When people first find out that I am a philosophy professor, they tend to make a remark about trees falling in the forest, followed by a question about God. A few ask if I can score them some weed. If the conversation progresses a bit, most folks will say “wow, it must be nice having the summer off.”
What folks who say this do not know is that this summer “vacation” is an unpaid break. True, I do get a check for the week after finals (of course, I am also expected to complete my grades, go in for meetings and such during this time). But, after that, it is a time free of paychecks until August. Amazingly, the bills keep on coming.
Fortunately, since 1994 I have always managed to have a summer class. It does not pay as well as the normal year, but any income is welcome during the summer paycheck desert. However, this year I have a true summer “vacation.” Thanks to the Republicans bravely cutting the education budget so that the wealthy can get a reprieve from the cruel lash of taxes, I am out of work for the summer. I am sure that this really helps the economy and no doubt creates several jobs somewhere. Plus, I am sure that the students are learning more important things by not being in my class. I am, after all, a philosophy professor. I am not at all bitter about this.
Since I am often cast as a liberal, it might be suspected that I am spending my summer on the couch, waiting for the USPS to bring me my fat entitlement checks. However, I’ll be back to teaching in the fall (I hope) and hence there is no sweet government largesse for me. Curses, foiled once again.
What I am doing, at least after running (and breakfast, of course), is writing. I’ve completed one book (30 More Fallacies), I have an actual book contract (complete with a non-disclosure requirement), and I have the groundwork laid for several more books. However, I will be glad to get back to my normal job. Writing eight hours a day and having the pay lurking out there in the distance is not quite how I would like to live year round.