When it comes to college, you think you’d just get to show up, tell someone what you wanted to be, and then they’d tell you how to be one of those things. When I got into college, I had wanted to pursue a career making movies, because, I mean, I make so many funny videos with my friends! That makes me a filmmaker, right?! I’m so talented! Unfortunately for me, but luckily for the entertainment industry, things don’t really work that way. I didn’t get into a film school, but instead ended up getting accepted into my third choice school. Since this was a 20,000 person state school, the closest thing they had to a degree in “film” was some sort of certificate bullshit. Really? Just a trophy for taking some film classes or something? Congratulations, buddy! You get a gold star for watching a lot of movies! However, at that time, it seemed like my only option, and this certification was through the Communications department. I’m going to major in…communicating! That’s fantastic! I have a lot of experience in communicating, I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid! This is a SURE thing. Sadly, there’s no such thing as a “sure” thing, especially at a giant state school where every dipshit knows how easy and broad a degree in Communications is. How does this information tie into the story? It means that I spent my first five or six semesters having no goddamned clue what I was going to major in, so I tried taking as many general education classes as I could to meet any sort of requirements. From classes on film to entomology to astronomy to fish hatcheries to acting to Latin to philosophy to…I guess you get the point. Also, I can’t really remember all the bullshit I took! What’d you expect me to do, remember my college experience?!
Because I was only taking these general classes, and a lot of other friends of mine were looking for general classes, we would try to find things we liked and tried to take classes together. Considering these were lecture halls with 500+ students, it was easy to fuck around without anyone noticing. Well, unless you’re me, and you STILL find a way to be so distracting that the teacher kicks you out of class, but that’s a tale for a different time. In the fall of 2005, my friends and I managed to synchronize our schedules so that there were at least eight of us in one class. Although I can’t remember the name of the class exactly, it was along the lines of “Something something Witchcraft something history something something witches”. A CLASS ABOUT WITCHES? SIGN ME UP. It felt insane that I could go to school, COLLEGE no less, and spend four months talking about witches.
This class was known casually amongst our friends as “Witch Class”, for obvious reasons. The first day of class, we noticed something strange about our teacher: she had a dog with her. WHAT KIND OF FUCKING CLASS IS THIS?! THERE’S DOG’S IN HERE WITH US?! While addressing the lecture hall, our professor explained that her dog, who was a boxer (the breed, I don’t think she was a professional fighter nor the titular character of a Daniel Day Lewis film), was her “familiar”. Apparently a “familiar” is an animal that you can trade spirits with or part of your familiar’s spirit lives inside you or I DON’T KNOW, THERE’S A FUCKING DOG IN THIS CLASSROOM.
On our syllabus, our professor included her email address. There was a note along with it that read: “Grande Latte can also be reached at this email address”. By the way, did I mention this dog was named Grande Latte? WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF NAME IS THAT FOR A DOG?! Granted, I once knew a dog named “Coolio”, so it wasn’t the weirdest name I had heard, but still, what the fuck kind of a name is Grande Latte? Anyways, funny joke, we can email your dog, ha ha ha, what a great day! A few months into the course, as we were waiting for our professor to arrive, some stranger showed up. They were what some of you might call a “substitute”, but what I call it is “a person who didn’t bring a dog to class, who the fuck is this asshole?” We didn’t get an explanation as to where our professor was, or more importantly, where Grande Latte was.
The absence of a dog caused all of my friends and I to grow concerned. That weekend, a couple of my friends came over to play videogames and eat pizza and probably talk about MySpace or something, and I ended up at my computer. I mentioned how we should email Grande Latte to see where she was. My friends thought this idea was HI-LAR-IOUS, which essentially meant I was triple dog dared into actually writing an email….to a dog…through my professor’s email address. I can’t remember ALL of the specifics of what I said in the email, but I was basically saying that I hoped our professor was okay and that we hoped she’d be back to class soon. And since I was emailing this to a dog (did I mention that I was emailing this to a fucking DOG?), I added the caveat of “In case you don’t read English, I’ve translated this message into words that a dog might understand”, and proceeded to alternate between typing “bark”, “woof”, and “arf” until I got what looked like enough words for a proper translation. That’s another thing, it wasn’t enough to just EMAIL the dog, but I wanted it to look like a believable translation. And who said I shouldn’t be in the Communications department?! My friends and I all had a good laugh as they saw me actually hit “send” to my professor, the one responsible for my grade, and then we all kind of forgot I did it.
The point of the whole thing was just to make ourselves laugh, and I didn’t think anything would actually ever come of it. Boy, was I wrong. A few days later, I received a reply from my professor. Well, I guess technically it was “from” Grande Latte, but she said right there in the email that she had asked her familiar to type the message on her behalf. Surprisingly, the professor played along, saying how nice it was to hear that someone missed seeing her in class, and then started saying something about the professor stomping around with loud poles or some crazy nonsense. I later found out that Grande Latte (a dog, by the way) was trying to say that the professor had hurt her leg and was required to use crutches. NOW it’s all making sense! I really have to give the professor some credit, because she probably read that email and thought I was super-duper high, or just a complete moron. I guess she could have thought both, but I’m no mind reader. I think I replied with something short, something like “Looking forward to having you come back!” to at least let her know I wasn’t a psychopath and also to indicate that I didn’t actually think I was talking to a dog.
We had class the following day, and I have to say I was a little nervous. I don’t know why, but it’s always just kind of awkward for me to have any sort of interaction with anyone on the internet and then see that person in public. Mind you, there were a few hundred other people in class, so it’s not like the professor would recognize me, but what if Grande Latte could sniff me out? Turns out I was apprehensive for no reason, as nothing weird was said or done by anybody. IF ONLY THINGS COULD HAVE REMAINED THAT WAY.
By the time the next class had come around, I had relaxed. I was no longer nervous because I had seen both my professor and Grande Latte, and neither of them recognized me. Our professor was going on and on about witches and Satan’s dick or whatever else she would typically ramble on about and then, completely out of nowhere, she said, “Blah blah Satan’s dick–by the way, is [REDACTED] here? If you’re here, could you raise your hand?” So, being put on the spot, I raised my hand. Instinctively, everyone in the class looked towards the person who had their hand raised (me) out of curiosity as to why the professor was singling me out. Once enough time had passed for everyone to say, “Get a load of THIS guy!”, while elbowing their friend in the ribs and gesturing with their thumbs, was when my professor finished her statement: “Oh, there you are [REDACTED]. Grande Latte wanted me to thank you for emailing her over the weekend, it cheered her up!” What does this mean, dear readers? It means that all 500 people in this lecture hall knew that I spent my weekends emailing a dog. A fucking dog. I’m not ashamed of myself, I’d email another dog in a heartbeat. The real point I’m getting at? If you’re planning on emailing a dog, keep in mind your professor might call you out in front of an entire lecture hall, and if you do email a dog, make sure you have something good to say. No one wants to waste a dog’s time. They’ve got way too much shit going on as it is.