It’s not necessarily the domain of this particular blog to weigh in on political or current event issues. I usually post reflective, long winded, superfluous assessments on the events that punctuate my weird life. The reasoning behind this isn’t that I don’t have opinions on such issues. I do. In fact, I often obsess over current issues and events.
A few weeks ago, I found myself lost in exploration of reports that helium was escaping from the ground all over Yellowstone National Park, which might be a precursor to a supervolcano that would fundamentally alter the course of human history. Last week, when I should have been constantly grading, I found my attention drawn away by the Gordian Knot of confusion surrounding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which is still an ongoing mystery and a raw wound for the families of all those involved. Between taking part in crowdsourced scanning of satellite images and reading about wild, speculative theories, I was as wrapped up in the drama as anyone could be.
Some current events are interesting, not for their content, but for they reactions the elicit from the masses. One event that is unfolding as we speak involves the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, who is reportedly on his death bed. Reactions have been varied and swift. Even Grumpy Cat, the now-passé internet meme, had a predictable reaction.
Eloquent, timely, and full of compassion.
What else would you expect from the internet?
It’s been a long week. I know that with the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, it’s technically been a shorter week than the other 51 weeks of the year. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t felt like a much longer week. I’ve had fever off and on during the week, a stomach firmly set on revolting against me, and strange muscular twitches in my arms that are probably due to stress. I’ve been grading a lot of papers and tending to a lot of other tasks.
There are plenty of stressors in my life. I don’t feel particularly inclined to list them all here because I don’t feel like being bluntly honest about all of them at the moment to anyone that might be reading this. Blunt honesty is incredibly powerful when handled carelessly. Much like the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark, heedlessly cracking into it at any given time can be incredibly dumb.
Incredibly dumb, but also kind of adorable.
When I’m on campus in Norman, students come by my humble office on a regular basis. They’re usually seeking advice or an unflinching evaluation of their draft. Because of my position and my relative value to the department, my office is rather small. The students are always surprised by the state of my professorial domicile. It’s a 7 x 7 cell, with peeling baby blue paint on thick concrete walls and two large windows looking out onto a parking lot. I have virtually no art or posters on the walls and only one bookshelf, ironically containing very few books. I don’t mind it though. The space is primarily meant to use to meet with students or catch up on a little work in between classes. I’m lucky to have it and the space functions precisely as I need it to, with little embellishment.
One of my four walls isn’t actually a wall at all. The office opens up to another, slightly smaller room occupied by my office mate. He carefully decorates his half of the office with desk ornaments, student-made art, and a bookshelf overloaded with a variety of texts that he doesn’t have room for in his apartment. Papers are scattered around, there’s usually a derelict container or open book on his desk, casually left behind for the night. We’re something of an odd couple and we’ve shared an office four out of the 5 years I’ve been teaching at OU.
Most days, two other colleagues stop by our office and shoot the bull while enjoying brown-bag lunches in each other’s company. It’s a nice time to socialize with other adults while not having to perform the role of exuberant, enthusiastic adjunct professor in front of a classroom full of cynical, disaffected students. Our conversations range from bitching about grading essays to the odd similarity between raising small children and house pets. Make sure they don’t break anything, make sure they eat something that isn’t garbage, and be sure to help them use the bathroom periodically.
The other day, my office mate posted a picture to his Facebook timeline. The picture featured seven cardinal rules by which one should live their life. These kinds of things appear in my news feed often and they’re largely unremarkable, but well-meaning. Most of the rules made sense, with the exception of #2- “What other people think of you is none of your business.”
#8- Never, under any circumstances, should you ever
be in the bathroom while your spouse is pooping.