These dangerous characters are not limited to the faculty lounge, but can be found in any social group.
An acquaintance of mine shared this memo, which a co-worker (who is, notwithstanding all indications to the contrary, a native speaker of English) circulated to everyone in their office yesterday:
This has not occurred in several months. But it has been noticed at each incident. And this preliminary, hopefully, has allowed you to share some of the feelings, and lost, that I have when it does happen.
It is. Staff will transverse Reception. Or enter or egress the breakroom. And throughout their action, they are leaving a trail of gas. Now you can see my lost. Someone or someones unknown have passed Reception, undetected, except for only their noxious trail.
These events have not been the result of D—-, as they have mostly developed prior to her moving to Reception, and you have apparently resolved her problem. I do not think it is because of A—–, because when she passes gas, she seems unabashed.
I have no control over the actions of others. So you may wish to investigate these events and develop a strategy for combating the slothfulness of others.
I do not know whom is doing it, or when it will happen. But it is an unpleasant experience for me, and the public. As it may be their first impression of [COMPANY].
I thought you should know.
This past weekend, we took an overnight trip to Asheville, North Carolina. While driving through downtown, distractedly gazing at the various shop-window displays of healing crystals, hemp clothing, and other new-age tchochkes, I nearly rammed into an SUV with a bumper sticker reading “Joy is My Compass”.
The day after my near-collision, I finished reading Foreskin’s Lament, Shalom Auslander’s wonderful, agonizing, hilarious, and angry memoir about growing up in, and growing estranged from, an ultra-orthodox Jewish family and community. The book ends with Auslander coming to terms with his “God problem” and making a life with his wife and their son in Woodstock, NY. His depiction of their hometown could just as easily apply to Asheville, or any number of similar commodified hippie havens:
It is a few days from my son’s first birthday, and I am sitting in a local Woodstock cafe, waiting to speak with the owner about a cake I would like him to bake for the party we are planning. A young man enters, sits down at a table near the window, and begins reading his newspaper. When the waiter approaches, the man asks if the waiter wouldn’t mind turning the music off.
–I need … I need to think, he says. –You know, and in order to think I need to connect, you know, spiritually, internally, I need to find my way to my inner source and it’s very disturbing, because thought is a bubble, your spirit and inner space, you know?
–Sure, says the waiter.
After a moment, the man spots a woman at a table nearby. She has long Pippi Longstocking braids and wears a floral dress and Birkenstock sandals.
I have just described everyone in Woodstock.
–What are you drawing? he asks.
–Something from a dream, she says in a spiritual whisper. — I had a dream and I saw the Christ, and he was resurrected, only his body wasn’t filled with skin and bones and pain and agony. It was filled with rainbows.
–Mmm-hmm. And the rainbows were love. And they filled the world.
–That’s beautiful he said.
He moved to her table, handed her his business card, and pressed her to come to his film, which he was screening that night at a local pub. She handed him her business card, in case he wanted his skull read and his chakra mapped. Or his chakra read and his skull mapped. I forget.
Woodstock is a thriving tourist town known around the world for something that didn’t actually happen there; the famous music festival took place in Bethel, a non-thriving town not famous anywhere for something that actually did happen there.
Pictures do not represent actual contents.
[...] In recent years, the town has changed, or we have changed, or both. It has become the art version of Vegas. Artists name themselves Love and Peace and Free and sell oversized, overpriced canvases featuring brightly colored flowers and brightly colored doves and brightly colored people holding hands, canvases that barely fit in the overpriced, oversized Hummers of their Manhattan customers. People wear tie-dyed shirts with Diesel jeans. BMW sports cars wear stickers reminding the Lexus sports cars behind them about the tragedy in Darfur. In the back of our minds, we know the search for our Promised Land is not yet over, and may never be.
Once again, it’s that time of the year when we are inundated with catalogs hawking endless arrays of useless merchandise. As Ann Bartow observes, some of the items are truly odd. But this one is by far the oddest I have ever seen:
Stone Statue Tissue Box Cover
For centuries, the giant stone statues on Easter Island have puzzled archaeologists and explorers. The tallest one still standing is about 37′ high. Considerably smaller and, let’s face it, more practical, our resin tissue holder sits flat or mounts on a wall. Fits standard-size tissue boxes. 10 ¼” w x 5″ h x 5 ¼” d.
Every morning when I park my car in the lot across from the law school, I ask myself the same question: Who is the putz who routinely squeezes his Ford F-150 pickup truck into a spot fit for a Mini, and why is he (surely it is a “he”) such a putz?
One of the few annoying aspects of my job (and, as annoyances go, this one is pretty tolerable) is that I’m expected to wear a tie to work. Even when I was practicing law, I never wore a tie unless I was appearing in court or some other formal proceeding. I suppose the relative formality at my law school is attributable to being in the South, where business culture is still relatively traditional.
Mind you, I don’t really object to ties; I have quite a collection (including several bows for very special occasions) and think they’re nice. It’s just that wearing my collar buttoned feels constricting (an issue accentuated by my Tourette’s-induced perpetual neck twisting). Given the choice, I wouldn’t go so far as Professor Bainbridge and show up for class in a football jersey. But I’d certainly opt for an open collar.
A letter in today’s Greensboro News & Record touches on a touchy issue for non-evangelicals living in the South:
The God I already have suits me fine, thanks
Lately, small groups of well-dressed, soft-spoken folks have knocked on our door.
They come bearing a message: Commit to their god. That would be my only path to heaven. So, I can surmise where I am heading.
When they left, I felt lousy. After living a long, honorable life, I was doomed. Why do people challenge another man’s faith?
I am a World War II veteran, pretty much set in my ways. I don’t do change easily. I admit that I switched from Pepsi to Coke, and when I smoked cigarettes, I tried different brands.
But to switch gods — that’s a bit much.
Even if I were to entertain this idea, what would I say to my God? “I found a better god?”
That’s ludicrous. God is God. Or, are there different gods for different faiths?
Is heaven crowded? Or is the spirit of God universal?
In the interim, God told me that “heaven awaits.”
I think I will maintain the status quo. Peace.
In my case, I gave up cola, cigarettes, and god altogether. I might humbly suggest to Mr. Roseman, “try it, you’ll like it.” But, for those who insist on believing in a higher power, I offer this anthem from Jens Lekman.
I committed a rather embarrassing blunder today, which I will blame partly on someone else’s poor website design, but mostly on my own haste.
I’ve been developing a research project on online social networking and reputation maintenance among law students, and have been perusing various social networking sites. Today I learned of a new (to me) site called Rapleaf, which bills itself as an “online reputation lookup”. In my effort to see how it works, I uploaded my email address book, under the misapprehension that the result would be to identify who in my address book was listed on the site.
Instead, to my great chagrin and eternal shame, it sent an email to everyone in my address book, saying that I’d rated them as “a good person” and inviting them to rate me in return. It will serve me right if the recipients of this spam respond by rating me a buffoon.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been subject to a constant, and seemingly endless, stream of telephone solicitations from various outfits offering to consolidate my student loans. They appear to be taking advantage of the gap between my getting a new phone number and my signing up with the FTC’s do-not-call registry. Though, like everyone, I find the calls annoying, I try not to be too rude to the callers, who are merely wage slaves and not really the ones responsible for the annoyance.
This evening, though, I couldn’t resist having a little fun at one caller’s expense. The caller introduced herself as “Tanya from Education”. “Education what?” I asked. “Education Solutions”, she replied. So I told her that my education wasn’t a problem so I don’t need a solution. She didn’t appear to get the joke.