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Genius at work

By Sandra Stenson   /     Mar 29, 2015  /     From Life  /  

Moments of Stensonian Genius 2015: January

The year is young yet. But, already, we have had moments of rare brilliance. Last week was a veritable windfall of brilliance, starting with “the interview”. I had agreed to be interviewed for Gulf Coast Advance’s Scientist Spotlight (http://www.gulfcoastadvance.org/) last Wednesday, which sounded very flattering, except for the fact that I really don’t enjoy any kind of spotlight. For weeks, I pondered what pearls of wisdom I might have to offer and agonized over how to boil all my excitement for mentoring and science into insightful but pithy soundbites.

Woman that I am, I enjoyed the prospect even less, when I looked on the website and noted that each previous spotlight was accompanied by pictures of the scientist. Knowing how much the camera hates me (from nearly 40 years of painfully documented history), I decided to do all my Wednesday-morning chores Tuesday night to free up an entire hour in the morning for beautification.  Wednesday morning saw me in the bathroom wielding such exotic tools as curling irons and mascara brushes.  I was serious about winning the battle against the camera for once and not to end up with a picture that could either be used to entertain the masses or as Halloween decoration to scare small children.

When I was done, I flattered myself into believing that I had actually been marginally successful. I did look very much the grown-up, professional career woman I am supposed to be, for a change. It had taken far longer than I have patience for on a regular basis to arrive at this point (there is a reason why I became a science nerd, not a lawyer), but I thought it was a pleasing result, for a change.  Extremely proud, I headed into my busy morning.

                                                                  bring your daughter to work day

Exhibit 1: Example of Stensonian attempt at professional look. For better effect, the reader is encouraged to imagine away the clutter in the background – oh, and also our pup.

After two back to back lectures and a short meeting with a colleague, I had just a few minutes left to straighten up the chaos in my office, carve a nice, uncluttered spot for the interviewer to sit, and position myself behind my computer screen to look deeply engaged in work when the lady arrived.

Almost exactly at the appointed time, the phone rang. This did not surprise me. The chemistry building is difficult enough to find even when it does not masquerade as ground zero of a small nuclear explosion, as it currently does because of “renovation” work. With that in mind, I gave us a few minutes for polite pleasantries before I ventured to ask if the interviewer might perhaps need directions.  This surprised her a bit as she was presently sitting in her home in Massachusetts; a good 22 h drive away.

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Exhibit 2: Example of more typical Stensonian at-work appearance.

At this point, it dawned on me that I might have misunderstood a few pertinent details about the nature of this interview, such as, for example, the fact that it was going to be a phone -interview.

I spent an hour on hair and make-up for a phone – interview ! If that is not genius at work, I am not sure what is. What I want to know is: Where is my toilette brush award? My colleague, who keeps regularly flooding the building with his loose hosing, is hogging it. I think my moments of sheer brilliance more than rival his. Can I have some votes in the comment section for his forthwith surrender of the toilette brush?

One Comment

  1. Adelie Says: July 23, 2016 6:05 am

    Great hammer of Thor, that is powurfelly helpful!

    Reply this comment

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