Selective Hearing

listen closelyPlace: Student Studies Department

Date: June 8th, 2012

My interpretation of events:

I walk into the Student Studies Department and ask a question to which I believe I already know the answer. To the best of my recollection, the following conversation is 100% accurate.

“Hi L, I’m just checking, the deadline for handing in MA theses is June 30th, right?”

“Hi. Yeah, pretty much. June 15th is better, but you should be able to get it in on the 30th. No problemo.” She stares at me in what can only be described as a painfully withheld demonstration of lust. “Your haircut makes you look tall and slim.”

“Thank you!” I spend the remainder of June 8th feeling more attractive and relaxed knowing both that I have more time to deal with my devil thesis and that my haircut apparently affects the laws of visual physics.

I come from a long line of selective hearers. My dad has shown a lifelong propensity for ignoring all of the negative words and warning phrases that surround the mention of the tasty treat involved in the sentence. Like this:

Dad: “Can I still have Oreo cookies?”

Doctor: “You can no longer eat Oreos. They are incredibly-e bad for your health. Have something with more fiber and no calories, like fruit.”

Dad: Gee, thanks Doc!”

Doctor: “You’re welcome? And your new haircut makes you appear tall and slim.”

Dad leaves doctor’s office whistling and smoothing down newly-trimmed sideburns.

No doubt my Neanderthal relatives were ignoring their wife’s pleas for them to stay away from mammoth meat and to come home earlier from the tar pits. I suppose we men spend all our time trying to balance our own comfort zones with an occasional sojourn to the outside world. Also, we have some pretty great fantasies happening up in the old brainbox, so that tends to get us in trouble.

Which brings us back to June 8th, 2012.

What really occurred:

“Hi L, just checking, the deadline for handing in MA theses is June 30th, right?”

“Hey, no, the deadline is June 15th and completely inflexible. You have no choice but to hand it in then or you must postpone til next November.” L stares at me with what can only be described as ulcer-causing irritation and hate. Finally moved to break the uncomfortable silence (I am now singing the Mighty Mouse theme in my head), she says, “Your head looks different.”

“I got a haircut; do you like it?”

“June 15th.”

“Great, thanks and have a great day!” I leave the office whistling and toying with newly-trimmed ear flaps.

This post is a prelude to Monday’s entitled: The Five-Day Thesis. How to finish a major academic work in five days without murdering yourself.

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