Sunday, January 01, 2006

Touching Gift

For the past twenty years, I have been involved in academics in one form or another. I have advised one tenure case, a series of promotions, and two dissertations. I have traveled to conferences on several continents and am well respected among my peers. My career has been rich and rewarding. And, yet, I have never been so touched before.

Ozzie bought me a desk and chair for Christmas.

Professor Pudge Bear now has a desk

In all of my years of service and tireless work in the pursuit of knowledge, I have never had a workspace to call my own. At first I shared Harriet's desk, but then I spent years sharing an office with Harriet's father. The last few years have been spent overseeing the rats nest that Ozzie calls an office, trying to find a few square inches of uncluttered space on which to scratch out my notes. And now, I have a desk to call my own.

I could not think of a better gift than a desk. I certainly have interests outside of economics. I enjoy reading classic works of literature or listening to concertos performed by brilliant musicians. But academics are a part of every fiber in my being in a way that art appreciation is not. A desk is more than a mere platform from to dive into deep intellectual waters, it is an altar at which I can homage to God and the commune with the great thinkers.

In many ways, Ozzie is a disappointment to me. He asks small questions about inconsequential topics. Ozzie might have the potential to make theoretical contributions to our store of knowledge, but one would never know because of his perverse fetishization of measurement and bounded certainty. His training and library are exquisite, but his intellectual curiosity was pruned at some point, and there is little evidence of re-newed growth. Harriet could have certainly done worse for herself, but Ozzie appears deficient with regards to innate talent and work ethic.

However, Ozzie is, at root, a decent fellow. He cares deeply for Harriet and that is the most important part of a marriage. Ozzie is generally thoughtful and considerate of his friends and peers. Ozzie takes the time to think about what people really want and need in life. Thus, he saw that I wanted more than anything my own desk, and he procured this wondrous piece of oak. I never could have articulated my desire, but Ozzie saw.

Thank you, Ozzie, for this wonderful and precious gift. 2006 will be a good year for me, no matter what the fates bring.

Working away

On second thought, Ozzie might have just given me the desk to increase my productivity on his behalf. I suspect that it is impossible to disentangle the competing motives for the gift. But for now, I will bask in the glory of my desk and give Ozzie the benefit of the doubt.


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