Wednesday, August 22, 2007

dem things, dem dry things

And now a couple more of

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

80. Gin and tonics. I just love 'em. Back in the wild days of my misspent youth, we would gather together for meetings of what we called the PhDC - the Philosophers' Drinking Club - at UNC Charlotte. At some point, for reasons that the ages have made obscure, etched though they are in the firmament, we decided that the official drink of the PhDC was the gin and tonic. This makes sense on a number of levels, not least of which is that, as PhDC co-founder Jim "The Most Optimistic Man In America, And That Includes John McCain" Williams has said, it is the alcoholic salt of the earth.

But don't listen to us. Listen to Douglas Adams, who noted in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe that "85 percent of all known worlds in the Galaxy" have some homophonic drink, whether it be "jynnan tonnyx" or "jinond-o-nicks," or my personal favorite, "gee-N-N-T'N-ix."

Gin and tonics are terrific accompaniments to Macanudo Ascots, and are best served outdoors, in warm weather, with good company.

79. First days of semesters. I just love 'em. I'm also petrified of 'em. There's just under 2 weeks left before the first day of fall classes. Am I ready? Does the Pope shit in the woods?

But that's not the reason I'm petrified. I can do more academic prep work in an afternoon than most people can do in a month. I am the Philosopher-Chef, and I sauté knowledge.

No, I'm petrified in the way you were petrified before the start of 4th grade, when you were aware enough of the whole school politics scene that you knew somehow it mattered if the other kids didn't like you. To this day, having taught now for (holy freakin' Gordie Howe) 15 years in one capacity or another, I still face the first day with that nervous feeling. And it matters so much less for me if my students don't like me, really. We'll be rid of each other in 14 weeks.

But it's fun, too. The jitters are sorta yummy. Everything is fresh, too. I'm trying new things, they haven't heard any of my jokes, I've got new jokes prepped. At Cow State Santa Claus there is an annual start-of-fall General Faculty Meeting, which I'm sure dates back to the days when the university held classes at the county fairgrounds and everybody ate dinner together once a month at somebody's house. New faculty (full-time faculty, that is) are introduced to all the assembled academics, college by college and department by department. It's as corny as Hee-Haw, but I love it. I'm a sucker for pomp, circumstance, and the idea that universities could actually be communities, even at this late date in the irreversible, irrevocable, ineluctable bureaucratization of the social world. Velvet cage, indeed.

1 comment:

Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

Now, if you could just get them to start serving Gin & Tonics at those General Faculty Meetings, well, then, boy howdy! Talk about your velvet cages!!!