"I worked late last night and I'm pretty tired," said my student, "so try not to be boring."
"Try not to be boring?" I said. "I'm an English professor. Boring comes with the territory. I've aced grad-school classes in being boring, from Introduction to Boredom to Theory of Boredom to Advanced Applied Boredom. Moreover, I've honed those boredom-inducing skills through many years of practice in the field until I can produce boredom effortlessly any day of the week with my eyes shut and both hands tied behind my back. If there were a boredom-inducing event at the Olympics, I'd be the captain of the team."
"Asking an English professor not to be boring," I continued, "is like asking a fish not to swim or a bird not to fly or a freshman not to repeat the prompt in the first sentence of the essay. It's written right there on my diploma--Summa cum Boring. Are you asking me to deny my birthright, my very reason for existing, just because you stayed up a little too late last night?"
"Never mind," he said, abashed. "Go ahead and be as boring as you want."
And so I did.