The ring of a cell phone pierced through the lecture on differential equations. Dr. Bulgari shook her head disapprovingly. A second ring betrayed a young man in the first row. He blushed, mumbled incoherently, then dug through his backpack.
Dr. Bulgari stepped in front of her flustered student and held out her hand. “Give it to me,” she demanded.
“Will I get it back?” asked the student.
The student reluctantly handed over his phone.
Dr. Bulgari tapped the screen and answered the call. “Hello?” she said. “No, he’s not able to speak to you at the moment. He’s too engrossed in a lecture on calculus.”
The student whispered. “Who is it?”
Dr. Bulgari responded with a shrug. “Of course I’m serious. I’m the one giving the lecture.”
There were a few chuckles from the rest of the class.
“It’s going on right now. Don’t apologize. You’re not the one who forgot to mute his phone,” said Dr. Bulgari. She gave the student a wicked smile.
“Is he passing? Am I speaking with his mother? In that case,” said Dr. Bulgari, while staring into her terrified student’s eyes. “Let me just say two words: summer school.”
The classroom burst out in laughter.
Hoping her actions would put an end to such occurrences, Dr. Bulgari’s antics backfired spectacularly. Every semester from that point on she was expected to intercept at least one phone call that interrupted her class.
Humour, she discovered, is a poor deterrent.