My eyes are fully open [math/academia]

Author: Robin Pemantle

My eyes are fully open to my awful situation:
work for business, wear a suit, get only ten days of vacation,
and the fact that I’ll be getting almost twice the compensation
doesn’t even start to balance out the moral indignation.
For the letters I got back from every hiring committee
said in essence, tinged with varying expressions of their pity,
“Though we’ve never seen a thesis that was better typed or fatter,
if you were to die tomorrow, sir … this work just wouldn’t matter.”

sir, this work just wouldn’t matter
sir, this work just wouldn’t matter
sir, this work just wouldn’t matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!

After passing all my quals, I started studying connections
between holomorphic localized commutative transvections
and the inverse limit complex they induce by intersections
but, alas, all the examples have thus far escaped detection.
So I switched into the area of meta-mathematics,
where I found a universal form for third-degree quadratics.
Now I’m mad as a logician, madder still than any hatter,
and my discourse is reduced from math to infantile chatter.

math to infantile chatter
math to infantile chatter
math to infantile chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter!

If I had been so lucky as to have a good advisor
who was just a little older, grayer, richer, smarter, wiser,
who could give me good direction when he saw me start to wander
from those fields of mathematics of which NSF is fonder,
Then I might have had a job at an upstanding institution,
gotten tenure, won a medal for “distinguished contribution” —
as it is this rapid, vapid, unintelligible patter
isn’t generally heard and if it is it doesn’t matter!

if it is it doesn’t matter
if it is it doesn’t matter
if it is it doesn’t matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!

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