February 2017: 4 Things

1. I submitted my PhD thesis.

Kevin online

It was a horrendous anti-climax in the end. The University of Aberdeen are busy turning much of the work of the university into the work of an educational retailer, replacing “students” with “consumers”. But they really need to improve the process by which a student completes a 41 month, 109,000 word, 345 page research project. The administrator to whom I entrusted my tome did not even have the presence of mind to say “Congratulations”.

Still, let me not complain too much. I finally got the damn thing done and some people think it is pretty good. Not me. By the end of it, I hated every single paragraph and thought all the arguments barely deserved that descriptor. I sealed my copy in a box which I won’t open again until April and hopefully by then, I won’t think it a mammoth chain of bald assertions strung together with some punchlines and the occasionally illuminating footnote.

2. I discovered an amazing new tv show called Lady Dynamite

Wife-unit and I were fans of Maria Bamford’s stand-up and were delighted she got her own tv show but this is amazingly better than our high expectations. It folds in on itself and then disappears into absurdity, but never fails to do the fundamental thing that a comedy is meant to do: make you laugh.

3. I went to a table quiz.

Americans call them pub quizzes. And this table quiz was in a pub, the undergraduate pub just down the road from my office. On a Sunday evening, it was full of 19 year-olds trying to flirt while answering trivia questions. And us. Our team consisted of 2 phd students, one college lecturer, a nurse and a prison chaplain. Our average age was probably twice that of the 19 year-olds. But worst of all, our team name was The Eventual Winners. Having been in the running through all seven rounds, it wasn’t until the very last gasp that we took our rightful place at the top of the tree.

We tried to be classy and mature about our triumph, but we may have failed.

4. I saw a baby get water poured on him.

On my last Sunday in my church, my friends brought their son for baptism. He was calm as could be as he was marked into the covenant, the whole church gathered around him as his priest said ancient words over him, poured clean, cold water over his head, and told us all what we already knew but could never grow tired of hearing: that he was a gift from God.

After the service, we ate cake and drank tea and his father said some wonderful things to help make sense of why we do something as absurd as baptise babies and his godmother read a poem set to music and I was sad that it was my last Sunday in that place.

I got a photo of my favourite icon in all the world, which has never failed to make me smile as I walk to the communion rail. It reminds me in a visceral way that Jesus is my friend.

Props to my friend C, a 12 year-old in the congregation who held the artwork up for me to capture it.

Your Correspondent, Born in a diner, lived in a drive-in, died in a dive

[ssba]

2 thoughts on “February 2017: 4 Things”

  1. OK, so my title (something like “super pizza eater”) might not be as glamourous as “prison chaplain”, but I did help the table quiz team score at least one point… remember? the one about belladonna? yeah. I think I lost that point ten times over in later questions… but morale boosting should count for something, right?
    Anyway, so nice to have your presence at S.’s baptism and we are really gonna miss you guys. xx

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