Friday, September 21, 2007


My dad left me a message yesterday morning while I was teaching at Panic Hire U. He left me another today, when I was sitting waiting for his call on the bench in front of my building. (My phone sometimes gets a call and never rings, but shuffles it straight through to voice mail). I have to find a way to get the messages off my phone and saved as mp3 files. If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know. If you think it's creepy that I want to save my dad's messages, I can understand why. I am ambivalent about it myself, but I would rather have them and never listen to them than not have the opportunity.

Interesting thing about Panic Hire U: when someone there needs something from me, he or she will sure as hell email and call me to death to get it. When I need something? I can expect to be unanimously ignored. Here is a list, in hard numbers, of all the unreturned phone calls and emails I have sent to the good people at Panic Hire U:

Department Head emails: 3
One regarding contracts
One regarding payroll
One regarding never hearing back from the Writing Coordinator

None of these emails have been returned.

Writing Coordinator emails: 4
One sent to a yahoo address regarding course materials
Two sent to his official college address (that would be the address he is obligated, supposedly, to check) regarding materials, again
One sent to a hotmail address listed on his old syllabus - and again, regarding materials

None of these emails have been returned.

Payroll Coordinator emails: 2
One regarding the fact that I am working without a contract
Another one regarding the fact that I am working without a contract

IT Department emails: 2
One regarding getting Blackboard set up for my students
One regarding getting Panic Hire U email access

Voice mails unreturned, to the above parties, total: 6.

Hand written notes taped to doors of offices of above parties: 1.

I have been wondering whether these people had forgotten my existence altogether, when, lo... a phone call from the Department Head.

She says, "Um, hey, I heard about a thing with your Dad. Sorry about that. Is he OK?"

Nina says, "No, he will not be alive in a month."

She says, "Oh."

Nina says, "Yeah, so he is not ok." (just to make sure that she understood that said outcome was not considered ok to either him - or me.

She says, "I see. Well I was really calling for another reason. One of our other adjuncts quit and we need someone to take over his class. He is teaching from the same materials.* Can you do it?"

Nina runs some numbers in her head - the ones about the amount of money she has spent on leukemia related plane tickets, hotels and rental cars in the past 11 months.

Nina says, "OK."

So it appears that I am now teaching two classes at Panic. If payroll ever gets back to me, I will discover when and if they plan to start paying me for my trouble. In case you did not infer from the above reference to numbers, Nina is pretty cash poor these days. Every time she turns around, another $2000 (or some other sum) flies out of her wallet on something she is never wanted in the first place. Plus, I have to admit (note: no longer referring to self in third person point of view), the class slides pretty painlessly into my schedule, so I can deal with it as long as I can deal with having a whole lot of papers to grade. History has proven that in such situations I either a) sloppily grade them or b) grade them never. Some day I will post about how it is very possible to evaluate student work without ever actually reading it.

It is similar to how a university can hire a person without ever actually reading his or her resume, without giving him or her a contract or setting him or her up with materials or setting him or her up for Blackboard or email. Similar - not precisely the same, mind you - but very like, nonetheless.

Thank you for reading.

* these would be the materials that I STILL DO NOT HAVE.

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