May 2017: 4 Things

I am still committed to emulating the cool, old-skool blogging of my friend R, and their excellent Slow Growing blog, but for a host of excellent reasons, I was unable to write an update for April.

I was really sick with a virus. It mimicked lymphoma pretty well, so for a period there my doctor was worried and that made me worried.

I am almost certainly cancer free however, or at least I was when I last had my bloods tested. Perhaps since then I inadvertently consumed some crisps or biscuits or bread or chips or red meat or salt or peanuts or any grain or baby food or coffee or alcohol and have therefore since developed multiple tumors?

Stressed out with sickness and work and other stuff, the border between April and May flew right by. But May was a momentous month and I wanted to note four important things that happened.

1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Season 3 of the most joyous television show in history was debuted and Wife-unit and I spread it out over a week. We finished it last night and it ended deliciously. It continued its amazing chain of episodes so densely-packed with jokes and references and allusions that you feel an illustrated annotated guide should be published for each episode. It continued to be so colourful that my childlike intelligence never got bored. Most importantly, – SPOILER ALERT – Titus finally high-fived Kimmy.

Now though, it is finished for another year.

2. A Conference Happened

My friend Emily Hill let me help her in running a big fancy academic conference in Aberdeen. We got economists and philosophers and marketing people and business academics to talk with theologians and the theologians didn’t make the others fall asleep. It was good fun, even though it was also stressful, but like all academic conferences, one wonders at the end, “Was that it? What now?” The answer is, as with every other aspect of life, usually “The next thing” but one still anticipates a more satisfying endorphin rush.

Among the things I learned was that economists should at least study JM Keynes more to learn how to write well and that there are a lot of young academics who really do get the importance of ethically examining the orthodoxies of our age.

Here’s a more detailed report I wrote.

3. Wisdom Extraction
I had a wisdom tooth that was more askew than than a Michael Bay essay on the male gaze. I was meant to have it removed under the NHS in Britain but then I foolishly decided to move home the day after the scheduled operation. In Scotland they were going to put me under a general anesthetic and were warning me about the dangers of losing the use of my tongue. In Ireland I had to pay for the extraction (€320 for reference!) and they were like, “It’ll take less than five minutes and you can go to work the day after the day after.”

I showed up at the dentist off the back of all the medical anxiety about the possible cancer and was exhausted. My dentist and his assistant (his wife) had a laptop in the surgery, with youtube loaded up and a Pakistani imam singing prayers in a mosque. It was lulling and calming in the best way possible. The sounds that his tools made were despicable but I closed my eyes shut and thought about classic goals scored by Kinkladze and four minutes later he sent me away.

My friend came to collect me and I couldn’t talk for a few hours and I spent a few days subsisting on mashed bananas, mashed eggs, mashed parsnips and custard. But I avoided all the nightmares and my mouth seems to be almost better.

The point is: don’t let the fear-machine angst you out if you face a dental extraction. It can go well and it probably will.

4. I became a Doctor!

I finished my thesis earlier in the year and in the middle of May I was summonsed to Aberdeen to account for that mess of ill-advised analogies and dodgy reasoning. Astoundingly it, the defence went well. My examiners, Mike Laffin and William Cavanaugh, were gentle with me to begin with and then asked some really hard questions before the whole thing turned into a very enjoyable conversations.

I got a letter on Friday last from the university saying that the senate had accepted my results and yesterday I sent the final thesis off to the printers who will pass it on to the registrar who will submit it in the library. And with that, almost four years of work comes to an end.

It was good work and it was hard work and I am glad it is done. Right after the viva, my examiners and my supervisor and some fellow PhD students went off to a distillery and drank scotch for the day and I barely mentioned theology again until I was back at work. It was heavenly.

Your Correspondent, Keeps the crowd away like a Greenpeace volunteer.

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