Laurie Taylor Column

December 23, 2005

Enjoying your dinner, Roger? You like goose, don't you?

Oh yes, mother.

I got it from Clarissa Dickson Wright. Hungarian. That's why there are eggy dumplings and paprika.

Very nice.

Roger, is everything all right at that big university of yours? Oh dear.

You look so sad. Surely there must have been something nice in the whole year?

I was nominated for a Higher award.

A higher award than anyone else? That's very good.

No, mother. A Times Higher award. It's the name of the paper. I was nominated for Lifetime Achievement.

That's wonderful. What does it mean?

Well, the nomination said that despite enduring nearly 20 years at the university during which time I'd never been offered any promotion, in which I'd been declared "research inactive" and had my teaching increased to 26 hours a week, my administration doubled and my general dogsbody work trebled, in which I'd been deprived of all secretarial services, had my holiday cut from nine weeks to a fortnight, been disciplined for failing to get top marks on student evaluation forms, had to listen to yards of management bollocks and watched the value of my salary decrease every single year... well, despite all that, I had remained at my post. I stayed loyal.

And did you win?

No. It seems that there was a problem with the nomination. A technical matter.

Technical?

I wrote it myself.

Roger. You are bad. Now, can I tempt my naughty boy to another eggy dumpling?

Oh, go on, mother.

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