“The goofy, fun, and surreal moments of street theatre you experience at uni can be your most memorable.”
In a school far, far away (Athelstone), my daughter’s legal studies teacher reminisced about his time at Flinders. He smiled as he told his class of when he was an economics undergraduate two decades prior. Every Friday, during his lecture (in North II, Humanities), a couple of bozos flung open the door to the theatre and exclaimed in astonishment—and in tandem—‘This isn’t psychology!’ Every week the same deal. ‘That was my dad!’ blurted out my daughter upon hearing her teacher’s strange anecdote.
Sure enough, I was one of said bozos, along with my partner in crime. We both took double majors in psychology and English and we were always coming up with routines to make life on campus more amusing.
In my life since then, mostly spent at Flinders, this impulse has not yet been extinguished. And North II seems to feature a lot in my capers. A larrikin mate of mine, lecturing in North II, wanted to replicate a Barry Humphries gag and co-opted me to approach him as he lectured, while I held a cream pie behind my back. The students watched in disbelief as I slowly neared the speaker and then pushed the pie into his face. This same character also interacted with my academic presentation at a conference on Kangaroo Island by asking me his question, about penguins, through a megaphone.
Another friend of mine wanted to re-enact the ‘This isn’t psychology!’ routine, ten years on, and shouted the same words during a lecture in North II. With his particular quality of intensity, his version appeared more like a political statement—albeit one which caused the same bewilderment amongst students as my outbursts had. My otherwise eminently sensible friend went on to become a respected lawyer and academic.
I now try to enliven my students’ time at Flinders by dressing up variously as an angry, drunk and shouting Shakespeare; a bogan called Barren Boganovic; a wizard in a garbage-bag cape; or my hero John Lennon. After all, lecture theatres are lecture theatres—not lecture vomitoriums or lecture monotoniums. It’s interesting that a couple of irritating randoms made enough impact on someone that he chose to share their escapades with his senior class twenty years later. The goofy, fun and surreal moments of street theatre you experience at uni can be your most memorable. So for your sake—and for others’—be sure to create some!