"Cry me a River"--Julie London
Sometimes, I just got to "Cry me a River," Julie London style. It's the moment that the pile of the end of the semester hits me, usually about 3-4 weeks out. It's not like I'm not used to it. It's not like it's some great surprise that my piles will grow to the point where I can no longer imagine a view beyond their tower. It is at this moment, when I can only imagine the piles, that I try for a sultry whine, something not too obnoxious, but definitely worth a bit of heartbreak.
"Chain Gang"--Sam Cooke
After I finish my dramatic stage of whine, I immediately find myself singing "My, my, my, my, I work so hard." When I set my alarm for 6:00am and find myself sitting at the kitchen counter, groggy on a cup of coffee grading at 6:45am, or when I look at the clock on a Saturday night and realize that at 9:00pm when the hipsters are putting finishing touches to their outfits, I am still grading, plodding along with a steady chain gang strut.
"Helter Skelter"--The Beatles
I begin to lose track of the piles, to forget what needs to be done when, making lists daily in a desperate attempt to assign some order to the chaos. But every time "I get to the bottom, I go back to the top" of the piles of grading, wondering if I will ever find my way to the freedom that I know lurks just a couple of weeks away.
"Living on a Prayer"--Bon Jovi
And for one moment I breathe, feeling like I might make it, that there might just be an edge of the end in view. I remind myself that "we're half way there," the midpoint between the now and summer, when memories of grading, prepping assignments, and performing give way to a constant lull of spontaneous indecision, days spent in space and sun.
Boom. In one second the chaos returns. It's like an attack from all sides, moving rapidly only to find that the piles are everywhere and need to be returned everywhere. Randomly choosing bits from each pile only adds to the disorder, since nothing ever gets fully finished, crossed off the list, until the very end.
"I Will Rise Up"--Lyle Lovett
Yet, I persist. No matter how big the pile knocks, I push past, knowing that indeed there is an end. "I will rise up and rise up," never giving up, "And I will stand tall and I will stand tall," determined to finish with an end that smiles at the success of not only learning me something through teaching them something, but also at knowing that I can say job well done.
"Celebration"--Kool & The Gang