruel sense of humor agrees with Peter.

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