Finals

I looked at my watch again. 1:27am. This was horrible.

I yawned and stretched a bit, then looked back down at my book.
Even after an entire semester of xenolinguistics, half of the stuff covered here was still Greek to me. Then again, Greek was a language whose pronunciations didn’t arise from having two tongues or four mandibles. And yet, there I was.
I was so fucked.
Why the fuck do I even need to know this stuff? I mean, it’s not like I’ll be talking with any extraterrestrials while doing taxes on Earth. They almost never emigrated here anymore, since the whole incident with the Cetarsi. Though I suppose it was their own fault for not understanding that the word “nitrogen” here doesn’t mean “chlorine.”
There’s the real issue: these damn aliens need to learn our language, not expect us to learn theirs. They’re the ones coming here, it makes no sense for us to accommodate them.
I sighed.
I was just grumpy, I decided. It’s not fair to say all that. It’s not fair to blame the Cetarsi for the whole mishap with their language. And after all, they did suffocate brutally, so I suppose I should cut them some slack for a really bizarre coincidence.
Maybe that’s evidence of a higher power. You know, like, maybe there is a God, which is why certain words exist in languages developed by different species light years apart. Then again, who’s to say that God didn’t take care of them better than us?
Oh God, I was philosophizing again.
I lightly slapped my face a few times. My xenolinguistics final was on Friday. I had two and a half days to learn an entire semester’s worth of languages I couldn’t pronounce or write.
I suppose I’d have to do extrat taxes at some point, and maybe the crazy bastards that left Earth to go to any of the other systems would prefer that I use their language, or just understand certain things. And some of the forms would have to be turned in to the governments, dictators, or ruling bison of the planets they lived on, so I’d probably have to fill them out in the local language. Which would be a lot easier if some of them weren’t based on using suction cups on your tentacles.
I looked at my watch again. 1:32am. Good. All this fucking around was getting me nowhere, and the exam was five minutes closer.
You know, when you think about it, why even bother with all this? I mean, every second that passes is another second closer to the second when I die. So if that’s the case, spending 300 seconds where I am accomplishing nothing is a waste of my already short life. I mean, shit, I’m already 22 years old! I only have 278 short years on this Earth! Do I really want to spend the next hundred years focusing on accounting as my first career? I mean, yeah, then I would have the savings to go back to school for my second or third career, but by then, learning is even harder! Maybe I should have just joined the army. Or traveled the galaxy leading a space convoy. That’d be awesome! I always loved flying, no matter the distance or destination. It was just the act of moving that I loved so much. And then I could study whatever while I was in the heavens! Sure, the sights could get boring, but it’d be a lot better than trying to communicate with giant ant-people who speak in what sound like bird calls.
I shook my head and smiled. I forgot, they’re Formicidae-Terrans now. That’s the politically correct term. If you ask me, they ought to go build a fucking hill on Mars and the exo freaks ought to just stay there.
I stretched again. I was too tired and hungry to even think straight. I mean, how fucking insulting is it to be called a wimpy endo? Or even a vertab? I shut my book and put it in my backpack. I can’t focus here in the library, and they were probably going to close at 2am anyway.
I headed out the door and got on the bus headed back to my apartment. I suppose I could pull an all-nighter if I sleep a long time tonight.
I opened my textbook again and looked at the Cetarsi section, under Academia and Labor. Sure enough, there it was: “düSŌN-mikt” – all-nighter.
Maybe I could enjoy this after all.
Drew Schackmann is a contributing writer for Gutai-Pravda Assembly. You can contact him on Twitter.

© 2015; David “Drew” Schackmann, Jr.

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