Field of Science

Tough Choice

I was presented with a tough choice today: start field work or go to a faculty meeting. After a nanosecond or two, I decide to go out into the field and try to find a hundred quadrats now that the prairie has been burned, even though it was a bit rainy. This assures that I accomplished a little something whereas accomplishing something in a faculty meeting is actually a rare event. Especially today when the topic was a banal proposal to change the name of our academic unit from department to school. That's it, except some of my colleagues think this an academic panacea rather than a mere cosmetic change. And of course with the stakes so low, the discussion is certain to be acrimonious.

This reminds me of a fellow I met many years ago from our English Dept. If you looked up curmudgeon in the dictionary, there was his picture. He always wore a string tie with a slide, and one day he accosted me going across the campus. "I'm on my way to fawculty meeting", he said, "and I always wear this tie." "Do you know what this is?" indicating his tie slide.

"Well, it looks like a slice of some kind of fossil, but without detail I can't tell what."

"It's a coprolite", he said, "do you know what that is?"

"Yes, a coprolite is fossilized feces."

"And that is why I wear it", he said, "in honor of all those fossilized old shits in my department!"

No question about it, field work was the right choice. Besides, I didn't have the correct attire for faculty meeting.

No comments: