Logical Fallacies, The Mac, The Air, and a Long Hot Day


So how did yesterday’s plan go, you ask? You didn’t, well, I’m going to tell you anyway.

I posted the following comment on Facebook, early yesterday morning: 

Seemed like a straightforward list, right? Well that’ll show ya! I did drink coffee. And was in the classroom from 8am until about 1:10pm. I got the quizzes graded. That was an arduous task. The most obstreperous student on the planet, loud, arrogant, and irresponsible, repeatedly interrupted me.  The presence of this student made the simple 45-minute process of grading said quiz a nightmarish event. An intellectual marathon—who knew? Whose quiz am I grading? What question did I leave off on?

 …Post Hoc, Ad Hoc, Ad Hominem, straw man, false analogy, false dichotomy, begging the question…

I detest logical fallacies.

Can you help me find a title for my paper?

Really? We did that in class on Monday.

I wasn’t here. I don’t get here until 8:30.

Class starts at 8, said I.

Yes, but I don’t get here until 8:30. Can you help me find a title for my paper?

I’m grading quizzes, and we did that in class on Monday, at 8. Today’s assignment is to work independently on your final paper.

It won’t take you any time at all to help me. Why are you being stubborn?

I helped everyone on Monday, at 8, when class started. (I didn’t even look up).

If you help me now, I will get a better grade. I think you should try being a nice teacher, for a change.

…slippery slope, reductico ad absurdum, ad ignorantiam…

And so it went, until 1:10pm, when I packed up and left the classroom to attend my seminar/workshop. And questions followed me out the door. But, Mrs. Jones, I need to bring my grade up. How do I…

I tell them on day one not to call me Mrs. Jones—Ms. If you must. But my name is Mel, call me that. Said student was absent on the first day, silly me! I have rewritten my syllabus and classroom rules based on this student’s behavior. Thankfully, for every one student like this I have ten who leave my classroom stronger, better, more confident writers. Thankfully.

The WordPress seminar, ran thirty minutes longer than expected. Notes to be posted when I finish compiling them.

Leave campus. Call the Apple store. After too many prompts and a wait on hold that told me I was 6th … 5th … 3rd (yes it skipped 4th) … 2nd … I asked if my computer was ready. I had prepared myself for the worst, “I’m sorry Ms. Jones, we couldn’t resurrect The Mac.” I had mentally prepared myself for this. JL and I had talked about the scary cost of replacing my beloved friend; word processor, my journal, archivist, novel, textbook, encyclopedia, dictionary, photo album, stereo, DVD, TV. It would be an expensive, but necessary expense.  I braced myself for sticker shock.

But that wasn’t the response at all, instead, We repaired the operating system, and everything is fine.  You will need to replace the heat sensors, because one of them is malfunctioning, but you could go several months before that becomes necessary.

I interpreted “before that becomes necessary” as “It’s gonna crash again iffen you don’t fix this soon.” I might be paranoid. Having spent three days without The Mac had left me scarred—cynical. The cost of the repair would be under $100—but the part had to be ordered.

How long?

Could be tomorrow, could be as long as a week. The good news is that we were able to save all of your data.

I can’t be without my computer for a week. Can I come and get it? And then bring it back when you get the part? (Almost all of my data was backed up, so the loss would have been minimal. A week without access to Word at home could be devastating).

Yes, yes you can. It will run fine. The fan may kick in more often than necessary, but better to keep it cooler than it needs to be than to let it overheat. You might want to run Time Machine.

I drove across town and picked up The Mac. I am thrilled that I lost nothing, but part of me is disappointed that I’m not getting a new MacBook Pro. And by part I mean 99.9% of me. But I am back in a world with all of my music, writing, and software.

There are some things that a woman with a bad back was never meant to do. One of them is to walk across the length of a brick floored, open-air mall, in ninety-degree weather, carrying a computer bag with an iPod, iPad, MacBook Air (13in), two cell phones, school supplies, graded quizzes, and a MacBook Pro (17in) inside in 2.5 inch heels. I think this might be a commandment. Don’t judge me! There was a perfectly good explanation for carrying all of that! Previously, when I reformatted my hard drive, my gadgets stopped talking to each other. The Genius (at the Genius Bar) would make sure that all my toys played nicely together.

The hike did me in, and the rest of my list was deferred to be completed today and possibly tomorrow.

The MacBook Air is the emergency back-up rental. I need to make a decision about it. Do I keep it? Go ahead and install software? Lessen my disappointment. Do I return it (after the final repairs, of course) and walk on pins and needles, knowing that I could be computer-less at any point?

...Argument from final Consequences, Begging the Question, Confusing association with causation...

There are pros and cons, I guess; mostly money and mental security. What do you think?

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13 thoughts on “Logical Fallacies, The Mac, The Air, and a Long Hot Day

  1. Thats a lot of gadgets! That’s what I think! Have you ever seen the show Portlandia? You might find it funny when they have a breakdown bc all their apple products stop communicating. I also have to say bravo for the usage of the word obstreperous. Don’t think I’ve seen that one before..

    • I have not seen Portlandia, I don’t watch a lot of TV (actually, I watch 3 shows–all on Hulu or Netflix). I will check it out, sounds like my kind of show.

      Obstreperous is one of my favorite words. It is one of the vocabulary words I give to my students every semester. I give extra credit for using vocab correctly in papers. 🙂

      • It’s on Netflix, I don’t watch tv myself! My kids and husband hog every tv in the house!
        You would crack up, it’s all about how pretentious Portlanders are, My sister showed it to me, as a former Portlander herself 🙂

  2. Your first mistake was in thinking your day would follow the path you wanted. How long have you been around, woman? And you a writer. Fate takes a dim view of lists and planning. I loved reading your post and hope things get calmer.

    PS I do love making those lists, though…

  3. (P1) All [teachers who arm their obstreperous charges with the power of free thinking] are teachers who will be wheedle with ad-hominem fallacies
    (P2) (Mel, who teaches fallacies in her Philo class) is [a teacher who arms her obstreperous charges with the power of free thinking]
    (C) (Mel, who teaches fallacies in her Philo class) is a teacher who will be wheedled with ad-hominem fallacies

    Sorry can’t underline in premise 1 and conclusion. What a fun day you’ve had! Hope your back is ok this morning ; )

    • LOL! I WISH it was a Philo class — logical fallacies are now part of the Comp 2 and Critical Thinking requirements. Makes me sad.

      And well done, by the way. I wish my students had done as well.

      My back is better, thanks.

  4. This had me laughing to the point where my husband glared, “I can’t hear the Telly!” That’s a TV. “This is more entertaining than TV,” I replied. Well done you, Mel.

  5. Great post. That’s a very detailed list. Sorry, but I have tried making them like that and they always blow up in my face. I’ve decided to keep them shorter to salvage my sense of efficiency. It makes me feel so out of control if I only get half my stuff done.

    I kept wondering, why doesn’t this student ever get there before 8:30 and, if they knew they couldn’t be there at 8, why didn’t they sign up for a later class?

    I know I’m not a morning person and I drove 90 miles each way to school. My hard and fast rule was NO classes before 9am. Sometimes it meant leaving a class until the next semester, but it was better than missing out on the Professor’s jewels of wisdom.

    I understand perfectly the disappointment at not having a good excuse for getting a new device. I have been there several times. Comfort yourself with the thought that you are being mature and financially responsible. (Or go ahead and buy it anyway, because you deserve it for being so patient.)

  6. Pingback: Lecture #114 – To do or not to do the To-Do List… « boltoncarley's Blog

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