I believe that I can prove that the old saying that people who are experts in their chosen field should not venture off into other fields and lay the claim that they are successful at them. Like the doctors who diagnose themselves, to the lawyers who represent themselves, there is a well defined reason why the patient and client should not become part of the treatment and challenge process. Professionals are best to conduct themselves at their craft and call that their landmark achievement, while leaving the cooking up to someone else who can do a better job.
Volunteering is a time honoured tradition among academics. It is how they get their foot in the door at the very beginning of their careers. But volunteering is also a two way street that if the wrong turn is made, this could land you down a dead-end alley with no way of backing out of it. To say, at the goodness of your heart, that you are going to use your time and effort for the greater good is the noble quality that sets one apart from the rest, but that time should also include your best performance too, or the cause may end with not so good of consequences.
Last night, after my last class of the week, my friends and I decided to go to a small gathering at Colleen’s house. (Not her real name). She lives less than five minutes from the University and is quite the host of small gatherings, in fact, legendary. About three years ago I first went to one of her gathering, and was amazed at her skills as a hostess because the whose who of the University go their from my clique, so you get to meet a wide spectrum of students from the campus there. It is also a great opportunity to meet some of the big-wigs too in the field of Criminology from the Vancouver area because of its location. But back then, the rule was, you bought your own food, like a pot-luck event, everyone was expected to do it. I did not know that there was a reason for this rule?
Now Colleen is a very nice person, and she gave me permission to write this, but I also wanted to keep her real identity a secret because she too taunts people with her secret—and the surprise is always best kept for the newbie. Her sense of humour is unmatched by any standard. I heard of her through the campus grapevine, but the rumour was nothing close to what I saw when I first met her because you see, I was told that she had “buns of steel.” What I saw was nothing close to a body builder’s perfect form, but the opposite; the heaviest thing she lifts are her textbooks, and maybe only two or three at a time.
We entered the threshold of her home and the smell of baking bread was in the air. We all sat down in the living room where several chairs had being strategically laid out, and then Colleen greeted us with orange juice, coffee and muffins. I sat directly by the “fake” fireplace, and was automatically in charge of adding more chairs because the extra chairs are kept there too. Sitting in that location also meant that I was right in the path of the on coming traffic from the kitchen area. It was then, as I just sat down and made myself comfortable, that I heard Colleen asking me to help her in the kitchen.
Like a page out of a horror novel, there sitting in a tin tray were freshly baked buns of bread. With her oven mitts on, she picked up the tray and shook the buns off into a wicker basket and asked me to try one. Not even a fork could penetrate the mortar encased shell of the pumpernickel. We laughed as I said, “My dear, you do indeed have buns of steel.” And she replied, “I guess formula 108C doesn’t work either…”