Insider Humor

Inside jokes are the glue of relationships. They stick in your memory like day-old grits stick to the edge of the pot– and explaining them to outsiders is just as tough as removing them.

Once upon a time, when the mailbox was more substantive than ornamental, we received a typed chain letter that suggested dire consequences– plagues of locusts, widespread internet outages*, breaking of the seventh seal, and worst of all, loss of “your hob.”

Since we didn’t have a hob, we didn’t give a Tinker’s damn about losing it. But we’ve had countless laughs over the decades inquiring about each other’s “hobs.”

IMG_6970

He’s lost his wizard, his dwarves and his way! ~The Hobbit, 1977

Speaking of lost and Hob(bits).  And mondegreens and mumpsimis– we thought Bilbo had lost his Wizard, his DRAWERS, and his way.  We couldn’t decide whether it was a chest of drawers or underpants that had gone missing. Either way, we still get the giggles about it. Or I do.

And finally, the impetus for todays blog:

IMG_6967

Mural in Allen Hall, LSU

Before hipsters popularized home-grown, organic produce, southerners had gardens. Or tried to.

Sabine Parish dirt is a mixture of red clay and iron ore that’s good for growing pine trees, azaleas, and sturdy people. One summer, Dad had planted some sweet corn, which God, in her infinite wisdom neglected to water.

IMG_6971

This is not our dead corn from 1982. We only took shadowy pictures of stray cats, tractors, and random blurry shapes that I can only assume are bigfoot sightings.

Kennieth Walker’s construction crew was closing in the garage, and they nailed a crooked sign to a tree next the corn:

THIS FARM CONDEMNED

The paint was still wet when they put it up, because the letters dripped and dipped all over the scrap lumber they used.

There was speculation about why the farm had been condemned, and I bought an actual alphabet template, some spray paint, and on the back of some paneling wrote:

“GOVERNMENT EXPERMENTAL PROJECT”

and put it under the original sign  (Yes, I know I misspelled experimental, but the sign was looked official enough that a sheriff’s deputy came to investigate the project*.)

And now you know the rest of the story, the inside scoop, and how people used to have fun “back in the day.”

*The project was clearly time travel, since my parents still don’t have cable or the internet.

Posted in family, Louisiana | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4th Year

One of the more common questions I’ve been asked since starting the PhD program is: How long does it take?

4 years (at LSU). Some programs are 5.

 

phd

My hair all fell out the 1st year (2014-15).  I’ve mercifully escaped growing a full beard.

I couldn’t have made it this far without Mark. His support has been invaluable: he’s been Mr. Mom and Dr. Dad, schlepping kids all over North Louisiana during the week and running down I-49 most weekends to bring them down to see me when I couldn’t make it home.

He’s been on call 24-7 for over 1,000 days to discuss topics like post-earnings announcement drift, gamma prior distributions, auditor industry specialization, and general ‘what the (*%$^& does this mean’ questions with an often teary-eyed, exhausted and hairless woman with a passing resemblance to the woman who used to live with him.

Whenever my schedule changed because of an extra project or a last-minute assignment, he flexed like a master yogi and made it all work.

Fire-Walking

Mark could give The Buddha lessons on detachment.

This separation has been hard for us. Hard for the kids, the parents, the couple, the extended family– everybody.

We’re approaching the final lap in this race; our tires are bald, our tank is empty and we’re running on fumes. It seems like a crash is imminent. Unavoidable given all of the uncertainty.

And with all that it’s cost, this program has made me a better person. Given me sharper vision, clarity of purpose, and I’ve found an inner strength to persevere that I never knew I had.

best worst

Charles Dickens is one heck of a writer.

Charlie didn’t address the summer, and neither did the Bard. But I will. ‘Tis the summer of our repose. Well, except for the little matter of my dissertation proposal… which I have to defend before I can officially be ABD (all but dissertation) respite.

abd

Posted in Education, family, Louisiana, LSU | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Asymptotically Normal

When I first came to LSU (last millennium) we used 3 separate machines to print, fax and copy, had dial up 4200 baud modems, and only the POTUS and other mobsters had satellite phones.

Technology has changed so much and so fast that it’s virtually indistinguishable from magic– what else would you call a 3-D printer or nano-medicine?

And me? I feel like the saber-toothed tiger watching Noah seal the ark, the first cold drops of rain splashing down on the back of my neck, icy frissons of doom skating down my spine.

