Augustana freshman speaks in class

Wasn't me

Freshman contributes to discussion

ABE FROMAN

sausageking@chicago.com

Fidgeting in his seat, Erik Malling raised his hand before mentally chastising himself and throwing his hand under his desk.

“I just couldn’t do it,” he said. “‘There are boundaries here, man,’ I kept telling myself.”

He was caught in a dilemma: to speak or not to speak.

See, Erik is a freshman, and here at Augustana, few take kindly to loose-lipped greenhorns. But, by the grace of God, Malling has done it. He broke the freshmen sound barrier.

His class was discussing Schrodinger’s fricked-up felines, and up until the end of the lecture, Malling struggled to subdue his yearnings of inserting himself into the discussion  while also responsibly heeding his fellow students.

“I saw him tapping his foot nervously every once in awhile,” said junior Courtney Arthur. “He’d mumble, ‘Um,’ or, ‘So…’ but cover it up with a cough. Clear freshman behavior.”

Jeffrey MillerAccompanied by the coughs and throat-clearings were seat-adjustments and pen-clicking, according to an alternate witness.

Meanwhile, conversation had inexplicably shifted from zombie cats to Marxist theory and consumer ethics, and some of Erik’s classmates had been drumming up a plan to include their freshman counterpart.

“Just as I was about to step in and ask him what he thought, he spoke up,” said senior Madison Wilson, an alleged psychology and philosophy major. “Some of us didn’t really think he had it in him, but he did well.”

Sources say that, besides his toe-tapping and minor stammering, Malling’s delivery was an overall success.

When asked about his young pupil’s triumph, journalism professor Jeffrey Miller—similarly out of his depth teaching an economic lecture—said he held his breath watching this phenomenon play out.

“Yeah, I saw him try to raise his hand before stopping himself,” Miller said. “I wanted to help the kid out, but what can you do? We all go through this at some point … but I think the whole class was really rooting for him.”

After class, the brave freshman was given a nod of approval from one of the philosophy majors, an adequate reward for completing such a daunting task.

But what did he say? Well, I’d ask Malling. The big boy can speak for himself now.