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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lunch With A Former Professor

He appeared as a rather common fellow (and always did), like a regular Joe, until he opened his mouth (his personal downfall).  His words were almost grotesque, not in a vile sense, but on a level that would be alien to many people.  Here he was, an old professor of mine, probing me to see if my intelligence level had been raised from that of so many years ago.   When I replied with the same level of verbal pomposity, he settled down; a condescending demeanor would not be his to use on this day.  Many folks in academia, but certainly not all, have a thing or two in common.  One is that they think they have all the answers concerning their specific discipline.  But only a small number have taken their knowledge outside of the classroom (in other words, they are not Indiana Jones) and applied it in the real world.  For the some of those who have done so, they discovered that the real world is not so kind to some of their treasured postulations.  And to others that ventured outside of the lecture hall, the satisfaction had that what they taught worked in the real world, was a bonus.  In both of these instances, knowledge was applied and experience was gained; that's the beginning of wisdom.  Success or failure does not matter - the experience gained is what's really important.  My lunch companion did not fail to disappoint me.  After all, I know the man.  He had no intention of proving his postulations in the real world; he wrote his position papers and they were published - that was good enough for him.  He then reminded me of his position and of his tenure; because of that, in his mind, he was right (even though he had been proven wrong many times - that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!).  Well, the man has spent most of his adult life in academia.  Another thing that many academics have in common is a sense of entitlement - they like their freebies.  It did not come as a surprise to me when the professor finished his lunch, got out of his chair, and bid me a good afternoon and left, sticking me with the check.  I expected that to happen, even though it was he who had invited me to lunch.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not coming down on academia.  We really need good teachers.  What I am saying is that they need to get away from their cloistered life and take a few long walks in the real world.  


                                               Copyright @2012 Terry Unger

                                                 
                                                       

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