Chapter Thirteen - University of Alabama

	Tuscaloosa High School had a college level and a commercial
level and I had opted for the commercial level as I knew I would never
be able to attend college. The University of Alabama decided that I had
to take two courses that I would not get college credit for, because of
that. One was English and one was advanced algebra. I started as a
freshman during summer school in 1952. One semester was five weeks, six
days a week and the other was six weeks, five days a week. I took
English and Advanced Algebra the first semester. I made A's in both
courses. I was not allowed to take Accounting courses in summer school
so I took two elective courses the other semester, that first summer.

	By the time the Fall semester started I felt like an old pro. I
signed up for more courses than are allowed and had to get approval from
the Dean. The Dean was Dr Bidgood, the father of Willis Bidgood. Dr
Bidgood knew I had attended high school with Willis and never gave me
any problem getting approval. I signed up for an overload every semester
I went to Alabama. I wanted to get through before my Veteran
Administration benefits ran out.

	The freshman year was the only year I had any problems, and none
of the problems I had were serious in nature. It was a matter of
learning where everything was and how to get there within the time
constraints. I worked my schedules out so I could take all courses
before noon. I then worked at the upholstery shop from noon to about ten
PM, studied from ten PM to three AM and slept from three AM to seven AM.
During my Junior and Senior semesters I also graded papers for an
Accounting professor and that frequently took four hours a day. I did
that during my study time, so I started doing homework during class

	I seemed to have a penchant for selecting courses taught by
weird professors. It began with my first class in English. There were
more than two hundred students in that course. It was taught by a lady
who seemed more interested in seating arrangements than course content.
I asked to be allowed to sit near the front because the guns in World
War II did a lot of damage to my ears. She insisted on alphabetical
order, starting at the left most seat and going to the back of the room
and then the second seat, and to the back, etc. My seat was first
column, rear seat on the left. I could not even see, much less hear. The
second morning she announced there was a second class and anyone having
a reason for transferring to the other class should stand and state
their reason. I was the first one to stand and stated the reason as, "I
do not like your looks or anything else about you." She stared at me and
waved toward the door and I left.

	I had an economics professor who was the most weird of all the
weirdos I had. He announced at the first class that everyone who had
been in one of his previous classes and failed should stand. About
fifteen students stood and he told them to go select another course as
he taught no one who had previously failed. He then asked all who had
failed any course the previous two semesters to stand and another
fifteen or so stood. He told them to get out of his class. He then asked
all who had bought the prescribed text book to stand and another dozen
or so stood. He told them he would teach no one dumb enough to buy that
ridiculous book and asked them to leave. He then said that he only had
two grades. He said you knew it or you did not know it. Those who knew
it got an A and those who did not got an F. He asked all who had a
problem with this to leave. He then said that he had never given more
than one A in a single semester and that meant only one person would
pass the course, maximum. More of the students left and there were then
two of us left out of a class that had started with about sixty-five.
There was a tall boy, about six foot eight inches, and me. He asked the
tall boy why he stayed and he said he had been told this course would
make him think and he had never done that before and wanted to have the
experience. He asked me why I stayed and I told him I stayed because
nothing he said ruled me out; that I survived the process of
elimination. He told us to do anything we wanted to get comfortable and
the tall boy promptly brought his knee up and knocked the top of the
student desk off and picked it up and threw it across the room. We were
told to get a 400 page notebook as we would write a text book during the
course. I ended up with an A and the tall boy got an F.

