Monday, September 17, 2007


At work, one of my responsibilities is grading bubble sheets. There's even this great computer program that runs an analysis of the results, which, if examined, provides fruitful information. I won't go into the depth of what all it can do since it's not the basis for this story, but this provides some background.

One professor gives a quiz every Friday during his fall-semester class. He also began the tradition, soon after I arrived, of presenting me with cookies along with the exams to be graded. He is quite welcome in the office every week, as he arrives right when we are interested in a mid-morning snack.

This generous professor will be called 'Frederick' here while I relate a story. During a conversation during which he asked me why I go by my middle name, he mentioned that to this day, no one in his extended family calls him Frederick. At this point, you might assume that Frederick and I both go my our middle names. Not so.

When he first began school, he was sent home with a note pinned to his shirt. His mother read the following: "Frederick is a very nice, well-behaved child, but he doesn't seem to know his name and did not respond to it all day long."

The next day, his mother pinned a note to Frederick's shirt. It was two words: "Try Bobby."

When 'Frederick' was born, a very opinionated aunt neither liked his first nor his middle name. In her fashion, she began calling him Bobby, and as his aunt held much sway, the rest of the family followed suit. To this day, he can classify his friendships by those who call him Bobby still and those who call him Frederick.

When he feels so inclined, he will refer to me by my first name and I then respond by calling him Bobby, after which he beams.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Welcome to Notre Dame football season, folks

One of our new graduate students entered the office at the end of the day Friday with this to say:

"Faith, since you seem to know the answer to everything, why is there a man ... painted black ... wearing a skirt ... holding a torch ... standing in the reflection pool?"

Yes, football fever has again descended on South Bend.