My office hours tended to attract three kinds of students:

First was the OCD Overachiever. You know the type: straight-A’s since they’ve been getting grades, always going the extra mile to ensure the streak remains unbroken. OCD Overachievers would usually stop by to prove how Committed and Dependable they were, and to establish a rapport with me so I would be less likely to grade them harshly. If I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I’d have been at home with a pack of cigarettes and a short length of hose; nevertheless, they were something of an ego boost.

Next was the Needy Wheedler. They typically needed my signature on something or other, usually something from the athletic department or one of the variety of student offices that managed academic probation or at-risk students. Needy Wheedlers had to get my signature to play polo against State, or to avoid expulsion, or something along those lines. They’d get very nervous if I didn’t sign the forms immidiately, even more so if I began asking questions or musing about what the criteria for judgment were. As long as my John Hancock was on that all-important slip of paper at the end, they didn’t paricularly care–which could be kind of fun as I led them through roundabout conversations and red herrings to claim their prize.

Finally, and most commonly, was the Desperate Bargainer. They typically showed up after a major assignment or test, desperate to dredge up some extra credit or other way to stave off imminent failure. Often, I’d never seen them in class before the assignment was due, and then they were in my office, trying to be my best friend or telling a sob story about how success in my class was the only thing keeping their family off the street and paying for little Jimmy’s insulin.

Macy was a Desperate Bargainer, one of the most desperate I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t until later that I realized what exactly it was underlaying it all.