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Being Emeritus

Lawn Chair

"Emeritus" (Latin for "earned by service") is an honorary title used for professors who have officially retired.

In many cases professors emeriti continue to function professorially, although the title does not necessarily imply that. Indeed some have gone entirely to seed, and to describe somebody as "emeritus" can be a bit of a left-handed compliment. I, for example, have not gone to seed. Well not entirely anyway. Or anyway if I have I haven't noticed. (But then, I guess I wouldn't, would I?) But I'm working on it.

Hammock Since retiring, I have been thinking a lot about what emeritus professors actually do with their time. I am happily fulfilling one of the greatest ambitions of any college professor: to sit in a lawn chair reading poetry and sipping tea while his colleagues are ripping each other's throats out in rancorous faculty meetings.

Aside from that, I was planning eventually to join a circus as an aerial acrobat and animal tamer. But through early 2019 I just continuing teaching college, now pro bono. (That's kind of similar, now that I think of it.) Eventually I started requiring naps and being a bit funny in the head when awake, so it seemed time to hang it up really. (Well, maybe except for an occasional freshman seminar or lunch at the faculty club with any student who asks to be taken there.)

Spring of 2019 was devoted to recycling the loose papers, pulping the books, and sending office artifacts and obsolete equipment to the dump, in order to prepare the place for occupation by a new-generation proclaimer of anthropological truths.

By the way: "Emeritus" is masculine singular. The feminine singular form is "emerita." The feminine plural form is "emeritae." The masculine and common plural is "emeriti." Now you know.

Retirement Bike

The Great Auk's ghost rose on one leg,
Sighed thrice, and three times winked,
And turned and poached a phantom egg,
And muttered, "I'm extinct."

I'm accustomed to my deafness.
To my dentures I'm resigned.
I can manage my bifocals.
Oh, but how I miss my mind!

(This counter was more fun when it was anticipating time UNTIL retirement, but it seemed a shame to waste it just because the retirement already occurred.)