WordPress want me to go to a favourite blog and write a companion piece to its penultimate post. Since I don’t want to risk upsetting any of my blogmates (they write sadly about the death of their cat, I add a frivolous piece about cat heaven), I took the penultimate post on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed section this morning. They described the post as “What happens after you earn tenure? One professor explains” and without reading it, in case I made fun of it in any way, I simply wrote to the description…
It had taken many years, a lot of theses (by which I mean more than one thesis, not the use of the word “these” several times), tons of research and the heavy use of Wikipedia, but finally the board of Lake Snowdrop University, Idaho, had offered me a permanent position. It was like passing some sort of initiation, though without the hazing and being dumped naked on Interstate 53 (though that did in fact happen, but only because of a misunderstanding with a girl with some really protective brothers).
I, Professor Henry Walton Jones, Indiana to my friends, Junior to my Dad, that eejit in the hat to my students, was in as Professor of Archaeology. I went into the staff room that first morning, eager to mix with the finest academic minds in the state.
Or Not. The Professor of Media Studies was watching TV, which might have classified as work in his case had he not been watching Sesame Street. The Professor of Creative Creationism was drinking, although it was nine in the morning. Professor of Marine Psychology was asleep, or quite possibly dead.
“Ah, Jones,” said the Professor of Vital Statistics, “welcome. Here’s the key to your office, it’s on the fifth floor of the East Wing.”
I headed out of the door and up towards my room. As I started up the stairs I looked up in astonishment.
A giant round boulder was rolling down towards me.
I hurled myself to one side, crashing through a door. And found myself in the college football team’s cheerleaders’ changing room.
I fled in a hail of screams and hurled underwear, and continued my trip upstairs. Five yards further on I stood on a particular step, then ducked as a hail of poisoned darts shot from the wall. One of them plucked a bra from my hat and pinned it to a skull resting against the far wall, obviously that of a predecessor who had not been as lucky.
When I reached the next flight of steps the floor suddenly slid to one side. I coiled my whip around an overhead beam, and dangled from it above a pit full of snakes.
I hate snakes.
I managed to swing to safety. I climbed the last few flights of stairs, fought off a group of Nazis who had appeared from some reason, wrestled a mummy (her son had wanted my job), and tripped (by tripping on) a secret lever, causing a ray of light to shine into the corridor that horribly melted the head of the Head of Ancient Studies, who had apparently set all of the traps, as he had felt that my position would make his redundant.
As I approached my office a brick wall had sliding down to seal it shut, but I slid under it just before it closed. The room wasn’t big enough to swing a whip in, it was old and musty, and I hadn’t a clue how I was going to get out, but I smiled happily to myself.
In my time I had found the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom and the Crystal Skull, but now I had tenure.
It’s the Holy Grail of Academia.