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It’s not polite to laugh during a thesis defense November 4, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, humor, research, younger son.
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A friend of mine had his thesis defense today.  Earlier this week, I found out that the younger son would have today off from school because of parent-teacher conferences.  I told my friend I wouldn’t be able to make it.

“No, bring him with!  I don’t care.”

I thought about it.  The younger boy, unlike his older brother, can sit quietly and focus on things for a good amount of time.  When he’s not loaded up on sugar, he’s extremely well-behaved.  So…why not?

Before the defense, we went out to lunch with his occupational therapist.  It was his ‘graduation’ and a chance for him to say goodbye.  We went to a local place called Space Aliens (what can I say…North Dakota is birthplace to the coolest restaurants), and he won a bunch of tickets and got some prizes.  One was a whoopie cushion, and the other was an alien encapsulated in some sort of clear blue gel goo.  They called it Alien Putty.

I told him he had to leave the whoopie cushion in the car when we got to the defense.

Before the defense was underway, he and I parked in the back corner of the room closest to the door.  I gave him my iPod touch so that he could play games.

Things went pretty well until about 20 minutes into the presentation.  Then I heard something tap gently on the desk beside me.  I looked over and realized that the younger son had taken his alien goo out.  He ended up dropping the container on the floor, but he was otherwise sitting quietly, so I figured I wouldn’t say anything.

A few minutes later, I looked over, and he had his hand encased in goo – he was wearing it like a glove.  He was holding his bright orange alien in his goo-encased fist, completely oblivious.

I almost broke out laughing.  In fact, I spent the next ten minutes holding my hand over my mouth because I was terrified I would start laughing.  I almost had tears streaming down my face by the end of it.  My friend, who was giving his presentation kept looking over.  Could he see this?  Was he getting annoyed?

The friend’s dad, who was sitting on the other side of me and is also a professor, kept looking over at the younger son.  I have no idea what he thought, but I have the feeling he felt it was very inappropriate to have a youngster with his arm covered in oozing goo sitting in his son’s defense.  Either that, or he was trying not to laugh, too.

He dropped the container again.

Given we were sitting there for well over an hour, I think the boy did a fabulous job of behaving himself.  Next time, though, I think we better leave the goo in the car, too.

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