Thursday, January 22, 2015

Young Duckbutt Learns About Being a College Professor

I was hired by an institution in another state.  Back then, I was in my mid-20's, and had some ideas of what kinds of lofty thoughts and clever sayings were expected of me as a newly minted assistant professor with my recent Ph. D. from the University of Alabama.  I thought I was well-read, kept abreast of current affairs (Hey, I subscribed to Time, had a smattering of philosophy, a limited knowledge of arts, and a lot of brass.)  Yes, I drove a 1967 Volkswagen and had broad tastes in rock music.

My first task on the job, other than filling out a lot of paperwork, was to stand by a door and let students through only if their I.B.M. card had a green stripe on the top where the name was typed.  If they lacked the green stripe, I was to send them down the hall.  I was never told what happened to the green stripers nor the others; the greenies could have been admitted to a wild party or damned from here to eternity, for all I knew.  Oh well, I learned about need to know when I worked for a radiopositioning company.

I guess assistant professors are regarded as in the same category as second lieutenants.

The next day, I went early before classes into the snack bar, met a few fellow faculty members, and thought, "Wow, my first intellectual conversation as a junior college professor!  I hope I can hold my own."

Only it didn't work that way.  The sage elders (pretty nice guys, by the way) were talking about something I knew nothing about.

Cyd Charisse's legs!

Of course!  College professors talk about some of the things that others do.  Actually, they talk a lot of shop, sports, and politics.  Politics?  Up one's wazoo!  Yes, and actresses from before my time.

Anyway, when I took my next teaching job, I was then knowledgeable about Cyd Charisse's legs! Darn it, I was never asked about them.


  1. It's been awhile since I've heard the name Cyd Charisse mentioned. A quick trip to google images refreshed images of the legs.

  2. DB, how funny. We do sometimes have unusual expectations. And you didn't even have Google back then, right? My first surprise from this kind of situation was when my brother was ordained as a minister, and I listened to the conversations from his colleagues at the reception. The are really normal people!

  3. my mother-in-law was a huge fan of cyd charisse. :)