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On Babies

by Oronte Churm

Readers of my regular dispatches for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency email me to say, “Oronte, you’re so erudite, so urbane! Your prose sparkles like a gin bottle at the dump! How is it you’re still just an adjunct?”

To them, I reply: Nothing like a little hot sauce in the old canker sores, so thanks for that. Truth is, the adjunct corps is made up of the bookless, the directionless, the misguided; those with lesser degrees; the insane, the unlucky, the otherwise unemployable; fakes, generalists, masochists, hobbyists, saintly enlightened ascetics; those who don’t interview well, those who do but can’t close the deal, those who love college teaching and would do it over office work at any salary; and spousal camp-followers. In my case, take a little from this category, a little from that.

Lately I’ve been thinking about another group I call babies.
No, not the good kind of baby, who snuggles in to your chest for warmth in the early cool morning and sneezes day-care viruses into your bleary eyes. I’m talking about those seemingly fragile souls who exist on the fringes of academic self-determination in such numbers that one wonders if higher ed recruits them

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