Sunday, August 26, 2012

Desperation Frisbee Derby

At DePauw University, the Friday before classes begin in the fall is known for some reason as Funny Friday. The program, for faculty, opens with the "Faculty Institute": an informative state-of-the-university talk from our president Brian Casey and then various talks, workshops, or small group discussions on issues of relevance to faculty for the upcoming academic year. The morning closes with a lovely faculty lunch served on tables under a large tent on the lawn in front of East College. Then that evening there is a picnic served in that same spot for faculty, staff, and their families. (It was on Funny Friday last year that I first realized that I would able to live quite well nourished for the entire year simply on free food provided to by DePauw).

This year at the evening picnic, we were all given yellow-and-black DePauw Frisbees, to celebrate the university's 175th year; we were founded in 1837. I wasn't planning on taking a Frisbee - it's been decades since I've had occasion to toss one, and I was never much for Frisbee tossing even then - but my friend Deepa, whom I met at last year's new faculty orientation, seized upon her Frisbee with a gleam in her eyes. She instantly saw its potential for doubling as a plate for junk-food snacks eaten in her office during late-night work-related desperation.

Of course, as soon as she said this, I was consumed with longing to share in the festivities of late-night desperation with snacks eaten off our DePauw Frisbees.  Like the little girls in Madeline, who envy Madeline's appendectomy for all the treats it brings her, I cried, "Boohoo! I want to be desperate, too!

Luckily, I have an enormous amount of work to do early in the semester, with a philosophy paper due September 1 (time to start it pretty soon, wouldn't you say?), a children's book writing workshop in Skokie, IL, in two weeks (where I have to give four talks/workshops as well as 13 detailed manuscript critiques for people who are paying extra to get my pearls of wisdom), and the enormous Ethics and Children's Literature conference I'm in charge of that takes place mid-September.  It's only the first week of the semester, and I'm desperate already. 

Deepa cheerfully agreed that she is already desperate, too.  So we set a date for this afternoon, to work together on the large table in the political science department office (Deepa's department), and luxuriate in desperation while eating Frisbee-plated snacks. This morning at Gobin church, DePauw-affiliated people each received a small bag of home-made cookies. They are now there in readiness on my Frisbee. Deepa just arrived, and she's setting up her computer next to mine.

We can't wait for a merry afternoon working side by side, desperate together!

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