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::: center home >> being here >> last donut? >> professors

How Many Professors Does It Take...?
Fellows' Reading Group
September 16, 2014

Each week, when our reading group meets, I am sure to provide something to eat. It shifts the character of the meeting in a good direction, even if only slightly. With food laid out, we resemble a tedious academic meeting a little less; and a little more a get-together of friends or family.

The last two weeks, I'd provided a hefty chocolate cake and then clementines with some of Enrico's biscotti. I'd felt the interest in the offerings was languid.

Perhaps they like salt, I conjectured. So this week I took a platter and formed an impressive pile of Terra chips on it. They are multicolored root vegetables turned into chips. They provide a perfect cover for fake sophisticates like me who don't want to admit to eating potato chips.

Then I sliced up some sweet Fuji apples to have on the side. I really love the contrast of the salty chips with the sweet acidity of the apples.

This time, I watched with satisfaction as we devoured our reading and the group slowly worked its way through the chips and apples.

Then it was time to clean up. Everyone pitches in to return the room to its pristine state. It's something like what you should do when you go camping in the woods. Ideally no one will know that was your campsite.

It was a collaborative effort. Nick Jones pulled out his cellphone camera and captured the moment as we maneuvered the last of the chips back into the bag.

He circulated the image. That triggered a round of email of academic humor. The event is now a collaboration that needs a first author, a title, an abstract and then there's the choice of journal.

John D. Norton

Revised 9/19/14 - Copyright 2012