My Fantasy About Leaving Zenith

March 25, 2007, 3:52 pm

My fantasy about leaving Zenith has a number of constituent parts. At one point, it included going to law school and becoming an activist attorney who did real things to help people. This idea developed in contradistinction to the line people often feed me about how important it is to teach elite students because it is they who will go out in the world and run things, and they need to learn from people “like me.”

Oh right. This is a reason to go on living: molding future world leaders and captains of industry. Just call me the Handmaiden to the Stars.

I also had a fantasy about running for office, which faded precipitously when I realized it would require hours and hours of social events, a capacity to remember lots of names forever, eating dreadful food and making compromises with people I would, to my peril, learn not to despise — for example, Joe Lieberman and Trent Lott. This overlapped with a fantasy about going to work for a politician I could really believe in — for example, being someone like Josh Lymon on The West Wing, or that neat-o feminist played by the woman who now plays a neat-o drug dealer on “Weeds.”

I also have ongoing fantasies about running a feminist bookstore, and starting a feminist press, both of which would require money that I do not have.

The problem with all these possible second careers is also a drastically reduced amount of time for reading and writing, unless one becomes a true workaholic, and I believe I am a little over the hill for making that transformation. But you have probably figured this out, since someone who was a workaholic would have finished that second book despite the fact that it was raining crap during the Unfortunate Events. And I am spiritually devoted to reading and writing — although possibly less so right now to the teaching part of the Job, even though it gives me pleasure on a regular basis. I just sometimes wonder what the point is in the larger scheme of things, given what education has become. But never mind. That’s an age thing, and I suspect happiness in teaching just comes and goes after the first decade or so.

So my current fantasy — which is fueled this time of year by March Madness — is leaving Zenith for a job at a school with a great Division I women’s basketball program, and that they would persuade me to leave Zenith in the end by guaranteeing me season tickets every year. Looking at this year’s bracket, this realistically narrows the field for future employment to Stanford, Tennessee, the University of Connecticut, Oklahoma, Duke, Maryland, University of North Carolina, Rutgers, and LSU. I can’t see myself at Marist (they’re Catholic, I’m gay) or North Carolina State (I know Kay Yow is very brave, but no.) I think Oklahoma is off the list too, partly because it is in Oklahoma, but also because of global warming and that Dust Bowl thing. Tennessee? Maybe. But my understanding from La Principessa, who spent a year in Nashville on a fellowship, is that lesbian life is pretty grim in the mountain south.

So this leaves us with Stanford, Duke, UNC, UConn, Maryland, Rutgers and LSU. We’re getting there. It’s very expensive to live in Palo Alto, but my feeling is that the job offer will come with a significant raise and a low-interest loan to buy a lovely house. If it was Maryland, we could live in DC — although my affection for that town is matched by N’s dislike of it. On the other hand, since I am now a UConn fan (and secondarily, a Rutgers fan), why leave winners to go to a program that hasn’t made the Final Four in some time? If it were UConn, I wouldn’t have to move, even though the daily commute might be a tad grim. LSU is an option, although there is the lesbian problem, which I discovered during the Pokey Chatman debate (I had thought Louisiana was where they invented sexual deviance) — I don’t want to have it alleged that I am doing my students and lose my whole blog fan base. On the other hand, Combat Philosopher lives in Louisiana, and I bet he would stand up for me. I already failed to get a job at UNC about twenty years ago, but I am not taking it personally. And I do think — in comparison to Duke — it might suit my politics better to work at a public school.

OK. Realistically, in this order I think, my options are: Rutgers, UConn, UNC, Stanford, Duke and LSU. In that order. I will be entertaining job offers in the comments section, so please fell free to put together a package for me to consider.

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