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Kathy Griffin

Adventures with my Bashful Bladder

Pre–employment drug testing by Francis Storr from Flickr

Pre–employment drug testing by Francis Storr from Flickr

I was recently offered an adjunct instructor position at an art college to teach Business Media Law. When they told me that they wanted to hire me, they explained that the next step was a background check and a drug test.

A drug test. This was going to be fun.

My problem with drug tests isn’t that I worry about passing. It’s that I generally can’t pee on command.

I’ve always had a bashful bladder. When I applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy, a drug test is part of the physical. I was there at 7am and I couldn’t make myself pee until after I finished the rest of my tests. About 10 years ago, I participated in one of the Merck HIV vaccine trials. I had to take a pregnancy test before each time I was due for a vaccination. I drank tons of coffee before going to the clinic and it still took forever to get me to pee on command. After that the staff gave me a set of specimen cups and trusted me to pee at home and bring in it with me. It was weird carrying a cup of urine in my purse into the clinic each time.

Last week I got my official notice of my testing site and that I had 48 hours to complete the test. I drank a bottle of water after my morning coffee and when I started feeling a tickle in my bladder, I headed to the testing site. The gentleman with the African accent showed me to the bathroom and handed me the specimen cup with the instruction that I needed to provide at 50mL sample. I sat down in the stall and tried to think about scenes from my favorite comedians stand-up specials – like Kathy Griffin and Ellen DeGeneres. But no luck – my bladder wasn’t giving in.

I glumly told the guy that I couldn’t pee and headed back to the waiting room to drink more water and think about humorous things. I paced around the room but thought it would probably be better to sit still. No one may have concentrated more on funny things than I did sitting in that waiting room. Two more bottles of water later, I was ready to try again.

I sat down in the stall again and started thinking about Tom Green. His early stunts are so stupid and funny. They make me laugh so much.

Success! After thinking about a few of Tom’s stunts, my bladder let go. Here’s the clip I was thinking about when I was finally able to pee.

Thanks Tom!

Still Demanding the Maximum Value for my Tuition

Every time I think about how much I’m paying to go to law school, my head starts to hurt, my stomach gets queasy,and I’m not sure if I’m going to throw up or pass out.  Last semester, I paid over $9,800 in tuition and fees and I expected the full value for my money.  This fall, the cost just for tuition alone is $10,630 ($4,255 for graduate school tuition + $6,375 for law school tuition).  With the cost of law school tuition on the rise nationwide, every time the institutional powers that be raise my tuition, I in turn raise my expectations.  I had to do the math to see how much I’m paying for this semester’s experience.

This semester I am taking 16 credits of class – 5 regular classes and a 2-credit externship.  I am paying $664.375 per credit.  Here’s the break down for each of my classes.

Criminal Procedure, Copyright Law, and Cyberspace Law are 3 credits each.  They all meet twice a week for 85 minutes.  Each course is valued at $1993.125, $76.66 per class, or $0.90187 per minute.  The cost to attend one of these classes is more than the price to see Kathy Griffin live.

Trademark Law is a 3-credit class, but we only meet once a week for 175 minutes.  This class is valued at $1993.125 for the course, $142.37 per class, or $0.81352 per minute.  Going to this class once is more expensive than buying a lower level ticket on the 50-yard line at an Arizona Cardinals game.

Privacy is a 2-credit seminar class that meets once a week for 115 minutes.  Its value is $1328.75 for the course, $110.73 per class, or $0.9629 per minute.  Going to class is about what I pay for a pair of running shoes.  I have a friend who recently paid about this much to see Lady GaGa in concert and sit in the nosebleed section.

My externship is basically a class where I pay to work for a judge or agency.  To earn 2 credits, I have to work for 120 hours.  I’m paying $1328.75 for this experience or $11.06 per hour.  Working for them for an hour is more expensive than going to a movie.  This is my least expensive class from an hourly perspective, and it’s still a lot of ramen.

If I am paying this much to sit in a classroom, I expect the value of the experience to be equal to what I could be spending my money on instead of tuition.  Last semester, I wanted the academic equivalent of glitter, fanfare, and dancing girls.  This semester with the increase in tuition, I expect an even higher value.  I still want glitter, fanfare, and dancing girls, but this semester I want the academic equivalent of skydiving too.  I want to be so entertained and engaged by my professor’s stories and explanations that I forget that I’m in school, overworked, exhausted, and stressed.

Last semester I didn’t get the value of my tuition and I unsuccessfully demanded my money back.  As students, it’s frustrating that we don’t have much power over the classroom experience besides dropping a course when the professor or the class doesn’t meet our needs.  For the most part, I have been happy with my law school experience, but I will ask for my money back if I feel like I’m being ripped off.  When I demanded my money back from the law school, I was told that I had to seek compensation from the university.  I wonder how the president of the university would react if he received a demand letter.

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