Thursday, July 24, 2014

Don't call the headhunters!

If you're looking for the skeletons in the closet, I've found them. Or parts of them, anyway. Just the skulls. About six of them, I would estimate--but don't call the headhunters! They're plastic skulls, leering gleefully and decorated in bright red and yellow, the sorts of things you'd use as table decorations for a display about the Mexican Day of the Dead.

Q: Did you find them in a storage cabinet in an office formerly inhabited by a Spanish professor?
A: Yes! And if he gets to the other end of his cross-country move and starts looking for his skulls, he's going to be disappointed. Maybe he should call a headhunter.

Q: What were you doing gazing into a skull-infested storage cabinet in your former colleague's former office? 
A: Trying to determine whether to transform my lamented former colleague's former office into my future office.

Yes, I realize that I just moved to a new office two years ago, and if I move again, the skull-infested office will be my fifth office--in 14 years. Of course, some of those moves where mandatory: the department chair must inhabit the chair's office; the Center for Teaching Excellence director must inhabit the great big new wonderful office in the library; the ex-director of the Center for Teaching Excellence must move to the only office available at the time, even if it's in the dungeon--er, basement.

I've been in the basement for two years now and I've worked very hard to love my office, but I just can't. It's dark, damp, cold, and clammy, and nothing I do to cheer it up makes it feel comfortable. If I can't fall in love with an office in two years of trying, it's not going to happen, so when the Powers That Be suggested that I might want to move upstairs to my former colleague's office, I jumped at the chance.

First, though, I had to have a good look at it. On the plus side: good location, built-in wooden bookshelves, big window with lots of light. On the minus side: skulls. And not just skulls, either, but all kinds of stuff left behind in the desk, on the shelves, and in the storage cabinet: computer printers, books, boxes, party favors, maps, and piles and piles of other stuff. Including skulls.

I told the PTBs that I would be delighted to move upstairs into the skull-infested office, but only if it gets thoroughly cleaned and painted, but now I wonder whether cleaning is enough. Can anyone tell me which campus office is responsible for exorcisms? 


Contingent Cassandra said...

Hmm. . .since the Mexican Day of the Dead is probably an example of religious syncretism, maybe you could employ a purification ritual indigenous to (more or less) the same region? Would burning sage come under that heading? I have the feeling I'm badly scrambling cultures and religions there. On the other hand, the dead who come out on the Day of the Dead are supposed to be basically friendly, aren't they (as opposed to those who need, in Western tradition, to be exorcised)? Perhaps they're not the sorts of spirits that require exorcism, just friendly acceptance? That might be easier (as long as friendly acceptance doesn't require allowing the skulls to take up space).

In any case, I hope somebody other than you is responsible for cleaning out/up the office (but I feel considerable sympathy for whoever it is. That's hot, dusty miserable work in mid-summer).

Laura said...

Perhaps you might want some lotuses on your wall? Just a thought.

Bardiac said...

Definitely move! Light! Bookcases!

Offer the skulls to a local K-12 teacher of Spanish, perhaps?