	I had another economics professor I considered normal all
through the course and had no problems. I had an A average going into
the final exam and the final exam was no problem at all. I knew the
answers to all the questions. In our final class we received our final
exams back and I made 100 on it and had an A for the course. The
professor reviewed the questions and answers with us. There were five
questions, but he went on discussing questions 6 through 10. After we
finished I went to his office and handed him my exam back and told him I
had a problem. He looked at the 100 written on the front and said he
could not imagine why. I told him he had discussed 10 questions and I
had only seen 5. He opened my exam booklet and checked it and said he
had overlooked that. He said there were five questions on the board on
my right and I must have missed seeing them. He scratched through the
100 and wrote 50 and then opened his grade book and made a  change and
told me I had a B instead of an A. I told him I was willing to take
another test because I fully understood the course. He looked at me and
said, "No, you are one of those kooks who think honesty is the best
policy and it is high time you realize that is a bunch of crap. The B
stands." I was shocked by his attitude as he was one of the few I had
considered normal.

	I made a horrible mistake. I took a course in debating in the
speech department. I did not realize I would be the only one in the
course who was not on the debating team traveling around the country
with the instructor as part of the debating team. I did not realize the
instructor was under pressure to assign fewer high grades. I soon
learned I could spend hours preparing for an assignment and do a very
good job and the instructor would say, "D". A member of her debating
team would be very poorly prepared and get up and do a lousy job and the
instructor would say "A". I got really tired of it. The course was
drawing to a close and I had a D average. I had never received a D
before. One day I was assigned a topic and got up and said that today I
was going to talk about integrity. The instructor got wide eyed and told
me she had not assigned integrity. I told her it was probably because
she did not understand integrity, so I would teach her. She kept
protesting and I kept talking. I said that I could research, study and
prepare for an assignment and knock myself out doing it right and the
instructor droned out a D when I sat down, whereas a member of the
debating team could get up and if they accidentally belched the
instructor would think they had finished and sing out an A. I said I was
tired of it and I was not going to take it any more. I said that I would
go to department heads and other university officials if that was what
it took to get credit for the work I was doing. When I sat down the
instructor sang out an A. I talked to her after class and she told me
about the pressure. She said the department head wanted their grade
structure in line with the rest of the university. I understood her
problem and we agreed on a C for the course.

	One professor I had was one of the best report writing
professors in the business and an outstanding professor. He had written
several books and was highly regarded in the profession. One day he did
not come to class. He never did come back. His wife was not teaching at
the time but she was also terrific in report writing and the university
talked her into taking over the class. She told us her husband just
disappeared and she had no idea where he was. She was a very attractive
woman. She walked around the room a great deal while she talked. She
passed my desk one day and smiled and then came back and pulled her
dress up and sat on my desk with her bare rear end flat on one of my
hands. She kept talking and looking down at me smiling. She did this
several more times during the course. I decided both members of this
couple might have problems and started keeping my hands off the desk.

	The above are mere examples of strange professors I met at the
university and is certainly not all inclusive. There were quite a few
more, such as one who told dirty jokes and graded you as much on your
ability to tell a good dirty joke as on anything else. He did have an
interest in you knowing course content but enjoyed being called by his
first name, being one of the boys, and telling dirty jokes.

	I took Cost Accounting under one professor and he announced a
few days after the course began that the remainder of the semester would
be the completion of a case study. He gave us the problem and said we
could spend as much or as little time per day as we chose and when we
finished the study we would not have to come back to class that
semester. I did the entire thing the first week end and turned it in on
Monday. He was certain I had done it wrong and wanted me to check it. I
told him it was right, so he said we would just see and went to his desk
and started comparing it with his copy. He finally called me and said my
procedure was correct and I just had a few minor interpolation errors. I
told him that all of my interpolations were correct. He said they did
not agree with his master copy and it was done by one of his best
graduate assistants. I told him his graduate assistant had obviously
made an error and he handed me the master copy and told me to prove it.
It took ten minutes to find the error and I showed the errors to him. He
said that well, he did not know about that, so I asked him to prove they
were right. He finally sat down and got the text book and studied it and
the master for half an hour. He then told me the graduate assistant must
have used a different text book. I pointed out the text book was at
least five years old and was the latest version and the one prescribed
by the accounting department. He said he would accept my case study
without changes and then corrected the master copy to agree with mine. I
had a perfect score on all tests and my case study was used to correct
the master copy. He gave me a B for the course and when I asked him why
he simply said I had an A and talked myself out of it. He also once had
my respect and talked himself out of it.

