BERKELEY, Calif. — Last week, hundreds of Berkeley professors premiered syllabus-review lectures only to receive blank stares, disinterest, and rotten tomatoes. But one man defied the odds: professor Dr. Lou Serseiwut, whose slides on course logistics managed to bring joy to a crowd of engineering students.
Senior Luke Diechryder was present for Prof. Serseiwut’s introductory lecture to ENGIN 189: Fluid Mechanics of Soup and Stew.
“This is my seventh semester here,” divulged Diechryder. “So you could say I’ve seen it all at this point — printed syllabi, Google Docs, PDFs on bCourses. I thought I’d be unphased — what could they show me that I haven’t been exposed to before? Well, I ate my words like a lighthearted and youthfully comedic meal. When Prof Serseiwut entered the stage, he looked like just another old academic, his male-pattern baldness scattering the spotlight over the crowd like a disco ball. Then I heard the click,” he said, clicking his tongue, “of his clicker. And there was a white flash, but this time, it didn’t come from his chromed dome.”
The white flash, in fact, was from two sheaves of impact-font text overlain on a cat, which read ‘Can I haz excused absence?’ What began as a single chuckle near the front row quickly surged into a tsunami of laughter. Knees were slapped. Tears were wiped. Nestled in the uproarious din were solo outbursts — “he’s so young!” and “so in touch!” One voice in the crowd was MechE junior Maria Yarborough. Over a week later, Yarborough still clings to that rapturous moment.
“Have you ever seen a video of a royal wedding?” Yarborough asked, her eyes wide and filled with wonder. “Students in the back stood up to salute, while the lucky few in touching distance had Professor Serseiwut sign his name on their foreheads in Sharpie, which I saw them getting tattooed later on Telegraph, and who can blame them? And just as it started to get quiet, the Professor clicked again, and — I couldn’t believe this — a second meme faded onto the slide… it was Nathan Fielder frowning, captioned ‘Professor Serseiwut when you don’t email about absences 24 hours in advance.’ The laugh crescendoed into a frenzy until the sheer ecstasy overtook us. The remaining hour and twenty minutes of lecture was a daze.”
Professor Serseiwut, carving a valuable two minutes from his office hours for an interview, perched behind his oak desk, staring contentedly at the throng of fans peering through the window. He kicked his legs onto the back of an undergraduate positioned as an ottoman. Another poured him a glass of orange juice, while two more fanned him with palm fronds.
“I’ll get to you in a minute,” Serseiwut said, waving his hand at a student holding a clipboard clearly titled upcoming memes. “Regardless, it’s hard to be a tastemaker at Berkeley. For years I was celebrated as the first man to sequence the genome of tomato soup, but now I’ve truly contributed to our campus culture. Not to mention, as you can see, that the children idolize me for my sense of humor. And what’s wrong with that? I just have a sensitive touch with the young psyche. Comedy is the universal language, like Python or English.”
At press time, students reported that they were “stoked for class on Monday” and “are excited to learn more about the grade bins!”