Get a Life or Get Ahead

Although the Dowbrigade has sworn a blood oath not
to blog about the institution for which we work, or any of the people
we work with, or any of the students we teach, have taught in the past
or may teach in the future, we figure we can safely mention incidents
and anecdotes concerning the things we do during the day, as long as
we do not mention any of the above topics.

For example, this morning we had several amusing
or interesting experiences during our two-hour class.  First, about
a half hour in, our phone goes off. This after explaining to the unmentionables
how impolite and unprofessional it was to forget to turn off your phone
before a class, or a business meeting.  These are, after all, business

Thinking to quickly turn it off and apologize to the
unmentionables now and the caller later, we glanced at the caller
ID.  It
was Mom. How can one not take a call from Mom? Under ANY circumstances,
considering the calls she’s taken from us over the years.

"Hello, Mom, I thought I asked you never to call me
at work."

"Oh, are you are work?"

"You know I work in the mornings.  Right now
I’m sitting in a full classroom"
Aside: "Say hi to Mom, guys"

Unmentionables: (in loud unison and singsong) "Hi, Mom"

Mom:"That’s nice, dear.  I’ll call back in
the afternoon. Have a good time with your friends."

After hanging up we apologized and abased ourselves
before the unmentionables. They seemed to be enjoying the whole thing.

Later we led a discussion on the career choices that
place one, eventually, somewhere on a continuum whose terminals are,
on the left, GET AHEAD and on the right, GET A LIFE.  There was
a diagram in the textbook.

We discussed stuff like Would you take a job you disliked
to acquire a skill you desired? and Would you accept leading a short-term
project you really wanted to do if it meant giving up a secure job? We
talked about
stress the silent killer and the bluebird of hapiness and when they asked us where we fell on the Continuum
we gave them one of Our Looks which belied, we hope, the advice we gave
on the first day of class – "There are no dumb questions."

But we elucidated, which is what teachers do, and explained,
"I have been doing this job for 15 years. At the end of every semester
I get 6 or 7 weeks of paid vacation. When school is in session I spend
about three hours a day, on average, in the classroom, and the rest of
my job I can
do at home. Plus, I really like teaching and spending time around smart
young people from around the world like you because it keeps me intellectually
spry. The downside is I make less than half as much as my brother the
businessman or my
Where do you think that puts me on the chart?"

Unmentionables: (in loud unison and singsong) "GET

Then we finished watching the very first episode of
"Desperate Housewives" and discussed suburbia, anorexia, funereal arrangements,
single parenthood,
infidelity and American television viewing habits.

After class we moved our car to avoid a ticket (Brookline
has a 2-hour limit, and the traffic cops go around marking tires with
chalk to nab transgressors) and walked across the Avenue to the Campus
Health and Fitness Center for our swift sixty minute workout. By 11:30
we were in the therapeutic lap pool (86F) and by 12:30, after 40 minutes
of laps, a ten minute soak in the whirlpool and a shower we were back
in our car, work and workout checked off the old to-do list, thinking
about where to have lunch.

All we had left on our agenda was thinking of something
interesting to blog about today. Get a life, indeed.

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