The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 84.0°F | Mostly Cloudy

Ask Nutty B!

By Bruce Wu

Nutty B is currently a graduate student at MIT who tries to give his two cents worth to his readers’ questions regarding anything and everything. Please e-mail him with whatever question you would like someone to listen to, and help him have an excuse to procrastinate at 3:00 a.m. Please send all questions to

Dear Nutty B,

I am the TA for a class of 30 undergrads. I really like the professors I am TA’ing for and the majority of the students I have. The problem is that one of the students often makes me feel as if I were in an institution other than a classroom at MIT. This student not only disturbs the whole class during recitation with his constant loud conversations with his neighbors and hands in homework with illegible handwriting, but also refuses any of my suggestions for improvement in his work. There have been times where I just want to go to the professors and tell them I want to quit. What do I do?

– Zack

Dear Zack,

What makes a classroom an “MIT classroom?” Is it a room full of kids with nothing other than math to talk about? Is it one with kids who dress like crap but think they are the coolest people in the world? If you can’t answer this question, how can you say that student is out of place?

What makes a place great is not the place itself, but rather what makes up the place, and in this case it’s the students. Also, what makes you a great instructor is not how great you are, but rather how well you use your greatness to make your instructees great. I don’t think you can do anything for his handwriting. However, have you tried to talk to him in private (not in front of the whole class!) about why he refused your suggestions? Perhaps he had reasons to believe your constructive advice was not constructive at all. While you’re talking to him in private, perhaps you could also tell him, as a friend, that it really bothers you and the other students when he talks loudly in class. No reasonable person would refuse to listen to another person’s opinion if he/she feels respected. And if the person is not reasonable, MIT does have a good team of psychiatrists … or you can just summon Xena the Warrior Princess to rid the world of evil. Don’t quit! Think of it as a challenge not only to change the student’s attitude towards this class or you, but also to better yourself in adapting to a new environment. Good luck, and I am sure you will be great!

My Dear Friend,

My name is Mr. Melvin Samson and I work as an accountant in a bank; I contacted you to work together with me in claiming my late client’s estate. Unfortunately he died without a registered next of kin and as such the funds now have an open beneficiary status. You could be made the beneficiary since you share the same last name with him.

This has officially transferred the right to you, as no other person from his family knows anything about this fund with our bank. If you are interested in working with me, please get back to me as quickly as possible so that I give you the details of what we are to do. I wait for your prompt response so that I can give you more briefing of what you need to and how to do it.

— Mr. Melvin

Dear Mr. Melvin,

Your client’s last name is “Beautiful?” Is his first name “Pimptastic,” too? That’s the name I used to register my Yahoo account! I thought after my reply to Mrs. Johnahenitti [the Tech Vol 123] I would be free of messages like this, but what I have gotten since then were tons of daily emails asking for my bank account, in addition to sales of Viagra (which I assure you readers I absolutely do not need).

Your client’s family doesn’t even know about this? How kinky! I love this, and I’d love to work with you. In fact, I have taken this one step further: Not only have I signed you up for daily porn newsletters, as I did with Mrs. Johnahenitti, but this time to ensure that you are fully entertained, I have also purchased about 100 “wild” videos and DVDs to be sent to the address you provided. Just remember to pay upon receiving them! Also, I have sent your contact info to the UN to let people there know that you will be funding one of its humanitarian projects in Africa with 100 million dollars. I believe my buddy Kofi might pay you a visit to thank you. Remember to dress up when he arrives!

In the meantime, enjoy the daily porn newsletters I have provided, and tell your fellow spammers that “you be good to Uncle Nutty B, Uncle Nutty B will be good to you”. (You’ve gotta say that with an Italian accent, though).