Wednesday, August 5, 2015

God has spoken to me through a movie scene

For quite some time now I have told people that as much as I think I know when I want to retire from teaching and writing God might have other ideas on how long he wants me to do this stuff.  Not that I have wanted to, but I have given in to the idea that when my time has come he will let me know (I am speaking of retirement, not death - although that is in his hands too.)

Well, today I heard him.  He came in through the following clip from the movie, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"  Watch this six-second clip then I will get back to you.

O.K., now that that is taken care of let me fill you in on what it means.

I am grading final exams from my four summer classes today.  I gave each of them a rare treat in my 24 years as a professor - a take home final exam. 

They got the exam in late June and it was due August 4th.  40 days to read only four chapters, watch some lectures online and answer five questions.  Every bit of each question could be answered by reading only four chapters and watching a few lectures.

In 40 days I could have translated the Bible into some ancient Navajo dialect.

In 40 days I could have learned how to speak Spanish, or walk to Tennessee or painted a good part of the Great Wall of China.

40 days later, most of my students turned in failing exams.  I mean grades that are so bad that it looks like they had 40 minutes to prepare for a test in particle physics while smoking weed.

Somewhere in my profane thoughts and loud declarations to my wife that there is no hope, no point and no reason for having hope, I heard Him.

Like James Earl Jones in the movie "Field of Dreams", I heard, "The man has done enough.  Leave him alone."

So that is it.  Six years to go.  In six years I will have done this stuff for 30 years.  Then Valencia will send me some retirement income and I can head to somewhere far away where there will be no grading, no writing, no blogging, no nothing but fishing for walleye, watching sunsets and not giving one rat's rear end what happens to this nation filled with (see video clip above).

I just hope during that six year stretch my students don't kill me off with their incomprehensible musings on things that have nothing to do with what I have asked them. 


  1. I feel your pain, professor Chambless. Yesterday sat at the ATT store as a "valued customer" for almost two hours while at least 6 other people were in line waiting for help. The young man was so laid back and talked about nothing for half of that time and the rest of the time I had a feeling he had no clue what I was talking about, or what help I needed. Had I worked there I would have been nervous seeing people standing in line and would have hurried to get my customer what he or she needed in a courteous manner. I felt like I was in another world. I know this comment has nothing to do with tests but I do think it reflects a certain attitude. 30 years of teaching is long enough I would say. You made the right decision and I applaud you.

  2. Professor Chambless,

    The next six years will go by fast.

    But in the meantime, may we pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease see some of the more entertaining responses on your blog? In the past, they've become Legend. I have no doubt the most recent batch will disappoint.

  3. You've done a damn good job at teaching. I recently just went to a FEE seminar in D.C., where the instant I mentioned I was from Florida, 4 people spouted "Oh, you had Chambless?!" It's like the only way anyone comes out of Orlando that has read (or still reads) Hayek, HAS to have taken your course. All 5 of us got to reminisce on your wonderful teaching, the difficulty of your class, your no bullsh** demeanor, and how ultimately, you changed our way of thinking. You've reached a whole bunch of folks during your tenure, I can guarantee that you've knocked some sense into most of them.

  4. No blogging? I was with you right up until that point...