Like Shark Week, Only Different.

I am apparently developing a theme this week in my posts.

It’s Behavior Week!

Perhaps it is because many of my students are experiencing termination issues, or maybe because horrible behavior plans are just plain funny, but I’m on a roll, people. For your reading pleasure, here is a random musing on behavior and contracts:

I am moving. I didn’t realize I was a document hoarder until now. You don’t realize how much stuff you have until you try to put it in a box and lift it. Document hoarding is about anxiety. We keep stuff because we fear that we will a) need it someday or b) forget the memory if we release ourselves of it. I have concluded, after 2 weeks of shredding my old dissertation stuff, applications for licensure, paystubs from 2002, and the last 10 years of student loan statements that: a) Shredded docs make for great packing material, b) my dissertation was ridiculously long and many, many trees died for me, c) I will probably pay off my student loans just in time for my future children to go to college and d) I am a document hoarder.

Sigh.

But back to behavior. I asked myself, with each document, “Is this useful or beautiful?” and if the answer was no, it got shredded. I probably kept more than I even should have, but I have bureaucratic OCD. I still fear that UC Berkeley will come back and request further documentation that I completed my dissertation, or that there will be a random audit of all my paystubs and benefits from when I worked in a previous district. That latter one is not paranoia, given where I worked. I still get requests to update my TB test results and I haven’t worked there in four years.

The best part of revisiting documents of yore is the memories that can come up. I came across all my students’ letters to Obama. Useful AND beautiful! Keep! It was so fun reading them again. Then I came across a behavior contract between me and my ex-boyfriend. WHAT???? I do not even recall drafting or signing this document, but here it was, in black and white, filed in with my student loan payment stubs. You will never guess my luck. It was a contract from 1999 stating that he would pay off all my unsubsidized student loans “no matter what our relationship was, unless she cheats on me.” So many questions.

a) Why only unsubsidized?
b) Why can’t I remember this contract?!?
c) How did I have the foresight to know that I needed this in writing?
d) How organized am I to file it in the appropriate spot?
e) Why did he feel he needed a contract to ensure that I wouldn’t cheat on him? As if he needed to provide a financial inducement for me to be loyal?!? And I agreed in writing like it was a perfectly normal thing to do?
f) OMG, how did this conversation even come up in the first place??? (see point b)

For a nanosecond, I imagined having the conversation:

Um, hi, this is your ex-girlfriend from 10 years ago. We need to talk about my student loans and my fidelity to our relationship in the 90s…

Clearly, I’m not holding him to this contract.* I’m not that loan SHARK-y! (pun intended, insert reader’s groaning). The whole thing is so weird on so many levels. Plus, I didn’t think to get it notarized. Shoot.

There is no deeper lesson on behavior contracts here. It’s just plain funny. Now, back to shredding…

* [Aaaaannnnnd….Cut to all of my ex-boyfriends’ fearing they signed this after a night out at the bar sighing a collective sigh of relief]

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Comments on Like Shark Week, Only Different.

  1. Plummy says:

    hahaha, that's hilarious! you *would* file something like that away in the proper place…

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am so glad to know that I am not alone in the document hoarding category:-)

  3. Jenni says:

    Funny you would post this now. My husband and I were just going through all of our old documents last night, trying to decide what to toss. He has stuff from elementary school!! Luckily he was willing to part ways with it. We also went through our old undergraduate books. We decided we'd check to see if we could sell them on-line and depressingly enough, most of the books that we paid a hundred bucks or more for are worth about 75 cents now…

    That is too funny that you came across that contract! I'm so curious as to what the story behind it is!

  4. halpey1 says:

    Your book got published! BIG BIG HUGE congrats! I'm SO happy for you… and only a tad jealous. 🙂 I'm ordering my copy stat!

  5. Rebecca says:

    @halpey1: Thanks! I started it two years ago, and I can't believe it's finally in print! I have to go right to Barnsey or Borders and see for myself though…

    [cut to security escorting me out for grabbing all the copies and placing them in front of the store in giant ruckus]

    I'd love to see a book based on your blog–that would be some good summer reading. 🙂

  6. Sarah Cannon says:

    Love the story. Too funny.

    And seconding the congratulations on publication. (Though confessing that I'm in penny pinching mode since I looked up how much more of the student loans I have to pay back, so not going to buy it anytime soon. Not all of us have contracts with ex-boyfriends. 🙂

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