Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Today at the college, a man stopped me and said, "Excuse me, are you a professor?"  He had the wrong person, but even so.  Later this morning, a kid bumped into me and said "Pardon me, Professor."  After my last class, one of my students said, "Professor, would it be all right if I stayed late and used this computer?"
This title excites me. I am still not used to it.  It's on my business cards, and my boss addresses me as such, but when I look at it, printed there, or when I hear it, I still look around to see who A) dropped it, or B) is standing behind me.
I wondered what a professor is supposed to look like, if I am apparently one. Most of the professors in the college look pretty normal to me, but there are a few somewhat eccentric-looking people in the lounge most days.  I wondered which kind I was. . . . .
Do professors forget to put on stockings in the morning, and go to school wearing loafers on their bare feet?  Do professors notice that their pale lavender shirt has a mustard stain smeared over the left boob AFTER all their classes are finished for the morning?  Do professors habitually run their fingers through their hair and therefore sport a hairstyle that can optimistically be called "Einsteinian?"  Do professors feel the need to apologize for returning quizzes with diet Coke rings on them?  Would a real professor be embarrassed if a large cricket leaped out of her briefcase the moment the lid was raised up?  Do real professors get tickled during lectures and snort that same Diet coke out their noses? Would a real professor give ten bonus points to a student who knew that a 'bunch of crows' is called a "murder?"  Would she drum on the lecturn and yell "ABSOLUTELY!" at this student and scare him to death?  Would a real professor launder khaki pants with brand-new jeans and not notice the smears of dye until she got in the car to go home?  Do real professors sit all alone in the kitchen, watching Harry Potter movies and MASH reruns until the cows come home? 
I assure you that I never would, (ahem) but I bet the absent-minded ones do.  Is there any other kind?  I mean, any other interesting kind?
I applied for a new job today.  It's within the college, but it's something new.  It's full-time, and I desperately need the money.
Desperately.  DESPERATELY. 
As in, "desperately."
There's not much money in flubber these days.
Addendum:   A student just called me and apologized for missing class yesterday.  She said, "Professor, I lost my house yesterday and my ten-year-old son and I are now homeless and living in the car.  Could you give me the assignment that I missed?"
She's living in a car with her child, and she still wants to do well in college.
Did I think I had problems?  I feel like an ass.
Would a real professor cry like this?  I've not been one long enough to know.
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