That one time I tried to get out of an exam with the promise of beers.

Beers. Bringing students and teachers together since 1872.
Beers. Bringing students and teachers together since 1872.

I guess we’ve all had a version of this teacher. It’s the conspiracy nut teacher. You know, that teacher who is absolutely certain that 9/11 was an inside job because he saw a video on YouTube. That teacher who is absolutely sure that JFK was killed by LBJ, and that the pyramids were built by creatures from outer space, because how else can you explain such a magnificent feat? There’s no way humans back in the day could’ve done it, so of course, aliens.

Well, we had that teacher. And because there is no translation to the nickname we had for him, I’ll just call him Liar McLiarson (it’s close). So Mr. McLiarson got this nickname because he just kept outdoing himself with all the bullshit he would tell us in class. I don’t know what we looked like to him that he thought we would believe him, but trust me, nobody would believe him.

One of the first whoppers he told us was that he used to work for the United States government in Colorado building super secret spy airplanes, and that he couldn’t go into details because he was sworn to secrecy. Now, okay, if this guy was teaching us some super advanced thing like Quantum Mechanics or Spatial Engineering or whatever, then maybe the bullshit he was feeding us could’ve been plausible at best. But this guy… I mean, he was teaching us those throwaway courses that any number of teachers could’ve taught (something like Management 101), and I think he had a degree in Accounting or something completely unrelated to working in goddamn Colorado building super secret spy planes for the goddamned United States government. Plus, his timeline was all fucked up and convoluted, and it didn’t match up with his other stories about when he was a student or when he was married or any of it. And how do we know things didn’t match up? Because we kept notes on all the bullshit he kept feeding us. Oh yes, we kept notes.

Yeah, okay, we were nerds.

Our class picture. I'm the black one.
Our class picture. I’m the black one.

But the one tall tale that really took the cake was when he told us that he knew some major secrets about McDonald’s and the way they operated here in Mexico. McDonald’s and Jack in the Box, and Carl’s Jr. and Pizza Hut and all those wonderful U.S. franchises were still a relatively new thing here in Mexico, and we were all very excited. Well, I was. But then again, I weighed about 300 pounds, so of course I would be excited. But of all those franchises and fast food joints, McDonald’s was the worst one and had the worst rap, because it tasted so different than the gringo McDonald’s. In fact, it tasted completely different, and at that time, it wasn’t good at all (now, it’s a lot better). Carl’s Jr. on the other hand, tastes just as amazing and is just as fattening and soaked in cholesterol as the Carl’s Jr. in the United  States.

But I digress.

So this guy, Mr. Liar McLiarson, says he has some dirt on McDonald’s and their operations here in Mexico. He started by asking us if we noticed a difference in taste between our McDonald’s and every other McDonald’s we had been to, and we all agreed (some of us more eagerly than others, I’ll admit). He then started on a rant about how here in Mexico there isn’t a government agency like the FDA (there is), and that restaurants here can pretty much serve whatever they want to their unsuspecting patrons (they can’t). By then, since we were all experienced in every manner of bullshit this guy fed us, we were starting to wonder where exactly he was going with this. He kept ranting on about how Mexico is basically a lawless state where we are all constantly lied to (ironic much?) and that there is no way to know what we are being fed (not true). So then, he dropped the bombshell. He told us the truth, guys. He told us exactly what McDonald’s hamburgers are made of here in Mexico.

Any guesses?

Dated pop culture reference #2.
Dated pop culture reference #2.

Get ready folks.

Okay, I'll stop now.
Okay, I’ll stop now.

He told us that the main ingredient in McDonald’s hamburgers were rats. That’s right, rats. As in those creepy disgusting rodents who leave their shit and nests all over your house and your walls, those disgusting children of Satan who will one day rise up and take over the world, and who cause revulsion and fear on all those who lay eyes on them, except for those crazy fuckers who actually keep them as pets (fuck those people, really). This son of a bitch actually wanted us to believe that the McDonald’s Corporation was feeding the Mexican people hamburgers made of rat meat. And you know the crazy part? Some of the idiots who were in my class actually believed this crazy son of a bitch. I should’ve stood up, slapped him hard across the head, and then go and report his goofy ass to our director and have him fired on the spot (and probably have me expelled on account of the slap). But, I didn’t. Nobody did. We just listened, pretended to believe him, and then when he left the room proceeded to mock him mercilessly behind his lying back.

