Syllabus For Calculus If Your Professor Is Justin Timberlake

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ASSIGNMENTS:

All homework is due at beginning of class. I will not tolerate tardiness. When I was a member of *NSYNC, each member was responsible for turning in a fresh set of lyrics at the beginning of practice on Mondays. Lance Bass used to stroll in late and hand in some last-minute napkin scribbles about flying to the moon. Nuh-uh! Not gonna fly with JT. I’m all about punctuality.

STYLE:

I’m not just going to straight up teach you The Maclaurin Polynomial of a differentiable function. I may break out into dance midway through lecture, and that may teach you more about this subject than me writing on a blackboard ever could. And maybe, just maybe my falsetto vocals are not for your pleasure alone but also to impart a valuable lesson on rationalizing substitutions.

PROCEDURE:

I may bring my girl into class, and she’ll sit in the corner and admire my lecturing. Don’t act all crazy because she’s some famous, hot lady in your class hall. Treat her normal. I’ve noticed a lot of times students try to make big deals out of little things. Last semester I asked my girl to pass me an eraser for the blackboard, and she got some chalk dust on her dress and rolled her eyes at me. Rumors spread around campus that we were breaking up. Guys! It is like you need to make up juicy stories for your own amusement. Can’t we just be a superstar couple, one who teaches calculus and the other who sits in admiration, without it generating gossip? Maybe this semester, if you’re all cool, I’ll call on my girl to act out a solution to a difficult calculus problem! Maybe I’ll get her to demonstrate vertical asymptotes. You never know!

If a piano is in the classroom when you first enter the hall, please do not play on the keys. They have been specifically tuned for me! If you do disturb the tune, then I’ll have to fly Maurice back in from France and he’ll have to retune the instrument. This will frustrate me, and there are two consequences. One: my calculus lesson may not be as entertaining as usual. Two: It may inspire me to write a song about how my calculus class broke my heart that will eventually earn me a Grammy nomination.

Sometimes I will play pranks on you guys. For example, I might put an eraser on my head, and then use my acting skills to pretend I don’t know where it went. And I may ask you, “Where is my eraser, guys?” It is just me acting loose and crazy. Please don’t take any pictures or video of me with your cell phones while I’m clowning around. The paparazzi would use the photos to cook up some insane story — probably say I’m on drugs and that I just got through impregnating someone. If you do take a photo of me in a compromising position such as with an eraser on my head, and I find out it was you who did so, this will result in the deduction of a full letter score from your final grade in the class.

If you guys don’t understand a particular equation, I may write the solution into the lyrics of a song. “I’m bringing sexy back!” could easily turn into “I’m bringing three-dimensional coordinates back!” Not only do I want you to learn, but when you do calculus I really want your body to be grooving. I want you guys to swerve and move your head and shoulders to the formulas I present.

EVALUATION:

It should be known that I highly value creativity. Sometimes I honor it above correctness. For example last semester, I put this question regarding implicit differentiation to my class: find dy/dx if

x2 + 3xy + y2 = 1

A student answered, “I don’t care, and it don’t matter.” Then he started tapping his desk and making this really ill beat. I lost it and had to break out some dance moves and cook up some fresh lyrics. He aced the class.

Much love,

Professor JT

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Replacing Your Father

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Hi, kids, I’m glad you’re still up. What’re you watching? Leno? I hate Leno. Anyway, where’s the little one? Well, go get her, too; I have something to tell you all.

Kids, no one can ever replace your father. No one. Do you understand me? You only have one father, and he is gone to Florida with his new fiancée with the oily skin. No one can ever replace him. But this is my new boyfriend Bill, and I’d like him to be the one to replace your father.

I met Bill a few hours ago, at Stages. As you know, tonight was “Ladies Get in Free Night” until 10, and I got there at 10:08, and the bouncer was all, “Oh, now you have to pay.” So while I was arguing with him — I was parking, I mean, God — Bill here stepped up and offered to pay my cover. I knew right away he was a keeper.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, kids, but before I brought him back here I asked him some pretty tough questions, questions I thought might reveal his true personality and character. I found out some really great things, like — you’ll love this, kids — Bill actually played minor league baseball for some years. How many years was it, Bill? Two? Two and a half?…Two. Two whole years in Trenton on a farm team. Your father never got paid to play anything. So there’s one reason why he should replace your father.

Any other points you want to make, Bill?…Well, kids, now Bill is claiming he can take your daddy in a fistfight. I don’t know about that, Bill. Their daddy is 6′ 2″ and in pretty good shape. I’m not saying Bill couldn’t beat up your daddy, kids — I don’t want to contradict him in front of you, since we’re trying to present a united front as parents, here — I’m just saying we’ll never know until we watch them go toe to toe, punching each other.

I should also mention that Bill is quite the kisser. Although we haven’t gone all the way around the bases, we did engage in a passionate make-out marathon in his pick-up truck for about half hour before we came inside to talk with you. Based on that experience, I expect him to be a great lover. I will let you know shortly. Now, I realize this isn’t a direct benefit to you, but in deciding whether or not to accept Bill as your new father, you should take this into account: if I am in a better mood because of the erotic pleasure Bill dishes out, then I’ll be kinder to you. Maybe I’ll surprise you more often with trips to Pizza Hut, or let you turn on the hose in the backyard when it’s hot. All the things we used to do sometimes back when you had a father who was in the house and sleeping with me.

What’s up, Bill?…Ah, Bill is rethinking his wager that he could punch out your dad. Kids, I want you to pay attention, because Bill is showing humility. That is a quality to be admired. He is admitting a weakness to you. That takes courage. He is saying that he has a problem challenging six-foot-two, athletic men in fistfights. Although no one can ever replace your father, Bill is absolutely trying to do so. And I am rooting for him to succeed.

Now, I should observe here that Bill does not work. Please don’t ask Bill if he works because he does not work, and he does not like talking about not working. Bill! does! not! work! Nod if you got that. Okay, so that means he won’t be able to buy your love like most replacement daddies. Don’t expect Playstation 2 or X-Box. But that means you’ll get quality attempts to win your love, like Bill coaching your softball team or driving you to Cub Scouts. No job and no money means more time to spend with you guys, and I think we can all see the advantage of that. What’s that, Bill?…Okay, that’s fair, I should point that out. Kids, remember that sometimes Bill may parent you in less obvious ways. Maybe he won’t volunteer to coach your baseball team or drop you off at karate, but he’ll still be there, supporting you, like a dad should.

Make no mistake: Bill will never be your real father. He simply can’t take the man’s place, biologically speaking. He will try to act like a real father, though, and I will make you feel guilty if you don’t immediately accept him as a replacement father. I will expect you to call him “Daddy.”

No one’s trying to take the place of your real father. We only want you to love Bill and treat him like your real father who is replacing your real father, yet not the exact same person, but better in some ways than your real father. Do you understand?…I’m talking to the kids, Bill. I hope you understand that Bill will never be your real father, but for all intents and purposes he will replace your real father, to be loved by you as children love their father and to please me sexually as husbands please their wives, and ultimately to make us all forget about your real father who now lives in Florida with his oily-skinned fiancée.

So, kids, Bill is ready, willing and fully able to stay in our house, emitting the aura of a stranger while engaging you in awkward conversations. He will slip into the role of authority figure without ever earning your respect, but he will demand it, since he will be acting as your father. By no means is anyone trying to say your real father can ever be replaced. No way! Not at all! But as I say, I’m ready to replace your father completely. Are you?

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