Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dr. Schadenfrau Returns To Run Down a Little Paul Simon.

Whoa...where’s the time gone? Last I remember, it was August and I was prepping some muck for the fall. Next thing I know, it’s November 1. It would appear that Dr. Schadenfrau has experienced some of the Rip Van Winkle effect in the time/space continuum. Good gin will do that to you, as you may have heard. Mediocre absinthe leads to being post-modern, French, and generally deceased…just a warning but certainly no reason to decline the beverage, if offered.

I can’t tell if 20 odd years have passed or not since I last read RYS, but it looks as if the laments are about the same. Our colleagues and students—that variety pack of wankers, churls and non-descript nebbishes—inspire me to channel Paul Simon and re-work that old classic “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” as part of the recent “Exit Strategy” chatter.

Paul’s lyrics require some reconsideration in both academia and 2009. First, I’d like to refute the statement that the problem is all inside my head, as the song hints. My head is a busy place—not unlike a 3-ring circus with a Britney Spears meltdown going on at center stage. There’s really not much room left for problems especially when I hallucinate and see the VP as a large bear on a unicycle who could lunge and severe my un-tenured arse at a moment’s notice.

Naturally, I’d enjoy being very logical about this whole situation as the song portends, but with mandatory furloughs in place I am not permitted to channel any logic through my brain on certain days each month. While it’s been alluded to that I may be engaged in a struggle to be free as an academic, I’m afraid that’s not the case in these economic times. I truly can’t afford ‘free’ in any sense of the word. Heck, I’ve even had to modify “easy” [please see my profile on if you’ve got some of your own teeth and a job]. Believe me, lowering my standards lower than they already are, is pretty damn tough.

Repetition and instrusions aside, meaning, as a socially constructed variable, is always lost and misconstrued. No need to be crude and repeat the argument; I can’t entertain that, or the negotiation of socially constructed meaning on this, a furlough day. Even the bear on a unicycle motif has to go by the wayside when my pay is withheld…state rules, you know.

  • Anyway, Jack (Dept. Chair), I can’t truly exit; I can only cope. I’m gonna slip out the back because no one will see me skulking to the parking lot and assign me to another committee. Tell Stan (Director of HR) I need a new 401K plan that’s not swirling in the financial toilet bowl or I’m here for another 20+ years at a minimum.

  • And Roy (Engineering prof.), I do not want to come to your house when your we’re-kind-of-separated wife’s away and see your Koi. To the best of my knowledge, Koi do not live in hot tubs. I’ll take my chances with the semi-toothed on dating sites. Tell Margie I’ll see her Thursday for bridge at your house, by the way.

  • As for that bus, Gus (VP Academics), I’d be delighted to use the college’s sponsored transit program; however, you pay me so little I’m forced to live in an exurbia un-serviced by multi-passenger vehicles other than mini-vans.

  • And Lee (Campus Operations), I don’t know what’s with this dropping off the key crap, but I do have a magnetic swipe card that may, or may not, glide nicely between your cheeks. I’m free Saturday night if you want to give it a go. For even cheaper thrills, I can wear my academic regalia and you can call me Professor MacGonagall.