Time Flies

The Disaster

By Douglas E Gogerty

Not much of note occurred in the last few weeks of Jim's vacation. This is mostly what Jim had hoped. He relaxed. He read quite a few things that he simply did not have time for while he was at school. It was a restful and enjoyable time. However, he could only take so much of this. He was ready to get back to the old grind. When July 21st arrived, he bid a fond farewell to everyone in his hometown, and he left for Texas.

His apartment was still in order after his extended trip. However, it was slightly dustier than he remembered. He unpacked his clothes and was back into the swing of things in a matter of hours. It was as though he had never left. When all was put into order, Jim turned on his stereo and finished reading the book he had started on the airplane. He was quite tired from the travel, so he turned in early to get a head start on the next day. He wanted to be ready for a day that would be very important to the rest of his life.

Jim arose early to prepare for this meeting. He showered, shaved, and threw on some errand-running clothes. He needed to get some things done before his big two o'clock meeting. The first thing he did was get his haircut. It had been quite a long time since his last cut. It was due.

The library was Jim's next stop. He wanted to get photocopies of all the articles of his that were published. He had quite a few, and he was proud of all of them. If they asked him about his research, he would be prepared.

He stopped for a bite to eat at his favorite local Chinese restaurant before continuing on his errand running. He needed to pick up a transcript, and some other things that he ordered from the University. Jim's background led him to be prepared for anything. He would have a briefcase full of things that they may wish to see at his meeting. Whatever he needed, he wanted to have with him.

When the running was finished, Jim cleaned himself up a bit, and put on his suit. His briefcase was jammed with paper, but he felt confident that there was nothing left to do. He was as prepared as he could be.

He showed up at the office of Dr. Williamson a few minutes early. Actually, he would have been fifteen minutes early, but he waited around outside the building. He was a little nervous, but he did not want to appear to be. When Jim made it to Dr. Williamson's door, Dr. Williamson was sitting at his desk writing something down. "Come in Jim," he says hesitantly. "The rest of the committee will meet us in the lounge. Have a seat."

Jim did not like Dr. Williamson's tone, so he asked, "What is going on? Is there something wrong?"

"Jim, they asked me to try to break this to you gently. Please sit down. I tried all I could, but they wouldn't listen to anything I said."

"What? What is it?" begged Jim as he took the chair at the front of Dr. Williamson's desk.

"It appears that you will -- not -- be a part of ... next year's faculty."

Astonishment came over Jim. He did not know what to say. He just slumped in the chair with his mouth open.

Dr. Williamson continued, "They are going to tell you about budget cuts, and this and that. The fact is -- they wanted to go in a different direction. Your research is expensive. In addition, they claim that they were looking for a person with more teaching experience. They didn't want someone who was primarily a researcher. In my opinion, they were all jealous of Dr. Decker's notoriety, and you were an unfortunate victim of that. I am so sorry."

"So what is the point of this meeting?" asked Jim angrily.

"Actually, they want to discuss your options."

"What?"

"Why don't we go to the meeting and talk to them."

Jim and Dr. Williamson walked into the lounge where a dozen or so professors and administrators had gathered. "Have a seat Jim; would you like something to drink?"

"No thanks, let's get on with this," Jim replied curtly.

"Jim, although we did not select you to replace Dr. Decker, we wish you would consider staying as a teaching assistant," started Dr. Faulkner, the head of the math department. "There would be virtually no change in your benefits, and you could remain a part of our team."

"You know the routine well, and your work load wouldn't be very different from the one you have grown accustomed to," added Dr. Marrienna.

"In a few years, you could be a full time member of our faculty," finished Dr. Faulkner.

"Is that all?" asked Jim with as calm a tone that he could muster.

"What would you have us say?" asked Dr. Faulkner.

"I don't really know, but of course, you know I am going to turn you down," replied Jim. "You didn't expect me to settle for being a TA after all the work I have done for you."

"Don't be so hasty, Jim. Think about the offer," Dr. Marrienna inserted.

"Frankly, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Pardon the platitude," replied Jim. "I do not think I have to consider your proposal. You slap me in the face, and expect me to act like it never happened!!! I am sorry, but I respectfully decline your 'generous' offer."

Before anyone could say anything, Jim had left the room. He had been prepared for just about everything, but what had just occurred. Dr. Williamson went after him. "Jim, hold up! I mean Dr. Millard."

Jim stopped to hear what Dr. Williamson had to say.

"Good for you Jim. I don't blame you. I know of a position that has just become available at the University of Northern Iowa. It is a small university, but I am sure they would love to have you. They are in a bind. One of their professors suddenly became ill. The job is right up your alley. Of course, you would have to teach a class or two. Are you interested?"

"Dr. Williamson, thanks. Can I let you know?" replied Jim fighting the turmoil that was brewing inside him.

"Of course, I understand. You will need some time to absorb all that has happened. I'll give you the information. Do you have your articles with you?"

"Yes, I thought somehow they would be interested in them."

"Could I have them? I want to make a point to the committee."

Jim fumbles into his briefcase and pulls out a large stack of paper. "They're all yours. But, what are you going to do with them?"

"I want to show them the work you have done. Not just the work for the university, but also the work for science in general. It will show them that they shouldn't have let jealousy get in the way of making they're decisions. For the last few weeks, I have researched a few things. I found thirty-seven articles that sight one article or another of yours. That is prestige. Prestige that they just threw away like an old shoe. It also says something about the work you have been doing. It will be good to rub it in their face. I sure hope they don't do this to any of my students when I retire."

"Thanks, Dr. Williamson."

"Hey, you deserved better. Let me know if you need a reference or anything. Consider the Northern Iowa job.

"I will."

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on April 30, 2006 5:00 PM.

"1000 Word Friday" was the previous entry in this blog.

"Mac MacKinnon and the Race For El Dorado" - Chapter 1: Radio, Dan, and Mac is the next entry in this blog.

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