As We Become So Wise

As I’ve mentioned, I work in the Social Science Division Office on campus.  I was thinking, as I worked, about one of the professors in the division, who seems to greatly enjoy talking about his own accomplishments.  He’s nice enough, but he’ll complain and complain about how he doesn’t get enough recognition for all of the research and writing he does, and how he’s surpassed every academic in his field.  I never know how to reply to this talk, especially when it comes from someone older than me.  I wonder if I’ll ever fail to be surprised when my elders are as petty as people my age?

Later on in the afternoon, as I alternated thumbing through file folders and sliding papers through the copier, another professor came to do some stapling at the counter next to me.  I’ve had her for a few classes, and she’s one of my favorites.  We chatted, and she mentioned that some ideas she had published in a book had recently been used in another academic’s paper without due credit.  She was clearly upset about it, but said that she was trying to ‘let it lie.’

As she left to return to her office, she added, “So you see we never get over our ego and fits of peeve even as we become so wise.”

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