Actual student email:

"I looked over the comments on my research paper and there's no way this is a D. It's at least an A-."

After reading this six or seven times to ensure proper comprehension, I started channeling Joe Pesci from Raging Bull; where do you get the balls to ask me a question like that? We all like to idealize ourselves as undergraduates. Even if we think we were lazy, arrogant slobs we prefer to recall ourselves as smart lazy, arrogant slobs. Regardless of how trite it sounds, though, I have to say that there is no conceivable universe in which I would ever have said this to a professor when I was a student. What planet are these people from? Where have God and man gone astray in guiding these wayward youth?

After about a dozen draft responses, all of which I wisely deleted, I finally responded that when the University allows me to choose my own salary I will let students choose their own grades. Under the circumstances I feel like anything short of a right hook to the kidney and a knee to the groin counts as a measured, appropriate response.