Thursday, September 12, 2013

What Else Can You Do? A Perfectly Reasonable Big Thirsty.

Because of a recent gift an alien civilization has given Earth, the study and work in your field has become obsolete.

But because you've been such a good employee over the years, your school's administration has convinced the aliens to let you request a job transfer within the college. (Don't worry about taking someone else's job; because of the resulting alien-human hybrids created by the invasion, enrollment is way up!)

Now, tread lightly with the wording and the reasonableness of our request, because the team of alien ombuds is a bit unpredictable. If you really don't have what it takes to become the coach of the football team, then they'll eat you or harvest your organs. (On their planet our organs can be used as an emulsifier in pet food.)

Q: You have a total of 90 seconds for your pitch. What do you say? What else can you do?

65 comments:

  1. My field is astronomy. If extraterrestrials gave us lots of first-hand information about the Universe, I'd resemble a TV addict for a few years, but I'd get over it. It's much like I was in college and grad school. It’d also be much like the paleontologists in the Jurassic Park movies: they knew they were about to become less like geologists, and more like wildlife biologists.

    I can also teach introductory physics to science and engineering majors, which will still be there no matter how much information that aliens gave us about the Universe. What they’d have for us would mainly be for advanced courses. It would still take years to learn the basics. In fact, I do teach introductory physics to science and engineering majors. Being the only astronomer working in a physics department, my ability to teach introductory physics gave me much more peace of mind than if I'd been working in an astronomy department, since those are more tempting for administrators to close down during lean economic times. And even if one of the aliens' gifts were a Brainstorm-like teaching machine, there still would be labs to run.

    I could also teach calculus and other lower-level applied math courses, as well as introductory programming courses in C/C++ and Java. In fact, I'm developing a course on computational physics that uses Java. This is because the non-linear phenomena such as turbulence that a computational approach lends itself to loom large in my astrophysical interests, and also because our physics majors and grad students can't program worth doodley-squat, limiting their usefulness in my research and on the job market. I'd use Java because Rubin Laudau's textbook uses it, and also because the computer science department doesn't use Java in any of its courses, so they're less likely to accuse me of teaching their subject. I got over this hurdle the last time they did this by emphasizing that a course on computational physics is about the physics the computer makes possible to understand, such as ballistic motion this time with air resistance. (Air resistance is normally neglected in introductory physics, although it’s not negligible in the real world.) A course on computational physics is not mainly about the computing, although our physics majors’ programming skills are so bad, it’d help them. (Nearly all of them take the computer science department’s intro to programming that uses C/C++, all of them pass it, and emerge as non-programmers anyway.)

    I also used to teach a course on energy and the environment that was mainly for non-majors, which I did the paperwork to convert it into an upper-level general-ed course. Who knows, I've toyed with the idea of team-teaching a course on science-fiction literature with someone in the English department, but never have found a suitable partner. A friend of mine did teach a course on the history of science, at first teach-teaching it with someone in the history department, which he subsequently took over. If I had no alternative but to turn to full-time university administration, I'd kill myself.

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    Replies
    1. And of course, I'd do that by saying, "EAT ME!"

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    2. *&^%$#@#$%^&* You've exceeded your 90 seconds. You will be harvested for parts. You're welcome. *&^%$#@#$%^&*

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    3. Hey, no problem. You got the directions from the plaques on the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft, didn't you? I told Carl they were a bad idea.

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  2. I will trade in my teaching gear for an administration job where I get to start solving problems instead of explaining why x or y request is simply impossible.

    I hate impossible. Tell me what I have to do to make this happen.

    (Yes, admins, I know this is an idealized version of what you do and really what you do is coddle students, faculty, and parents alike)

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  3. I would become the Dean of Undoing Administration's Mistakes. With their advanced, or even mediocre intelligence, the aliens would see the value of such a position. Their only worry might be that in order to do my job well, I'd need a staff larger than the school's enrollment and lots of overtime.

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    Replies
    1. *&^%$#@#$%^&* ALLOWED, PROBATIONARY. *&^%$#@#$%^&*

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  4. I would be of great assistance to the aliens with my human superpower of being able to sniff out when someone is bullshitting and when someone is being genuine. As I would report to the Alien Overload, I could actually be able to point this out without fear of retribution.

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    Replies
    1. *&^%$#@#$%^&* BULLSHIT. DENIED. HARVEST FOR PARTS. *&^%$#@#$%^&*

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  5. I would join the groudskeeping crew and the horticultural department. I love to garden and I am good at it. The bonus is that I would be working with plants- they don't talk back, they don't text, they don't cheat.

