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Course syllabus 

LIFE

HOURS: 24 hours a day, MTWTFSS

INSTRUCTORS: Momma and Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, your last cat, your first dog, that asshole you hate, the one you loved but who didn't love you, the fella in line at the grocery store, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Prince, hangovers, cops, criminals, Orson Welles, Janis Joplin, Gandhi, heartbreak, loss, joy, children under 5, old folks over 90, Thomas Jefferson, Picasso, Loretta Lynn, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jack Daniel, Alfred Hitchcock, Sylvia Plath, yourself, etc.

REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS AND TEXTS: Neighborhood map, city map, state map, U.S. map, world map, moral compass, "Slaughterhouse 5," "Beloved," "Moby Dick," "Infinite Jest," "Their Eyes Were Watching God," "The Riverside Shakespeare," "A Brief History of Time," menus from greasy spoon to fancy schmantzy, assorted pornography, a good notebook, a cheap pen, "Budgeting for Dummies," the Torah, the Koran, the Bible, a toothbrush, decent taste in music, "The Origin of Species" and "Goodnight Moon." Additional texts and materials may be added by the instructors or as necessary.

COURSE GOAL: To graduate from this course with all your limbs, fingers and toes attached, having fixed more than you broke and having given more than you got. Being mourned by people other than your kin and/or having made things better for everyone is appreciated, but not a requirement. Making things worse, however, is exceptionally frowned upon by The University.

ATTENDANCE: Attendance and participation are mandatory, and will contribute greatly to your enjoyment of this course. The highest participation grade will be reserved for those who eventually become so bored with rote memorization and day-to-day drills — the itch for distant things growing minute by minute — that they finally summon the courage to jump to their feet in the middle of lecture, shout: "To hell with this! WAKE UP, PEOPLE!" then storm out the door in search of dark bars and secret places, tall trees and foreign towers, green hillsides and salt flats, leaving their assorted note-taking equipment behind along with their stunned and secretly envious classmates. Their studies will be done, because they will have proven to the instructors that they have learned the most important lesson: The only clock in the world that tells the correct time is the undertaker's pocket watch, and it is always ticking.

CLASS CANCELLATIONS: Shit happens. Roll with it.

EXAMS: During this course, you will be required to complete a number of exams, some of them coming in the form of unannounced pop quizzes. Topics for these exams and quizzes may include: 12-hour labor, funerals, weddings, family reunions, pickups, put downs, knowing when to call it a day, saying goodbye, found wallets full of cash, miscarriages, coming out, forks in the road both metaphorical and literal, how to tie a tie, parenthood, grandparenthood, dying bravely, how to make a decent plate of scrambled eggs, what to say when he finally tells you the truth you suspected, hurricanes, addiction, saying "Where is the bathroom, please?" in Mandarin and Farsi, changing your own oil, proper administration of the Heimlich maneuver, losing weight, taking a lover, gaining ground against all odds, standing and fighting when all you want to do is run and/or making it all the way through "Ulysses" without saying to hell with it and just telling people you read it.

PLAGIARISM: Don't do it. Nobody likes a thief, and when you die you'll be reincarnated as a sea slug.

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: If you believe you have any disability that might prevent you from enjoying or learning from this course, you're mistaken, my friend. Unless you're dead, of course. In that case, you wouldn't be reading this, now would you?

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