Once, when we had an exam with this guy, I pulled off one of the greatest bullshit moves I have ever pulled in my life. You see, the day before the exam, I was supposed to get together with one of my buddies to study. This exam was the most important exam we would take with this guy during that semester, and our final grade depended on it. I was going to start studying with my friend during the evening, and then just cram and go over stuff so we would be ready for the exam early the next morning. Well, this guy wasn’t showing up. It was way past the time he was supposed to show up at my place and there was no sign of him. I could’ve done the sensible thing and just started studying by myself, but fuck that. Also, this was before cell phones, so there was no way to reach him. As I was resigning myself to studying alone like a goddamn loser, he shows up (at around 10 pm). He proceeds to inform me that he was hanging out with some of his other loser friends and one of them had a gun and they were breaking bottles or something ridiculous that people do. Well, the cops show up of course, and they haul their idiot asses to jail. So when he shows up at my place, he’s scared shitless and isn’t in any mood to study, so we do the smart thing and proceed to buy some beers and get drunk, using our notebooks as coasters so as to not leave a mark on my kitchen table.

Exam day comes, and as we sit down and McLiarson hands out the exam, I knew I was toast. It might as well have been written in Chinese (not racist). Plus, I was hungover and cranky and probably stunk of stale cigarette smoke and beer farts. As I was contemplating failing this ridiculous class and having to take it again with this ridiculous teacher, a dim flicker of light went off in my alcohol addled brain and I decided to take a chance and go for broke. I turned the exam over and found a nice, blank spot, and wrote the following:

Mr. McLiarson, 

First of all, thank you for a wonderful semester. I am writing this note to personally invite you to the end-of-semester party that my classmates and I are having this Friday at my house. There is no need to bring anything, there will be plenty of food and drinks to go around. It will be an honor for us to have you spend some time with the group as we have enjoyed your class tremendously and will be sorry  if we don’t have any more classes with you in the future. 

Thank you again, we’ll see you on Friday!

That ridiculous note is all that I bothered to write on the exam. I handed it in, sure that he would look at the note and laugh all the way to the dean’s office, where they would look at it together, laugh some more, and then proceed to expel me. Either that, or he would be merciful and just fail me and that would be that.

By the way, there was no party. I made it all up on the spot. Almost nobody in my class would be in town because it was the end of the semester and most of us came from other parts of the state, so as soon as exams were done, we would bolt to our hometowns to eat a decent meal and purify our bodies of all the alcohol we had consumed in time for the start of the next semester.

Well, grades were going to be posted later in the week, and I was sure I was doomed. Thankfully, I wasn’t expelled, but I was certain that I would fail that class because of my idiot friend and our budding alcoholism. Back then, grades were posted on a sheet of paper on the school’s cork board for everyone to see, which could mean a fair amount of gloating over your friends, or a quick glance at a failing grade before you bolted to wherever your friends couldn’t mock you. As I was looking through my other grades (which I dominated, by the way), I was resigned to my fate, sure that Liar McLiarson had deservedly failed me.

Well, The Invisible Man in the Sky was looking out for me that day, because instead of a well-deserved zero, Mr. McLiarson gave me a passing grade. Not only that, but he gave me the highest grade possible. A big, beautiful 100. I was just as shocked as you, imaginary reader, but I was also elated, incredulous, and just a tiny bit guilty, to be honest (okay, not really). But then it dawned on me. I promised this crazy bastard a party, and there simply wasn’t going to be one. Nobody was around, nothing was planned, no way I had enough money to buy a bunch of booze and food by myself, and this guy was probably going to show up at 8:30 on the dot expecting to be wooed and celebrated by his students.

I decided to roll the dice again and when the guy showed up just tell him that everybody had gone home and that if he wanted to we could go get some tacos and a few beers or something. Well, the Invisible Man in the Sky must’ve been in a fantastic mood, because to my delight, Liar McLiarson never showed up, I had my 100, and all was well in the world.

I never saw Mr. McLiarson again, and to this day, I have no recollection of what class he taught me or even what his name was. Who knows, maybe he was telling the truth, and maybe he was called back again to Colorado to continue building super secret spy planes for the United States government, and maybe sometimes he thinks with sad regret about that kickass party he missed on the last day of that semester where he decided to pass a fat, hungover student who was clearly grasping at straws when he desperately wrote a note to his teacher. Perhaps the mere fact that this student was thoughtful enough to invite him to a party made him feel good, and that was enough to add a 1 and a 0 to the left of the 0 he had already written down on the grade forms.

As for me? I never did anything like that ever again. It was a one shot deal, done out of desperation and being extremely hungover to care. It worked, miraculously, even though it shouldn’t have. I don’t condone anything like that, and if my students ever pull something like that on me, you’re damn right I’ll march them to the dean’s office to be dealt with expeditiously. But probably not. I’ll just fail them and let them suffer the consequences and have to deal with my boring class again.

I hope that wherever Mr. Liar McLiarson is, he is happy, and he continues to entertain his students with his tall tales and conspiracy theories. I hope that he is doing well, and if I ever see him again, I’ll shake his hand and buy him that beer that I promised him oh so many years ago. Hell, I’ll even buy him some dinner, just as I promised.

Not McDonald’s though.

Never McDonald’s.


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