But I managed to screw up fairly well there, too.
Many years later, at an admissions hearing to get into graduate school, the committee remarked on my early, disastrous academic career, but noted that by the time I obtained my B.A. in English in 1973 in California (after attending a total of four colleges) I was a 4.0 student.
"But Mr. Fitzgerald, we do have one question," asked a fellow who would later become my graduate adviser and who is still a good friend.
"How exactly did you fail a 1-unit class in fencing?"
A good question.
JCC could offer some serious academic speed bumps, despite all the jokes made about it because it wasn't a state school or a four-year program and because everyone pretty much lived at home and mooched off mom and dad while going there. My mother let me mooch, because she was sooooo happy I was going to college again and she was scared witless I would be drafted and sent to Vietnam.
JCC professors - especially the ones that found out I was a dropout from Villanova - put the coals to me big time, especially one philosophy professor (he was Norweigan, I think) and a biology prof whose first name was Ted and who was an ardent environmentalist long before it was fashionable.
It was at JCC that for the first time I ran across people routinely using marijuana. (At the dorms at Villanova, there was no drug use, too dangerous. Hell, we couldn't even sneak in a beer.) And it was at JCC that I discovered it was infinitely more fun to go to college in a coed setting than a school with classes of only 18-20 year old men.
It seemed that everyone I met, everywhere, had some JCC connection, even if I was in the Triangle restaurant swilling a fishbowl on a Sunday afternoon. Say "JCC" and someone's head would snap up.
And there were quite a few Class of '66 people moving in and out of enrollment there, too, though I confess I only remember Dave Carlson and Bud Hooper for sure. Art Johnson's girlfriend went there - the statuesque Ann Irvine from Jamestown High School.
I haven't looked at my transcript from JCC since those days 25 years ago when I was at California State University, Chico, applying for the master's degree program.
But I will never forget that F in fencing.
So how exactly did I fail a 1-unit class in fencing?
The class started at 7 a.m., in the gym on campus, three days a week. And you had to suit up in these ridiculous padded outfits before you even went out for roll call.
Need I explain further? Didn't think so.
Instead of a song today, I'm posting a link to a company that distributes all kinds of gag gifts, many of which were popular in 1966, like the dribbling glass, the whoopee cushion and a fake gun that puts out a flag that says 'bang,' when you fire it.
I used the site to find something called a 'clapper board,' used in making films. It's the thing they stick in front of the camera right before filming with the scene and take on it and then yell action.
Here's the link. (And hang onto your credit cards tight, some of this stuff is too funny.)