Thanks to 7deadlycyns for this personal revelation, which seemed just right to me:
“I almost quit grad school half-way through the second year of my PhD program at UCLA. A professor saved me by telling me very pointedly that it was supposed to be frustrating, that I was meant to struggle, that the transition from student to scholar was always hard, but that I had what it took to get through it.”
This is a life lesson in a school instance. I was lucky enough to get this message much earlier, during my teenage geekdom, and regularly thereafter. I can barely imagine how impossible life must seem to people who never figure this out.
In context this quote was part of a meme to list six things other people probably don’t know about you. (I also totally agree with what she says about whining and babies.) I started agnostic about memes and have only become more so, so I’ll not be tagging anyone with this. But when I find one and it gives me something good, like this one, I’ll try to give back. So here goes:
1. I’m shy. Very shy. That Big Carl persona you see here and in person is a construct I operate to function effectively in social situations. Sort of like Balok’s puppet in the original Star Trek.
2. Yet, people and sociability are very important to me.
3. I love the Teletubbies. Especially the Tubby Custard machine (they pronounce it ‘tubby tustahd’) with all its little farty noises.
4. If I had to choose between wine and cheese, I’d choose cheese. Maybe that’s because I can afford good cheese better than I can afford good wine. But if I don’t have to choose there’s nothing better than a little snack of cheese, olives, chewy bread and a good red wine.
5. When I was a kid my family used to collect insects. We had a friend who was an entymologist, and we’d go tromping around in other people’s fields combing the vegetation for specimens. I’ve picked hundreds of ticks off myself from those fields, so I’m probably not as wary of Lyme disease as I should be. Our equipment was nets and ‘killing jars’ that were pickle jars with some plaster in the bottom for ethyl acetate to soak into (that was the killing part) and newspaper strips to keep the bugs from sticking to the bottle and each other. There was a tricky little operation to get the bug from the net to the jar; stakes were highest when they could sting or they were really delicate. Then we’d take the dead bugs home and stick them on pins with labels of what they were, where and when we found them, and we’d put them in cigar boxes with cardboard liners we cut out. (Real insect collecting boxes are wicked expensive.)
Once when we were on vacation our boxes were stolen from the roofrack of our car. Sort of sad to lose all those nice bugs, but really the collecting was the fun part and we couldn’t stop laughing about the thieves’ faces when they opened those boxes and saw what they’d gotten. In Venice one time I came across a guy in a tiny little shop who was blowing incredible glass insects exact in size and detail. I sat and talked with him for hours.
6. I’m lazy, and a procrastinator. But when something climbs into my head and fascinates me, I forget to eat and sleep.