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    1. *&^%$#@#$%^&* APPROVED, HEARTILY. *&^%$#@#$%^&*

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  6. I teach theology. I would start a new field explaining why humans were created to understand what the aliens say and shape our lives around doing it.

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  7. Since the study of my language and its literature is obsolete, I will immediately learn the language and literature of the alien race so I can share their creative capacities with our earth.

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    Replies
    1. €^%#>%^* BUT WILL YOU PUBLISH?? PROBATIONARY ACCEPTANCE. €^%#%><^

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  8. The man who cleans toilets in my building seems pretty happy. I'd want to be his assistant 20 hours/week. The other 20 hours, I'd want to paint flowers on the walls of all the buildings. So... Janitor and Campus Artist.

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    Replies
    1. €^%#%>%. DENIED. REASSIGNED TO INSTITUTE OF MIXOLOGY. €^%>%#%%

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    2. Good choice, AC. I'm not sure if Bubba's organs are in good enough condition to be harvested.

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    3. No true. I bet that if we burned Bubba's liver instead of coal we could power the world for roughly 2 millenia.

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    4. *(&(*&(( WE DO NOT HAVE A CRAFT LARGE ENOUGH TO TRANSPORT. ^&^&%**(&^

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  9. I found out from a friend's husband that the guys who clean out portable toilets make 20k more than me per year. And their working conditions are way better. Do aliens poop?

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    Replies
    1. Surly: €^%%>#%. WE DO POOP. BUT DO NOT DISPOSE. DENIED. ^%>€^^*%>

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  10. I minored in biology and physics, so I guess that makes me qualified to teach kinesiology. I'll transfer there, eventually take over as Dean/Athletic Director, and then shitcan the football program.

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    Replies
    1. *&%^$&% APPROVED. WE PLAY MORG ON OUR PLANETS. PDF OF RULES AVAILABLE HERE: HTTP://*&^&$&*%&$*$&$*&*$&%^%&$^*)*&^&*$.XXX

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  11. I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.

    I have experience in a variety of Student Service areas, so if (when) my current position goes away I can easily transition into another office.

    Should ALL Student Services be eliminated, I am qualified to teach a non-Student Services subject and would gladly accept a full time faculty position to do so. Incidentally, it is a field that none of my colleagues are qualified to teach. Just sayin'...

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    Replies
    1. *&%^$&% ASSKISSER. WE HAVE MUCH NEED FOR YOUR SKILLS. ACCEPTED. *&^&&%^^

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  12. With human science and technology effectively overhauled and the eschaton rapidly approaching, I humbly submit myself as a candidate for the Making And Playing Of Useless Games department, which will provided needed grist for the economic mill, and will be really popular with the students, despite the huge failure rates.

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    Replies
    1. &^&*&^* WE ARE USING ONLY THE SUB-20 YEAR OLDS IN THAT DEPARTMENT. YOUR EYESIGHT IS LIKELY COMPROMISED. DENIED. HARVEST ORDER SUBMITTED. &^%&^&^&

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    2. Shoot, I teach business strategy so unless the Aliens have figured out a non-exchange, non-economy, I guess I am not totally obsolete. Fish gotta swim, economic groups gotta trade.

      However, the Commander is pretty funny. I want to be assimilated.

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    3. &*$%($* ASSIMILATION IS OVERRATED AND HUMAN. DENIED. HARVEST ORDER SUBMITTED. *&&$^%&$

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  13. Do we get harvested if we figure out which of the four of us is "Alien Commander"?

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    Replies
    1. &*$*%($ OTHER ALIENS ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR REASSIGNMENT. LIVE LONG AND MORG. *&&%&^%^

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  14. I offer my services as Chair of Academic Advising. It's pretty cushy, drawing a good salary for explaining the rules to studentflakes who can't read. Surely the little alienflakes (you have those too, I assume) would need even more guidance. In light of their superior intelligence, I'd simply steer them to our least popular proffies and hardest majors (honors sections only), sit back and watch it burn.

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  15. I FUCKING HATE THE NEW CRAZZY FORMAT!!!!! AND I WON'T PLAY YOUR STUPID FUCKING ALIEN GAME.

    Wait, who's that? In the hallway? Who are you? What? Put that grad student down....JESUS...I didn't mean throw him through the window.

    What kind of crazzy shit are you going to do?!?!?!?!?

    [sounds, scuffling]

    MORG.

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    Replies
    1. €^%*>^ "YOU'VE REACHED DR WALTER'S OFFICE. HE IS CURRENTLY AWAY FROM THE LAB. FOREVER." €^*%€*^>

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  16. ^%%%^€£ Oh, EMH. We actually got a memo about you. Needless to say, harvest. €£*%%^*£*

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    1. Good luck with that, harvesting photons and such. But if you must try, I'll just reconfigure my holomatrix to emit an anti-time anomoly and erase your species from the timeline.

