The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Monday, May 01, 2023



I am taking a brief break from feverishly grading final exams, papers, and posters to post here for today.  With time relatively scant, it shall be bulleted lists:

  • Forced myself to run a bit over a half marathon (ran 13.3 miles (~21.5 km)) this morning.  For three reasons.... first, I have been rather slovenly and slothy all Winter in my not doing many longer runs, second, to force myself to get back to doing a longer run regularly, and third, with this week being busy as hell.  
  • This week is a jumbled cornucopia of all sorts of U "doings" (final grades, graduation ceremonies, needing to get my Spring class materials up-to-snuff, doing final proof reading on several of my student's theses before they get sent to the bindery, and a whole helluva lot more that I probably have not thought of) plus I have a concert tonight and I also have volunteered to role-play (act) in a poverty simulation for a group of community folks needing CEUs/"In-Service" Credits later this week.  
  • In the poverty simulation, the participants experience a simulation that is meant to model a few months of living at or below the poverty level.  The experience takes several hours.  The role that I have in this simulation is that of a local Pawn Broker.  A lot of the folks participating in this simulation end up being desperately short on cash early into the simulation and many seek to try to sell their possessions to me at my Pawn Shop.  My role is to (obviously) act like a real Pawn Broker, and so much of the time a) I am offering the folks substantially less for their items than they want/need, b) I am really more focused on "my wants/needs" than the customers, c) I am a bit "shady" in several ways, and d) I spend much of my timeā€¦. wasting their limited time to do things, because I will talk their heads off about damn near anything that comes to my mind instead of focusing on their situation.  I dress up in the shabbiest and most bright, glaring and garish suit-coat/shirt/tie/hat combo I can find and wear ratty looking jeans, brush out my beard and 'stashe to look rather disheveled.  Because space and time are limited, my Pawn Shop is just a table in the big hall we run the simulation, but I adorn my garish ensemble with all sorts of "bling" where I attach watches to my suit-coat, wear all sorts of garish rings, etc.  It is a helluva lot of fun to be able to act so out of character.  But, truthfully it serves a bigger purpose.  All of us who volunteer have roles that span across the various agencies/services across the community that people at or near poverty have to struggle with day-to-day.  Some other roles of folks giving the simulation include bankers, utilities services, school, landlords, hospital workers, police, mortgage lenders, etc.  These community folks who partake in this simulation actually do have a bit of an "awakening" about how damn hard, and how harsh it is for people who live at that edge of poverty.  After they go through the simulation, there is a "debriefing" session afterwards where we get to ask them about the feelings they experienced.  And, I am actually quite proud to say that we have had some good success over the years in awakening even some of the staunchest anti-government folks (typically Republicans) who hate our societal safety net..... to actually learn and realize how hard it is for folks living at or near poverty.  I am happy I was asked to get involved in this about a dozen years ago, and I get to participate in 3-4 of these simulations for all sorts of folks each year. My role is fun, and I feel I am contributing to helping folks learn.  
  • PCS =  7.5.  I was thinking during the weekend about how perhaps my higher PCS score might be on-going and attributable to my nightly ritual of... after I finish talking and snuggling with my wife or after I finish reading in bed at night... I will imagine in my mind a beautiful pipe smoking memory.  I started doing this because I felt sad at the loss of remembering my dreams much of the time, but I also found the imagining and remembering of beautiful pipe smoking memories relaxed me and allowed me to easily drop off into sleep.  But.... perhaps that is why my PCS has been remaining so high for the last few months.  So, on Saturday, I purposefully tried to not think about any pipe smoking memories as I drifted off to sleep.  But, unfortunately,  the other things I would think about did NOT help me to fall asleep... and I was laying awake for a helluva long time.  After about an hour or so, I gave up.  I allowed myself to relive in my imagination a beautiful pipe smoking memory again.... and I fell asleep contentedly in just a few minutes.  So... not sure how to interpret that.  But...?
 Back to grading!



Blogger Margaret said...

I think your pipe smoking reverie before falling asleep is lovely; you should continue it! That poverty simulation sounds fascinating and useful. I too would love to dress up and play a part. I can be a bit of a ham!

Monday, 01 May, 2023  

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