The Perils of Sabbatical
Not all sabbaticals are glamorous opportunities to teach abroad or start exciting new projects. Some of them –like mine– are just protected time to get old shit off of my desk. Case in point are two recent publications based on some work I did with students YEARS ago.
Just today, a paper I did with former student Margaret Frere was published: “Economic trends and organ donation rates in the USA: An ecological analysis“. The thing is, we submitted that paper FIVE YEARS AGO.
Another example is a paper titled “Likely Health Impacts of Climate Change in Guyana: A Systematic Review“, which got published a couple of months ago. We wrote the first draft of that paper back in 2012. Keee-rist.
Then there’s one I did with former student Megan Deyman titled, “PGD Services Offered in India: A secondary analysis of Indian ART Clinic Websites“, which we got a couple of months ago in a very crappy journal. We did that work back in 2013.
As we speak, I’m holed up in a McDonald’s in Burlington, Ontario, revising a paper that has been accepted by a journal. But the work reflected in this paper was completed in 2005. That’s right.
Think that’s shocking? There’s an analysis I did back in the 1990s that I fully intend on getting published this year. I have a student working on updating its references right now. So what’s the lesson here? That you should never abandon projects, that it’s always worth completing them? Or that there’s a crappy home for any crappy work you’ve already done?
The bigger question, of course, is why am I in a McDonald’s? Well my sweet furry son Dogulus Prime is at the vet being put under general anaesthetic to get some teeth removed. It breaks my heart to have had to leave him there. The look of betrayal on his scared little face as we left the clinic will haunt me for weeks.
A dog’s unfettered love is a heavenly gift in this life. We disrespect it at our peril.
Switching gears for a bit here, one of the challenges of being on sabbatical is keeping my skills honed. In particular, my writing skills have begun to slip. As you may know, I have a regular blog with The Huffington Post. And yet my last three submissions have been rejected by the HuffPo’s editors.
Whaaaaa? I haven’t had an editor reject my work in years. And now I get three rejected in a row? Clearly I’m slipping. Here are the rejected submissions, that I have managed to re-task to other venues:
To make matters worse, a major bioethics journal commissioned me to write an enormous treatise on a specific topic. I wrote it. It went out for peer review. The reviewers recommended some big changes. I made the changes. Then the editors…. declined to publish.
Whaaaaaa? My ego took another enormous hit.
I have since submitted that commissioned article to a competing journal, and they have also recommended some further revisions. But man, this is (1) turning out to be way too much work; and (2) a brutal series of blows to my ego.
Scope Up My Butt
I had my first colonoscopy a week ago. Good times. Here’s a pic of me prepped and ready to be violated:
After putting on my gown and steeling myself for the, um, exploration, I was sent to a waiting room. Thereupon, a nurse beckoned me to another room with a bed and an ultrasound machine. She asked me to spell my name. I said, “D-E-O-N….”
She cut me off. “You’re not Sarah Sheard?”
“Uh, no,” I said. And looking at the obstetrical ultrasound equipment in the room, I added, “And I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant.”
Now I’m a pretty man. But I think the two days of beard growth might have tipped the scales toward a rational observer concluding that I am, in fact, a Penis Canadian.
I know that gender is complicated these days…. But Jesus, people. Jesus.
While in Ottawa for these procedures, I stay at a hotel, because my condo is being rented out to a superb tenant while I’m on sabbatical. On one such trip, I got a suite at the Business Inn (which has been trying my patience for some time now.)
In the middle of the night, I was awakened by a loud banging on the door and some shouting. I ignored it, as I assumed it was a drunk asshole confused about which room was his.
But a few minutes later, the banging and shouting returned. I lost my temper. I shouted unseemly obscenities to the door, and opened it in anger, fully prepared to express myself through feats of middle aged violence.
There on the other side of the door was not a drunk dude, but rather the Ottawa police SWAT team carrying semi-automatic weapons, fingers on the trigger.
It seems someone has reported gunfire in the hotel and they were going door to door to check things out.
Yep, I had hurled ugly expletives at heavily armed policemen. Good times.
Happy VD Day!
What was I doing one year ago today? (Or, more accurately, one year ago this week). Google to the rescue:
That’s right. I was eating meat one year ago. Not a lot, but enough. Here, the Blonde Girl and I had some all you can eat Indian take out. Well, I guess it’s more accurately all you can FIT INTO A BOX Indian take out.
This year we spent VD Day the same way: greasy food delivery and some true crime episodes on Netflix.
While I’m looking back in time, this is from TEN YEARS ago, when I first became a professor. Any of you recognize yourselves? Yes, that’s former Minister of Justice and former university President Allan Rock in the front:
Apropos of Nothing
Prince Phillip beckons us to join the Dark Side of the Force:
In the words of Bruce Buffer, here we go!
Is That All?
I’m afraid so. I have work to do. But join me sending positive vibes into the universe so that our beloved Dogulus Prime will emerge from his procedure 100% healthy and emotionally unscathed 🙂