Men With Guns (and that scares Heidi Czerwiec) (Update)

Heidi Czerwiec has shit for brains.  Sure, she’s an associate professor of English at the University of North Dakota, which pretty much means that she chose her undergraduate major poorly and, failing to find a societally useful job, became an academic.  Maybe that’s unfair, as it’s not like she does nothing beyond teaching.

My new collection, Self-Portrait as Bettie Page (Barefoot Muse, 2013), is a sonnet sequence that negotiates the relationship between formal poetics, bondage/discipline, and female identity through the figure of elusive 1950s pinup Bettie Page, whose own identity was a series of costumes.

But she’s a bit skittish, so when she saw people with guns outside her office window, she did what any blithering idiot concerned woman does: she called 911.

A professor at the University of North Dakota is pledging to repeatedly call the police on campus military cadets in protest against the school’s decision to let them hold drills on campus while carrying guns.

During the Vietnam War, ROTC was highly controversial, as it prepared students to go into battle as officers, and there was serious concern that colleges should be places of learning rather than places to prepare men to die.  But times change, and the military still needs officers.  And to become an officer, or anything in the military, there will be training. And that training will involve guns. Because it’s the friggin’ military.

Heidi didn’t like that idea. Guns are scary to her, and things that are scary to her are bad, so she decided to do something about it by sharing her feelings with the campus police.

I can barely talk—first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them. They thank me for reporting it.

A few minutes later, a university officer calls me back—not to reassure me, but to scold me for calling 911.

It seems remarkably unlikely that anyone forced Heidi to describe her speaking abilities, so when she writes, “I can barely talk,” the pathological narcissism stems from her alone.  This is what an associate professor of English offers in her letter to the editor of the Grand Forks Herald to make readers understand exactly how she felt. Don’t other people need to know exactly how she felt?

When I tell him that this was news to 911 and that they encouraged me to call whenever I see a gun on campus, he seems surprised.

He also tells me that ROTC will be doing these exercises for the next couple weeks.

This is how the world appears to people who have shit for brains.  Heidi, presumably, knows that UND has an ROTC program, since she cashes its paycheck.  She is presumably capable of routine observation, the ability to distinguish between a student in ROTC and an active shooter on campus.  When she calls 911 and, barely able to talk because of her fear of camo, tells them it’s the latter rather than the former, she gets the reaction she elicits.  It’s possible that UND had a shooter. It’s not the 911 operator’s fault that Heidi’s fear of one caused confusion with the other.

But, of course, UND didn’t have a shooter. Heidi was afraid, she says. That means the campus police were wrong, because it’s not possible that Heidi has shit for brains.

It’s not my job to decide whether people carrying guns at school are an actual threat. It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family.

It’s already highly inappropriate to conduct unnecessary military maneuvers in the middle of the quad. But with school shootings on the increase and tensions at UND running high, it’s especially irresponsible.

We’re already under financial and emotional attack. We don’t need to feel under physical attack, too.

Saying “not my job” used to be the punchline of jokes. It was Freddie Prinze’s catchphrase on Chico and the Man. And now it’s Heidi’s excuse for having shit for brains.

But Heidi apparently has issues with the school whose paycheck she deposits, and absolves herself of all intellectual failings.  The school is wrong to hold “unnecessary military maneuvers in the middle of the quad” because, well, Heidi feelz it’s wrong.  And Heidi’s feelz somehow compound themselves into not only making it inappropriate, but irresponsible. Didn’t UND ask Heidi how she felt before doing something that might upset Heidi? Don’t they care at all about Heidi’s feelings. Isn’t UND all about Heidi?

So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time.

Giving Heidi the benefit of the doubt, even though she wasn’t a gender and deviant sexual studies major or professor, such that she had been trained to elevate her feelings above all else, not because it’s an entitlement but because the universe must bend to her feelings, she now knows, with absolute certainty, that students in ROTC will be doing what her employer (remember that whole paycheck thing), UND, has decided they are supposed to do.

But Heidi will not allow that to happen. Screw UND. Screw ROTC. Screw the students in ROTC. And screw the campus police.  Heidi will call. Every time.  She’ll show them whose feelings matter. She’ll show them that the University of North Dakota is Heidiland.  They will bow to the force of her feelings.

At the campus police headquarters, there is a picture of Heidi by the phones.  When she calls, they will take her call, not ask any questions, but to have a huge laugh about the crazy associate professor who

recently completed a poetry manuscript, Maternal Imagination, which represents the female perspective on the monstrous body, since so many of the texts attribute fault to the mother: her imagination, accusations of sex with demons or animals, and even contemporary issues like thalidomide. I am also expanding into translation and creative nonfiction, and it’s both scary and exciting to flex new writing muscles.

And the 911 operator and cops will howl with laughter at the loony professor with shit for brains.  Hopefully, Heidi won’t be the first to see an actual active shooter on campus, because no one will take her seriously and respond.

Update: This is supposedly an image of an email sent to the UND community on March 3rd. Apparently, Heidi didn’t get the memo (or at least couldn’t be bothered to read it).


33 comments on “Men With Guns (and that scares Heidi Czerwiec) (Update)

  1. Sol Wisenberg

    Well, yes. But the Bettie Page collection looks kind of intriguing. Do you know if it includes illustrations?

        1. SHG Post author

          It’s funny you should do that. I was going to at first, but then I decided to be slightly less snarky.

    1. David MeyerLindenberg

      I downloaded it. Yeah. God help me, I have Kindle Unlimited and it didn’t cost me a dime.

      Here’s the first “sonnet,” reproduced in full.

