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A classic professorial moment

Classes started up yesterday at the University of Chicago. I’m teaching two classes this term, one to undergraduates and one to Ph.D. students.

As I stood in front of the room looking over my notes as the last few students filed into class, one of the students approached me and pulled me aside, looking quite serious. Usually this means the student is concerned that he or she doesn’t have the appropriate prerequisites for the course and wants my assurance that he or she will still be able to understand the class.

This time, though, it was something different. “Professor,” he said, “You seem to have something on your pants.”

I looked down and realized that I had failed to notice, when putting on new pants my wife had given me for Christmas, that there was a huge black and white sticker that ran nearly the full length of my leg still stuck on the pants.

“New pants,” I said.

That student will definitely get an A in the class.