Deep Thoughts

–From Jeremiah Jarmin, Appalachian School of Law, Date of event: Spring 2005

It was during Contracts II when the class was discussing mental incapacity to enforce a contract. The professor brought up the concept of volitional impediment when dealing with a person suffering from a particular mental disorder. He asked the class, “What does volitional impediment mean?” One of the students raised his hand and began as if he were going to deliver some sort of long intelligent explanation of the words. He responded, “Volitional impediment is when … your volition is impeded.” The class lost it.

Then the professor asked what exactly the term “manic” meant, as when one is in a “manic” state of mind. A second student adopted the same line of deep reasoning used by the first student, saying, “Manic, you see … is the opposite … of depressive.”

The class lost it again. The professor then kindly removed the student from his seat, and had him switch seats with a student who was sitting next to the first student. He essentially created the peanut gallery.

When the professor asked again, “What does manic mean?,” both students raised their hands in unison. It was hysterical.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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