      Pole Star

      Your eyes laugh out at us, a blazing blue
      that burns through even in black & white: you’re posed
      indoors in someone’s basement, overexposed
      and pasty in stilted heels and severe hairdo;

      or outside, outfitted in outlandish style
      in scanty costumes of your own design:
      Jungle Bettie, fiercely leonine
      or harem girl, eyes batting beneath her veil.

      Inside these photographs, I spin around
      the polestar of your eyes. In them I see
      myself, no part left out. They say to me,
      you’re in on it, this joke at its most profound:

      I can pretend to be a badass bitch,
      yet disarm you with the winking power of kitsch.

      She’s completely unable to scan. An English professor who can’t fucking scan..

      1. Fubar

        My new collection, Self-Portrait as Bettie Page (Barefoot Muse, 2013), is a sonnet sequence that negotiates the relationship between formal poetics, bondage/discipline, and female identity through the figure of elusive 1950s pinup Bettie Page, whose own identity was a series of costumes.

        With deepest respect for Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon.

        For the marks in this poetic con it
        takes them folks what can’t scan a sonnet.
        Festoon someone you knew
        had more talent than you
        with fake flowers, like Minnie Pearl’s bonnet!

  2. Gregg

    At least this story ended with the police laughing at this dumbass, and not sending a SWAT team.

    Plus, it’s fun to know the first rule of policing extends to professors: “It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family.” It must be traumatizing, being on the front lines of America’s universities.

    1. SHG Post author

      Whether other academics think they get to adopt the First Rule of Policing, I dunno. But very interesting that she takes it for herself. Think of what she would do if she went blue instead of pink.

      1. Gregg

        “My new collection, Self-Portrait as Lisa Mearkle (Barefoot Muse, 2013), is a sonnet sequence that negotiates the relationship between formal poetics, lack of discipline, and female identity through the figure of brave 21st century police officer Lisa Mearkle, whose own identity was a badge and an itchy trigger finger.”

  3. Keith

    It takes a certain level of “shit for brains” to actively want to annoy the people with the guns because you’re terrified of them hurting you, but it’s good to see that North Dakota has their top men on the case.

    With any luck, they have a fine for misuse of the 911 system to divert resources.

    1. SHG Post author

      I suspect it’s less a matter of her level of shit for brains (though she may well be high up on the list) as it is narcissism, where the idea of annoying anyone else is irrelevant since she’s the center of the universe.

    2. ergooden

      She sees people with guns on campus, becomes alarmed and calls 911. What a flippin’ idiot. God, I hate people like her … and she’s actually TEACHING our youth. To do what? Be stupid like her? “Ooooh, look at the scary guns! Domestic terrorism, domestic terrorism! I’m calling 911! Oh, wait … what? ROTC? Duh, what’s that?”


  4. A HREF

    Who says you can’t get a quality education from a land grant university? Good to see UND trying to attract students from the Ivies.

  5. losingtrader

    I was laughing at this until I realized I know someone who attends UND. She has shit for brains too.
    She fed my dog tiny bones.
    I had gone through all the possibilities while my dog was being treated but never guessed she had company at UND.
    Perhaps the 86% acceptance rate also applies to professors ?


  6. DaveL

    If it isn’t her job to decide which men with guns are a threat, what is she doing second-guessing those who have already decided for her that these men are not?

    1. Ken Hagler

      And of course when she sees men with guns, she reacts by calling men with guns. Maybe she missed the memo that cops carry guns too–and unlike ROTC cadets, they carry real guns and a willingness to use them at the drop of a hat.

  7. DaveL

    there was serious concern that colleges should be places of learning rather than places to prepare men to die.

    Of course, ROTC is learning. If the point were in fact to send men off to die, no special training would be required*.

    *The Soviets were actually rather fond of that tactic, back in the day.

    1. Lurker

      The comment by the good professor demonstrates her lack of understanding of the ROTC mission. They don’t teach ROTC cadets to die. If you want to use that sort of hyperbole, the proper way to formulate would be “teaching young men to lead others to their deaths” or “teaching young people to lead professional killers”.

      The ROTC educates future officers, not cannonfodder.

  8. Richard G. Kopf


    I decided to go to the ROTC website at UND ’cause I was scared for Heidi. I was able to find a photo of the 2015 commissioning ceremony.

    Out of 14 potential campus killers, there were five women. They looked absolutely terrifying and wholly unlike Bettie Page.

    All the best.


    1. SHG Post author

      If Heidi really cared, she would advocate for their uniforms being altered to Bettie Page bondage outfits.

  9. JAV

    As a proud resident of the Peace Garden State, I am happy to say and know personally, that people like her are still in the minority here.

    Reading the story does makes me wonder if she knows where she’s living. The open of deer season is an unofficial school holiday, and it was not unusual to see guns in their racks in the high school parking lot.

    1. Dragoness Eclectic

      Yes, I was wondering about that. North Dakota is a rural, western state, and if it’s anything like Tennessee during hunting season, you not only see pickups with gun racks everywhere, you often see a dead deer tied to someone’s truck. Does she go on a major freak-out during hunting season up there? I imagine they have a good one for mule deer and antelope, if nothing else. IIRC, isn’t North Dakota on one of the major flyways, so doesn’t it have a major waterfowl season, as well?

  10. LTMG

    Once again, a professor successfully teaches us that a PhD and wisdom don’t always occupy the same brain.

  11. John Rew

    Heidi belongs to that “peaceful ” group of people who are non violent and have never fought any wars for their beliefs. Calling on others to do the dirty work and putting other people at risk ensures deniability and requires an agile mind. I can assure you Heidi has anything but shit for brains as anyone who has dealt with a personality disorder will tell you.

  12. Osama bin Pimpin

    Not Bettie, would not hit that. Sick of fat chicks saying they have curves like Bettie (who was actually quite athletic). Having a Bettie tat doesn’t change that math.

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