My last econometrics final exam is tomorrow and I’ve not studying as much as I should what with the lightning taking out my car and all. The good news is that neither have my classmates.

finals-are-here-and-so-are-the-memes-xx-photos-5

 

Posted in accounting, Education, Louisiana, LSU, math | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring Loaded

An non-random, completely lacking construct validity informal study of my colleagues who are also finishing their 3rd year of a PhD program indicates that Easter baskets came with the requisite chocolate, 5 lb weight gain, and a bonus side order of a nervous breakdown.

{There’s a reason over 1/2 those boxing classes are doctoral students.}

nervous breakdown

One of my therapist friends told me LAST TIME I was graduate school that there was no “nervous breakdown” category in the DSM. And this is why business majors are the winners, because the customer is always RIGHT!!!!

Tendrils of reality snake their way through the ever-present exhaustion, and alternately tempt us with glorious visions of paradise, aka a “real” paycheck and/or scenes worthy of Dante (the hellish hamster-wheel of academia: tenure clocks, the editorial process, and online student evaluations.)

The pressure mounts as well-meaning folks ask us if we’re ever going to get out of school. Our eyes glaze over (and perhaps bulge due to rising blood pressure) as we visualize the remaining land-mines planted by our committee in hopes taking down their inter-departmental rival hurdles in this vast desert wasteland that spans the distance between us and the cap-and-gown filled oasis of graduation.

But, as my friend, Stevie, plagarizes the Buddha reminds me:

suffering

And so I focus on the positive:

If you live alone, nobody flushes the toilet when you are in the shower.

~her holiness, The Dalai Laura (AABD*)

*Almost All But Dissertation

Posted in accounting, chocolate, Continuouse Improvement, Education, Graduation, LSU | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Proxemics

Swim season is over and my number one son  signed up for track. They traveled to Memphis for a meet and he remarked at how different the team dynamics were.

IMG_6747

Who am I kidding? Swimmers are mostly naked most of the time.

Apparently running around half naked most of the time makes swimmers more “touchy-feely.”  Not so much the track team.

I noticed the same thing with high school wrestling in the 90s. Those kids sat next to each other and gave each other back rubs when warming up.

IMG_6748.JPG

Wrestling takes up close and personal to a whole new level.  It’s one of my favorite sports, though, because it requires strength, agility, flexibilty, and quickness of mind and body

Being the nerd that I am, I checked Google Scholar and only found 1 academic article on proxemics and sports, which was a comparison of dancers and martial arts fighters.

Proxemics is the study of interpersonal space and how it affects behavior, communication and social interaction

IMG_6749

The Police said to “Back Away!”

Before this month, I knew that cave diving and crowded parade routes gave me the heebie-jeebies. But they don’t compare to how I felt getting an MRI.

The comedian Jerry Clower describes it accurately and with less profanity than I ever could:

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Product Regulation

Lawnmowers come with warning stickers:

lawnmower

Sharp rotating blades will CUT YOU! It bears repeating (or so some trial attorney said).

You have to be 18 to buy spray paint and Claritin-D, but WalMart will let anybody with a pulse and a valid credit card out the doors with one of these deadly weapons:

hairbrush

This brush outscalps Indian John.

I love the way my hair looks when my hairdresser uses one, but am fairly certain I’ll wind up like this lady if I try it on my own:

Hairbrush1

This isn’t me. But, it has been and could be.

I know for fact that I do not have the skills, training or aptitude to use a round brush. Know it. Been there. Done that. Have the t-shirt and bald spots to prove it.

And just as sure as the sun comes up in the east, I’m gonna try it again. Reliving my own personal Groundhog Day, proving that hope triumphs over experience, and humans aren’t rational. Especially when it comes to hair.

Posted in Dumbasses | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joan’s Farrier

Ain’t everybody cut out to be Joan of Arc.

joan-of-arc

Somebody had to farm & provide the food to feed the horses; and smitty to keep them shod.

The old proverb goes something like this:

for-want-or-a-nail

For want of a nail… For want of a fastener, the buffer between soft feet and rough terrain came aloose and emperilled the mission.

What is the glue the holds us together? Is it our common gender? Race? Country? Is it our favorite football team, favorite performer, or our favorite outrages and protests?

Or are those ways we choose to express our humanity, making them neither right nor wrong?

Every encounter is an opportunity to increase our understanding.

Giddy-up!

Posted in Continuouse Improvement, Dumbasses, Education, End of the World, family, football, Generation Gap, Goal setting, Louisiana, LSU, music, pets, Politics, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment