It is interesting and eerie how many of the Facebook "gifts"* for academics are familiar elements of my life, even though the gifts seem to have been created by a liberal arts professor. Here is a self-graded summer homework assignment: look at the array of gifts listed below and give yourself 1 point (NO EXTRA CREDIT, but some substitutions allowed) for each one that is or has been an actual element of your experience with academe.
In this case, the one with the most points loses.. as you will see when you look at the list.
[* Explanation for those not on Facebook: the "gifts" are not real, they are just little pictures with a caption and you electronically "give" these "gifts" to "friends", if they choose to accept them and thereby sign away all their FB page content and personal info to some unknown entity. Many gifts have "themes" related to various geographic, cultural, sports, or employment sectors.]
As it turns out, the number of academic gifts available is rather immense, so instead of doing this all in one post, I am going to divide it up (i.e. drag it out). If you want to play along, you should keep a tally of how many points you get each day. I will indicate my own number of points in the left column next to the name of the academic "gift".
1 = relevant to my academic existence now or in the past;
0 = not relevant, not part of my experience, or something I have blocked out and therefore have no conscious recollection of it
I may omit a few "gifts" that might anonymity-compromising if I indicated my score.
Day 1 List
1 ... 80 Freshmen Composition Papers (if I can substitute > 150-200 science exams that are graded by hand or 20 freshman science essays to be graded (by me) each week)
1 ... Annoying know-it-all Grad Student
1 ... Idiot Chairperson (but I'm not saying that my current chair is an idiot, just that I have experienced one at some point in my academic career)
1 ... Boring Faculty Meeting (I wish I could get extra credit for this one)
0 ... 4-4 Teaching Load (I love the image that goes along with this gift and I love that I can give myself a zero for this one)
0 ... Hip, Vacuous Queer Theorists
1 ... Windowless Office (happily in the past, not the present)
0 ... Dorky Medievalists (I considered substituting the scientific equivalent of this, as I believe it would not be difficult or inaccurate to make a comparison with some of my colleagues in certain subfields, but for now I will mark this one as zero points for me)
0 ... Embittered Marxist (ditto) -- do Embittered Sexists count?
1 ... Inaccurate Footnote (I would substitute inaccurate or missing citation here)
1 ... Grade-grubbing Student
1 ... Overbearing, Maladjusted Colleague (can I have a point for each one?)
1 ... "That Guy" (interpret how you wish, I suppose)
1 ... Unnecessary Freud References (substitute reference to Einstein or other scientist with cosmic fame, including the Einstein reference that I personally hate the most)
1 ... Enthralled Class (the image that accompanies this gift strongly suggests it is sarcastic)
1 ... Sentence in Outrageous Academese (I assume this means other people's sentences)
1 ... Crappy Office Chair (and desk)
1 ... Obsolete Classroom Technology
1 ... Another Freakin' Powerpoint (Yes, but...)
1 ... Students Texting in Class
1 ... Vanishing TIAA-CREF Account (I have a very sad story about this, actually)
1 ... Condescending IT Guy
1 ... Colleague Most Likely to (Mis)behave Like a Philip Roth Character (alas, this one transcends the divide between humanities and science)
1 ... Vengeful Student Evaluation
1 ... Permanently Malfunctioning Photocopier (OMG, I thought it was just me)
If you have a high score so far, are you feeling happy that so many others have the same experience and we can all bond over our misery, or does this fact make your blood run cold?
The list will continue tomorrow..
6 months ago