Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Semiotics of the Department Chair's Office

Close scrutiny of the image at left reveals the following:

  1. A skeleton, which for a while we had sitting outside the chair's door clutching a sign saying 'Please have a seat. We will be with you soon.'
  2. A tiny shriner.
  3. A memento mori.
  4. A laminated emergency procedures card. (Little known fact: the original emergency plan submitted by the department read "(1) Exit office and scream 'We are going to die, we are going to die! (2) Die." It was returned as insufficient, and this query was appended: 'What if faculty do not in fact die? Will bats be handed out to staff to finish them off?')
  5. An ornate tea box from India and a hand carved gazelle from Kenya, both gifts from faculty whose travel requests I approved.
  6. A very ugly mug that was given in lieu of a holiday bonus.
  7. A Mike Wazowski figurine.
  8. A package of dry erase markers that I take with me to my technology up the wazoo super deluxe classroom. They are in fact the only technology that works predictably there.
  9. Two children dragged to their dad's office because the presidential primaries had closed their schools. Each took turns sitting at our office's front desk impersonating a work-study student. One told visitors to "Vote for Hilary because she has golden hair!" The other told visitors that Obama was the only candidate for real change.


Dr. Virago said...

You made that emergency plan up, right? Or are there really people other than you with a quirky, morbid sense of humor at your university?

I'm having a hard time seeing everything you mentioned, but I noticed you didn't mention the pensive gargoyle.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

I did actually submit that plan, knowing it would be rejected ... but the whole exercise seemed so dumb to me that it called for a ridiculous response.

There's also a "gargoyle" of a friar picking his nose -- from Oxford, I think, a replica of a Victoria fantasy of a medieval gargoyle.

Anonymous said...

Hillary's name is misspelled.

Jeffrey Cohen said...

Anonymous: Look, my daughter is only three. If you want spelling perfection, ask the ten year old. Next thing you'll be telling me that Hil(l)ary's golden hair comes from a dye bottle.