Tag Archives: professor

1561. Great-aunt Pretoria

When Pretoria (her great-grandfather had served in the Boer War and somehow her naming had something to do with that. Her grandmother had explained it to her once, and now that she was older she wished she had listened and remembered. It was something to do with the fact that he (her great-grandfather) had caught malaria and spent the entire war in a mobile hospital unit being shunted from one encampment to another. Why they just didn’t send him home was anyone’s guess. She didn’t actually recall hearing anything about her great-grandfather being in Pretoria itself. Anyway she was glad they never called her Johannesburg or even Port Elizabeth. Her brother was called Klerksdorp, a name he hated with a vengeance. At least it made him look up a bit of history when he was at school – that is before he changed his name to Clark (similar to Clark Gable and Lois and Clark)) was getting ready to go to town when she notice that the car had a puncture (which reminds me that where I go to get my car serviced they have a great big sign that says: Puntchers fixed for $10. The head mechanic’s daughter is a school teacher so I’m not surprised about the lack of spelling. The standard of teaching these days is appalling but that’s because the teachers themselves were badly tort by bad teachers so it’s been going on for generations, getting lower and lower in standards. Not only that but teachers these days can’t stay on the topic and wander off like they start talking about the properties of hydrogen peroxide and end up talking about hair dye or something. It’s pathetic. Punctuation has also gone out the window. And so have manners. Old-fashioned values like courtesy are for the birds).

Anyway I better shut up and get some work done. I’ve a lecture to give tomorrow. I’m excited because I recently got a pay rise. I’m a professor at Harvard, and deal mainly with Logic in the Philosophy Department. I’m hoping to tell them about my great-aunt Pretoria who is long dead and I have only a vague memory of her. She collected teaspoons apparently. From all over the world.

1045. Professor of Poetry

When Professor Edwin Lumsden’s mother died, he left it to his only sibling, his sister Berwyn, to make all the funeral arrangements. After all, Professor Edwin Lumsden was a busy man. He had to lecture in poetry at the university twice a week, and each lecture took hours of preparation. Only last week he had lectured on the meaning of the bits of Greek in Ezra Pound’s poetry. This week he was lecturing on several of e. e. cummings’ 2,900 poems. His mother would have understood why he couldn’t afford the time to help organise her funeral, and besides, his sister was exceedingly competent.

And there it was – in the morning paper – for all to see. The obituary:

I know you find it hard to part
With me, O darling of my heart,
But only trust in Jesu’s name
And you shall see your mother again.
  – Inserted by her loving son, Professor Edwin Lumsden

How could he face his academic colleagues after that? He was down to lecture about the impact of Duns Scotus’s philosophy on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and then this bit of rhyming balderdash made its appearance.

Professor Edwin Lumsden couldn’t face it. He was ashamed. He was embarrassed. He missed the funeral and called in sick at the university for three weeks.