Complicating Hydrogen

Today, for the first time in months, we had a staff meeting. Now we should have been having staff meetings all along, but I didn't really miss them. It wasn't like we were complaining "When will we all be able to get together and discuss complicated issues and come to know discernible conclusion except that we are all frustrated by each other?" So I admit I forgot what an absolute crime against humanity staff meetings are. And staff meetings where we have to decide on essay questions, well, it is like trying to get gun control legislation through congress.

There are only about eight teachers who teach at my level. When we have to agree on final questions (because some genius decided we have to have a "common final"), it's as simple as eight teachers in a room voting for four questions out of a selection of 16. Think about the math, eight people, four questions out of a vast 16 question selection. It's not cold fusion. It's not Newtonian physics. Hell it isn't even freshmen algebra. My cat could vote on questions.

It took an hour. And as always, despite the "democratic system"-the questions with the most votes wins, there is one particularly teacher who has to object once the questions have been voted upon. Generally, she objects to one of the questions on a variety of grounds. Once her personal criteria are met, she then moves onto the next question. Now this wastes a huge amount of time and creates a lot of hostility. After all, basically she is using emotional blackmail to get her way ( like me this teacher is NOT tenured-she has the same class load as I do and is teaching the same courses). Sometimes her tactics have failed. In some cases, she became so demanding, the head of department basically came to the conclusion many of us came to years ago, that Enfant Terrible's complaints can not be satisfied and therefore her objections got thrown out in gratuity ( YES!) unfortunately this disregard didn't become policy (hiss).

Today she didn't argue too long about the questions that got approved, but she labored to have a certain set of questions for her students. Right because her forty students should get better treatment than say my forty? The rest of us are very disengaged with who gets what questions. Most of us feel the voted on questions are all fair and therefore who gets what is irrelevant, but Enfant Terrible seems to have some sort of emotional satisfaction invested in getting the question SHE wants. Now I ask you, what the hell goes on in a person's life that she thinks to herself, "my emotional satisfaction is dependent on these two questions?" Don't these people have lives? Really, it makes you understand why the alcoholic profs are generally preferred-because at they are, at least, relaxed (maybe because they aren't even conscious).

There was other mishigas, but I don't wish to bore you ( too late). But after leaving this whole process, one of the other profs said to me on my way tot he elevator, "Is it me or could this group complicate hydrogen?" My response, "Well, of course they would object to hydrogen as it has the sound 'I' in it, and we all know that first person singular pronouns aren't acceptable in formal writing."

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