	We had one accounting professor named Humble that everyone
called Mumble because he mumbled and no one ever understood a word of
what he was saying. He absolutely mumbled everything. I told him one
day, "Hey man, if you can't say it, spit it out and we will read it." He
was not the type to hold something like that against you and even
started writing about twice as much on the board as he had been doing. I
was about thirty one at the time and all the kids called me Pop. Several
commented after the class that they had other professors they would like
for me to talk to.

	I knew two professors who were giving female students A grades
for sex. I am sure there were several I did not know about. The girls
trading sex for grades did not even attempt to understand or participate
in the class and did not even attend regularly. They came often enough
to make it look honest and that is about all. There was also one
sorority where many of the girls sold sex for cash, including a drive-in
back seat operation, but that strays from the point of strange

	I was selected to grade papers for one of the accounting
professors. The university paid $130 per semester and it turned out to
be a nightmare job. The professor was well into a nervous breakdown and
in a fight with the university over his teaching methods. He taught a
CPA review course and used a method of letting that class select a
leader. He then put lectures on tape and they could listen to them or
not. They could vote to have him make guest appearances. He decided to
use the same strategy for a beginning accounting course. The class
selected leaders and sat and listened to tapes while they drank cokes
and ate candy. They did not understand a word he was saying. One student
was married to a graduate student in accounting and her husband taught
her. One student was close to genius level and just read the book. The
other forty students had no idea of what the course was all about. I
would pick up the homework and spend hours and hours writing
explanations of correct answers. I was told to give them their first
test and to grade them. Two students had excellent grades. The other
forty averaged less than 10 out of a possible 100. The mid term test was
worse and the final examination, which I administered, was a disaster.
The professor refused to talk to the class and told me to meet with them
and just ask each one what grade they wanted. The two students I
mentioned had earned A's so they were no problem. Out of the other 40, 2
wanted an A, 2 wanted a B and 36 wanted an F if they could not get an I
(Incomplete). The reasoning was that 4 were from Arts & Sciences and
accounting was not important to them and the other 36 were accounting
majors and knew it was important to understand beginning accounting. Dr
Bidgood talked to me about the course and the professor and then placed
the professor on a one year leave of absence. The professor asked me to
help him clear out his office. This consisted of throwing everything in
the office into trash cans (50 gallon drums). I told Dr Bidgood and he
had someone remove all of it and place it in boxes and store it.
	I was selected for membership in Beta Alpha Psi and I think,
Beta Gamma Sigma honorary accounting and commerce fraternities. I
attended meetings when I could. I suppose they were nice honors and I
appreciated it but had so little time. Compressing a four year course
into two and a half years while working twelve hours a day consumes most
of your time.

	I am sure a college degree is essential for doctors and
scientists and perhaps engineers and attorneys. I am not so sure about
accountants and some of the others. When I graduated as an accountant I
still had no earthly idea how to set up books or do bookkeeping for
someone. I think I would recommend that anyone interested in being an
accountant work as a bookkeeper a couple of years before going to

	I had always thought that when you graduated from a university
you were a real professional and could handle anything in your field
that came up. I did not find this to be true. I really felt inadequate
and I was on the Dean's List seven of my eight semesters. I observed
other graduates and found many of them to be really incompetent. I felt
the value of a college education was greatly over stated. I was really
disappointed. Thirteen years later I would start and complete the work
for a Master's Degree and find the same feelings. In my opinion,
education does nothing but help prepare you to learn on the job. College
should be totally revamped to become more meaningful, with some
practical and helpful experience mixed in.

	I guess the bottom line is that I never decided for sure that
college was a meaningful experience. I felt that I could have put forth
ten percent of the effort and graduated without a problem. Maybe that is
what it is all about; it is the first adult level of education and you
get back what you put into it.
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