When I was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, I “taught” the future professional wrestler — and now Heavyweight Ultimate Fighting Chamption — Brock Lesnar.  FERPA probably constrains me from describing too precisely the semester we spent together, but let’s just say I was less than impressed with Lesnar’s academic potential; his essay on Kant’s anthropology of race was likely not his finest work.  Regardless, he won the NCAA heavyweight title that year, drawing (by the standards of college wrestling) enormous crowds to home meets, where he apparently had his way with all challengers. There’s no way to understate this: he was a massive human being in 1999, and nearly ten years of protein, lifting weights and beating the fuck out of people seem not to have diminished him.

Lesnar parlayed his amateur glory into a three-year run with World Wrestling Entertainment, during which time he evidently vaulted to the top of his profession, wrestling the likes of Hulk Hogan and The Rock on his way to becoming the youngest WWE champion in history. As I understand it, he was known for such moves as the “spinebuster,” the “scoop powerslam,” the “rear naked choke,” and something mysteriously known as “repeated turnbuckle thrusts.” His signature line, Wikipedia tells me, was “Here comes the pain!” — a phrase that I suppose I could have utilized whenever returning Mr. Lesnar’s written work.

In any event, the whole thing is rather strange.  I’ve been teaching my own courses for about 13 years now, and every now and then I wonder what some of the more memorable students have done with themselves.  Sometimes, I suppose they turn up as assistant professors of geophysics at one of the Penn State campuses; sometimes they establish themselves as successful photographers in Chicago; and sometimes you find them on pay-per-view, thrashing grown men until they semi-consciously soil their tights.