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  • Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

The Return of Friday Fragments
September 4, 2008 - 10:16pm

Classes have started, and the usual first-week crises have ensued, so I'm far too wiped for a proper post. Instead, it's the return of Friday Fragments.

  • My Mom sent The Wife some old pictures of me, from high school and college. Actual conversation:

TW: You look so skinny! Look, you barely have shoulders! You're like a rail!

The Girl (reassuringly): Now you're nice and big, Daddy.

Uh, thanks, honey.

  • Conversation from earlier this week:

The Boy: Dad, do I have to go to grad school?

DD: Noooooo. Noooo, you don't. Nope.

TB: Really?

DD: Yup.

TB: Whew! I'd be tired of school by then!

DD: Yeah, probably.

  • I'll admit to a perverse fascination with the unfolding of the whole "Presidents Gone Wild" thing in Iowa. The President of Iowa Central Community College, Robert Paxton, got fired after a pretty unpresidential photograph of him ran in the local paper. (Judge the photo for yourself here ) His punishment included settling for a $400,000 severance payment and several years' worth of health insurance. Given that the young woman in the photo wasn't a student, and was of age, I'm not completely sure what he actually did wrong. That said, if a $400,000 check and several years' worth of health insurance is a punishment, I'm sure I could dig up a skeleton of my own somewhere.
  • I'll also admit to wondering about the possibilities of maintaining a squeaky-clean image in the age of cell phone cameras. It's much easier now to not know when your picture is being taken. I try to maintain a professional demeanor when I know I'm representing the college, but when I'm schlepping the kids on errands, sometimes I just look like the harried Dad I am. (And I don't even want to think about what a picture of me at the end of a workout would look like!) In an age of ubiquitous information and images, maybe we have to change the way we look at isolated moments.
  • And yes, we're all flawed. I had to confront a flaw of my own this week as I watched Sarah Palin. Sure, she's ideologically offensive, ethically tainted, and comically unqualified for her role; as a friend of mine wrote me in an email, her speech sounded like she was running for class president. And yet, even granting all of that, there's the basic, irreducible fact of her hotness. She's a poutier Tina Fey, and, well, I'm not made of stone, people. I'm not about to go do something stupid like vote for her, but I'll admit I don't mind seeing her picture in the paper.
  • The Boy started a new school this week, which involved riding a bus for the first time. As fate would have it, our stop was the first stop on the route. Not knowing any better, he sat right in the front row, and actually greeted each kid at each subsequent stop upon boarding. I'm torn between pride in raising such an earnest and sweet kid, and terror at how the other kids will read that. Unless things have changed pretty radically from my bus days, bus culture has rules, and "don't sit in the front seat and act as some sort of &*)(_&^ greeter" is a basic one. Poor guy.

 

 

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