Parenting Hack

Yesterday in the bathtub Klara refused to brush her teeth. Arguing with toddlers is a complete waste of time, so I said, “Hey, let’s brush teeth with toes!” I put a bit of baby toothpaste on her toes and she had a ball brushing her teeth with toes. The whole thing was so funny and put her in such a good mood that she easily agreed to brush her teeth with a toothbrush and real toothpaste after that.


After the Ph.D. one gets to spend five years in a gut wrenching struggle for tenure. Publish or perish is sometimes publish and perish. For those who become tenured here is some of what lies ahead: comprehensive annual assessments and five year post tenure reviews; the often brutal politics of academic departments; educating ill prepared students most of whom are merely going through the motions; working like a dog to publish scholarly material no one will read; endless committee work that will have virtually zero impact on the quality of the academic enterprise …

It’s infantile moaners like these that poison academic life. I probably have tougher working conditions than this dumbazoid but I haven’t encountered absolutely anything “gut-wrenching, brutal, perishing, dog-like, or endless” in academia.

What I don’t get is, if you hate it so much and feel brutalized and gut-wrenched all the time, then why not go do something else? Life is short and there are probably many people who want your job and would love doing it.

Also, if you work with people – students and colleagues – how is it fair or honorable to inflict yourself on them in this mental state? Students pay for their education. Many of them get themselves in debt to be in your classroom. And you are selling them this rotten attitude and this extreme contempt for them and for academia. This is disgraceful. Not even in the darkest time of my life did I indulge in the need to feel this sorry for myself.

There is no shadow of doubt in my mind that this spoiled little whiner has experienced no bigger hardship in life than “gut-wrenching committee work.” God, it’s annoying.

“Mwah, mwah, poor little me, I got tenure and I have to do some work, what a tragedy.” Disgusting.