"It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" The professor smiled from the podium. We all agreed that yes, it was in fact a beautiful day, very clear and nice.
"Days like this are intoxicating," he said. "I love days like this." He paused. We waited expectantly, pens poised above clean sheets of notepaper.
He shuffled his lecture notes, and surveyed the class. "Do you all have a lot to do? Papers for other classes? Homework? Things like that?"
"Yes," came the reply, resounding through the lecture hall. He knew better than to ask a question like that.
"If I were to, say, cancel class today, would you all go and do some of that stuff?" he asked. "How many of you would? Raise your hands." Three quarters of the class raised an arm in the air.
He studied us for a moment. "Well, to that I say: CUT THAT SHIT OUT." We gaped. He continued. "That's the problem with everyone today: Always trying to get through stuff. Always trying to be productive. You want to get through class so you can graduate. You want to get through graduation so you can get a job. You want to get through work so you can get promoted. And when you get through getting through stuff, where are you?"
"A two year old doesn't go out and think, 'Hmm, I wonder how I can be more productive in the sandbox today.' He just goes out and puts sand into piles. All the grown-ups think about is how to be productive." He cited Marx. He cited Weber. He blamed the dehumanization of America on the drive toward greater productivity.
"I'd cancel this class in a heartbeat if I thought that each and every one of you would go out and do nothing for an hour."
He paused again, and smiled. "Would you? Would you do nothing if I let you go? Raise your hands: How many of you would do nothing?"
The room was awash in a sea of hands.
"All right then," he said, closing his book. "Go. Do nothing. Enjoy the day." The class cheered.
I stopped for just a moment on my way out. "You're my hero," I said. He laughed. I left.