Removing the Pain From Hitting Books

For years now, I have been considering going back to college. My only hang-up has been--where?

Well, no more worries about that.

I used to say: "I don't have the vaguest idea."

But now I say: "I have the Vegas idea."

Now I know where I can continue my education, maybe even without doing bothersome things such as taking a test or attending a class.

There is a university in Las Vegas where, given the right circumstances, I might not need to complete homework or even spell my name right. I can sign my exams "Myke" and nobody will mind.

I also may take courses in such subjects as Understanding and Preventing of Premenstrual Syndrome, which is good news in case I am planning to earn one of those all-important Bachelor's of Women's Bodies degrees.

One teacher at a community college where some UNLV athletes take makeup courses is letting people know that her job became a whole lot less complicated once she found out that report cards came filled out in advance.

As you know, this helpful time-saver can relieve teachers of the monotony of actually handing out classroom grades themselves.

Think of the time and effort saved by not having to choose from A, B, C, D, F, Incomplete or, I Never Laid Eyes on This Kid All Term.

While teaching a correspondence course in freshman English, Vicki Bertolino says one of her students was a University of Nevada Las Vegas senior by the name of Isaiah Rider, who was "J.R." to his friends.

J.R. has many friends, partly because he has been averaging nearly 30 points a game for the UNLV basketball team, giving him the second-best point average of any collegiate student-athlete in America.

But young J.R.'s grade-point average was something else again.

Bertolino is second-guessing herself for going along with two individuals from the UNLV athletic department who, she says, arbitrarily decided that J.R. deserved a "C" for her correspondence course.

They brought pressure upon her, Bertolino says, to pass a student who had not completed his course work.

Thus bringing about today's cliffhanger question: "Who passed J.R.?"

Furthermore, the teacher is now wondering even if her student was J.R.

Had he been occupying a desk in a little red schoolhouse with a No. 2 pencil and a paste pot, Rider would have been pretty easy to identify, he being very, very tall and very, very bald.

But this being a correspondence course, Bertolino only could assume that a paper being turned in by "Isaiah Rider" had, indeed, been written by Isaiah Rider.

What disturbs Teach now is that whoever submitted the paper to her did not spell "Isaiah" the same way it reads on Rider's birth certificate.

Now, there are only a few possibilities here.

One, someone else--possibly the former Vice Presidente of the Unitede Statese--did the paper for him.

Two, Rider cannot spell his own first name, which makes me believe that J.R.'s SAT score must have been lower than his basketball scoring average. (It also would explain why he uses initials.)

Or three, this is one of those very rare handwritten typographical errors that you hear so little about.

In retrospect, the teacher also questions why there are different styles of penmanship on two separate pages.

Perhaps J.R. is ambidextrous.

Or, perhaps he intends to give up basketball and become a doctor, in which case legible handwriting is unnecessary.

This scenario could explain why J.R. received credit, not for the English course but rather for that unusual course, PMS 101.

I don't know why J.R. would have taken a course in understanding and preventing PMS and neither does UNLV Regent Shelley Berkley, who is looking into it.

Perhaps the exact nature of the course had not been properly spelled out and J.R. thought it had to do with understanding and preventing Points, Minutes and Steals.

Back when I was in school, about all we had to choose from was civics, Latin and wood shop.

Well, maybe none of this matters, because Rider is one of the best basketball players I have seen all season and he is likely to make a nice living.

Then again, if he rips up his knee or busts his ankle, he might end up suffering from Post Jockstrap Syndrome. This is a malady common to athletes who have no idea what to do with their lives once they no longer can play sports.

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