Life as an Extreme Sport


“Grissom, do you ever worry about professional suicide?”
“Not while I’m committing it.”

Brian Reed and I had a lovely talk this afternoon, first at Aqua Verde and then on the bus ride home. Our conversation ranged from corpse flowers to constellations and our axis of perceptions, and of course my project. He’s intrigued, which is nice, and willing to work with me, which is excellent. What I most wanted to document, though, was talking about how I feel like such a fraud when I teach. I mean, who’m I to know enough to teach about any subject. Brian told me that this is the mark of a true academic – to be aware of those borders of knowledge, and to know when you’d come upon them. That it is those borders of knowing where our knowledge ends that allows us to teach to begin with. Then he reiterated thinking that I’m an academic – a true one, not one of those fakes wandering around. (I say this in jest. Mostly.)

It was also very nice to be reassured that I don’t talk too much in class; there are some that do, but I am not one of them.

Being at the level of having a relationship with a professor, one of interested equals talking instead of a power hierarchy of command, is very… I don’t want to say refreshing, because that implies I’ve not had that sort of relationship with Phillip. Rather, with Brian (and Ellen and Arianna, the other SI professors), it’s reaffirming. It’s not just Phillip, it is that I’ve reached a level in academia where I can have this cooperative exchange. It’s nice, validating, reassuring. This is the right place for me.