The professor

“…all this nonsense about rules and regulations is so trying…” the professor complained, abruptly raising his voice as he paced the auditorium. Several older ladies in the front row started, one stifled a squeal, another dropped her pen and notebook with a clatter to the parquet floor. A young man seated near by tried to hide his grin as he gathered up the errant items and handed them back with a flourish. He was rewarded with an embarrassed smile.

One hand raking through a shock of white hair, the professor described an all-encompassing arc in the air over the audience with his other hand. “When I began this profession, no such regulations hindered our work.” He halted abruptly, staring intently at the young man as if asking a question. It was the young man’s turn to be embarrassed, clearly unsure how to react. Embarrassment spread rapidly through the room as the professor continued to stare in silence.

Then just when people were beginning to shift uncomfortably on their chairs, the professor looked away, disappointment etched in the folds of his face, and continued his pacing. “The art of our work is to find ways round such obstacles.”

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