Something easy to forget:

This morning, my job was to sit in my office, in a comfortable chair, drinking coffee, reading a short story by ZZ Packer.

At the core, this is what professors do*, and I don’t think any amount of administrative bureaucracy, collegial disagreement, or professional frustration* overshadows the simple truth, blind luck, and tremendous privilege of this job.

We do what we want, based on our own serious interests, and get to have high-minded conversations with eager students about it. In the equation of our professional lives versus the rest of the world, I don’t think there’s any room for cynicism.

Now, back to the chair, to read some Annie Dillard.


* Substitute “titrate a solution,” “examine a global economic system,” “practice double-stop bowing” for “reading a short story by ZZ Packer,” depending on academic specialty.

* To be clear, I experience none of these, because I’m $%#^$% lucky to work where I do.