On the Importance of Mental Health

In the corner of the tiny waiting room is a huge machine to weigh yourself on. The TV is running non-stop promotional ads for weight loss products. There is a wall of brochures for people to take. I pick up the one which promises that exercise is a “silver bullet” for fatness. Silver bullets are more expensive versions of regular bullets. They are used not because they are cheaper (they’re not) or more effective against regular targets (they’re not), but because the magical silver is the only thing that can harm werewolves and other fantastical hard-to-kill monsters.

My fat body is a fantastical hard-to-kill monster which requires a magical solution to kill. My employer wants to kill my fat body with a silver bullet. I don’t even cry in the car. I just feel numb.

Need I say more?

Woman in a Crisis

If woman loses her self-understanding she will become shackled to a civilisation in crisis, transformed into a body, part of decadent femininity. Woman in a crisis of self will always be material. She will be susceptible to bodily outbreaks of corporal diseases and mental disorders which will precipitate pilgrimages in search of doctors, when not to prison, prostitution or the asylum.

– Michael Richards.

Richards is my favorite historian of Spain.

Trusting Authority

So it turns out that people who voted to hand over all of the power in all of our inter-departmental decisions to a single administrator did so because they didn’t have time to read the proposal and just voted “yes” mechanically. I have no idea how it makes sense to vote in favor of something when you have no idea what that something is. It would make a lot more sense to vote “no” on a new proposal with which you are unfamiliar if the current state of things seems to work.

I will never understand people. How did they know they were not voting “yes” to, say, having their salaries cut in half if they didn’t bother to read the proposal? Where is this unquestioning trust of authority coming from? Why do they automatically assume that everything done by an administrator is done solely for their benefit and can never be detrimental to them?

Hello, this is America. Aren’t we supposed to have an innate distrust of any authority?

Good Students

Obviously, I like good students but sometimes their very goodness becomes annoying. Today is the last day of class, it snows, I’m losing my voice, and all I wanted to do after class is go buy myself an enormous cup of coffee. But then all of the best students in my course wanted to come to my office to find out what their grade is before the final exam. Because, apparently, getting 98-100% on every assignment can lead to anything other than an A.

Isn’t it funny how the best students are always a lot more worried about their grades than the ones who are about to fail?


So we are collecting money for a Christmas gift to our office support specialist. I put money in an envelope, walked over to the Chair’s office, and gave him the envelope. He looked into the envelope and said, “Oh, thank you for writing this letter of recommendation! He will benefit from this study abroad program because they offer this Intermediate level course he lacks to complete his Focus and start his Minor. Is the text of the exam in the envelope, too?”

“OK,” I though. “The man has gone batty in his dotage and is enacting with me an eerily familiar scene of surreptitious bribe-taking.”

“Yes, it’s all there, the exam, the letter, everything,” I mumbled and backed out of the office.

That was when I realized that the recipient of the gift was standing right behind me and the Chair had simply been trying to prevent her from guessing that we were in the process of collecting money for her gift.