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    3. &*(^%^% ON OUR PLANETS WE HAVE A PLANT THAT MOVES THROUGH SPACE FASTER THAN YOU. THE NEXT TIME THE STUPIDEST OF US HAS A NANOSECOND TO PROGRAM OUR DUMBEST, WEAKEST, PLANT, YOU'LL HEAR A WHOOSHING SOUND, AND THEN IT WILL BE DARKNESS. &*((&&^*&^

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  17. I do culture and art and shit, so I'd try to get sent over to the Study Abroad office, and start putting together extraterrestrial "summer at space" programs. With a very high GPA cutoff, of course-- don't want our riff-raff annoying the locals. But just send the skinny ones, so that they come back. . .

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    1. ¥+*%€>%^. EXCELLENT. AND WE WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE NECESSAY IMMUNIZATIONS TO TRAVEL BACK WITH SOME OF US THIS WEEK TO SCOUT TERRAIN FOR FUTURE PROGRAMS. ACCEPTED. >%%^€%%>

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  18. I so love this place. Is it Cal?

    Dear Alien Ombuds: I have humbly taught English for years. I'm glad I will no longer be needed, because all I really want to do is ... DANCE! Go ahead, cue up some Daft Punk and stand back...

    XOXO
    Darla

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    Replies
    1. &*^*&*& DARLA. NO KID. NO HUSBAND. YOU'RE IN OTHERWISE. *&^&((*

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  19. I didn't want to be a professor anyway. I always wanted to be a lumberjack, leaping from tree to tree...

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    1. €>%^>€^ THE MORG TREES ON OUR PLANETS ARE A BEAUTIFUL SHADE OF YELLOW AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. YOU WOULD BE WELCOME TO SWING ON THEM BEFORE WE HARVEST THE ORGANS OF YOURS THAT STILL WORK. €^%^*£*^

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  20. Replies
    1. ^>%€%>^€. YOU WILL WRITE OUR POEMS FOR US. AND YOU WILL BE A PRINCESS. €^%^€%>

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  21. I'll just lug shit around, as usual.

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  22. I could babysit the duck. I'm good at babysitting my students so I figure I could babysit a duck fairly easily. I mean all it does is swim in the tub and quack, right?

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    Replies
    1. *&*^* YOUR SITTING SERVICES ARE NO LONGER NEEDED. THE DUCK WAS SERVED ON A NICE BRIOCHE WHILE WE WERE TAKING A LUNCH BREAK. AND LET US TAKE THE TIME TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR REPLIES DURING THE DAY. WE ARE OFF TO APPLEBEE'S AND A BASEBALL GAME TONIGHT. ANYONE WHO FAILED TO APPLY WILL BE HARVESTED. BUT NOT UNTIL 5 AM TOMORROW. SLEEP TIGHT.*&*(^(**

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  23. I can round up all the alpacas, if you have plans for them too.

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  24. Since my services as a hamster husbandry and medicine professor are no longer requred, I'd be happy to stay on as a drill instructor for freshman boot camp.
    Once I'm done with them, if you say "jump", they won't even need to ask "how high?"

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  25. Oh, they're gone. Their "craft" beat the shit out of the lawn outside our offices here in Ogden. Bunch of crazzy mothers.

    Wait. Did they leave you behind? What are you doing with that? JESUS. Don't grab my neck like that...

    [scuffle, noises, grunts]

    MORG!

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  26. I read all of the Alien Commander's replies in the voice of a Dalek.

    Thanks for the laughs. I am Ok with being mulched, though the soil may end up a bit more acidic than you'd like, given that I am a bitter old burnt out husk slowly pickling myself to death with vodka anyway.

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  27. Oh I missed the fun!!!! What a good read...

    Love me my College Misery.

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  28. This was my favorite day on CM ever. The response to Greta melted my heart.

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  29. I had nothing to do with it, so I don't mind saying how much I enjoyed it. Lots of people guessed it was Cal, and if course it was.

    But I loved how the evolution of "MORG" just slowly developed during the day. It was some kind of sport. It was part of a Star Trekian greeting. It's a kind of tree! It might be Walt's last word, or an exhortation by the alien who vanquished him. It even got added to the modestly revised header.

    Fun all day. Thanks Cal.

    Fab

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  30. FUUUCK!

    Missed my chance to get Lenin reanimated!!!

    He would have crushed capitalism, I'm sure of it.

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  31. MORG? As Teri Garr said to the little green cube, "Same to you!"

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  32. Oh, dear. I missed my chance to join Charlotte Anne on the grounds crew. I would have liked that (assuming they'd take me, too).

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