Friday, April 15, 2011


"If I didn’t have writing, I’d be running down the street hurling grenades in people’s faces."

Paul Fussell said that. I don't often feel that way myself, but it's exactly the state of mind I was in at 4:30 pm this afternoon when I finally was liberated from the suffocating "Sun Trust" room at the far end of my campus. 

The curriculum committee had deliberated in that room for over three hours before finally coming to my own modest "New Course" proposals and, for the first time all afternoon moving with dispatch, promptly informed me that my papers were not in order. A couple of details (projected enrollment numbers, full bibliographic entries for course materials) had been omitted. Hence, proposals to add my courses to the university catalog would be "tabled" 'til I got those i's dotted and t's crossed.

Never mind that the committee had no substantive objections whatsover, none, to my courses. Never mind that I could have fixed the omissions instantly, on the spot, simply by logging on and entering the solicited information. No, rules are rules, procedures are procedures, committees are committees. Bye. See you next year.

So, I'll come back in the fall and sacrifice another perfectly fine afternoon in the service of bureaucratic protocol. Sure, why not? I'll happily push that stone up the hill once more. Move over, Sisyphus. Absurdity loves company.

There, that feels better. Posting is such sweet therapy. Now I don't have to think about hurling any real grenades. After all, "one must imagine Sisyphus happy." Unless he had to deal with academic committees.

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