Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Year’s Worth of Facebook Updates: The "Working In A Coal Mine" Edition

I view teaching at a community college as performing in the borscht belt of academia and have long considered my job to be “standup historian.” I post most of my jokes on Facebook. I like doing comedy online because it’s harder for the audience to throw things at you. Since it’s the end of the year, I’m going to be posing a year’s worth of my Facebook updates by theme. Today l look back on what I said about the glamorous life of a college professor.

First day of lectures. One more class to go. The number of things thrown at me and the size of each object was smaller than in previous semesters.

If a college professor delivered a lecture in an empty classroom and fell over from exhaustion, would he still be underpaid?

What a day. I thought he was telling me I was going to proctor an exam. Then he got out the rubber gloves . . .

As the college year begins yet again, I make my annual affirmation: what does not kill me will only badly cripple me.

A colleague at work say he likes our department because people will stab you in the chest, not the back. You can see the blade coming.

I just realized that if the bill passes allowing students to carry guns on Texas college and university campuses that "Eat, Shoots, and Leaves" could be the four-word memoir of one of my students.

During the Colin graduation ceremony a students expressed her dream of getting a "doctorate degree." the closed caption folks translated this as a "dock rat" degree. I'm going to have to check my diploma.

It's the beginning of the school year, or (as I think of it) the nine month challenge to see what I can say without getting fired.

I have to "report" to the college today. Why do they make it sound like I'm visiting a probation officer?

I always give my students two bits of financial advice. 1. Pick your parents wisely and 2. Bet against the end of the world. By the way, in case of the Rapture, can I have your car?

I was at the graduation ceremony tonight for Collin College. The state legislature cut the funding for the ceremony half way through. They turned out the lights and about 5,000 had to stumble, metaphorically, into the darkness.

You know, for a lot of this semester I felt like a mime performing for the blind.

I do not believe in eugenics. But in the case of my students I am willing to make an exception.

I'm grading the third of the six classes I am grading this weekend. I was going to call this my "hump class," but that doesn't sound the way I intend.

The stages of book writing. 1. You're excited about it. 2. You're irritated by it. 3. You'd rather swallow ground glass than work on it. 4. You're relieved it is finished. 5. You're thrilled when it comes out. 5. You notice everything wrong with it. 6. You start your next book.

My adult career choices have been print journalism and college professor - two dying fields. Maybe there's an opening for squire somewhere.

Now that we know we have enough matter for the universe to contract again before the next Big Bang, I worry that there might not be enough space in my classroom.

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.


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