Perhaps there's more to that guy in the red suit...

Dec 07 2009 Published by under Academia

Ah, the Holiday Season. In the US, beginning around...midnight directly following the Thanksgiving festivities, the holiday stuff comes out. Suddenly, a normal middle America city is transformed (or at least, its downtown is transformed) with Christmas trees and whatever sparkly candy canes or angels they have hanging from all of the street lamps.
And into this rather picturesque downtown, made so by a careful covering of spangles, walked Sci this past weekend. She walked into a delicious, delicious chocolate shop. And she had come for a purpose, for she knew that within this shop, pumpkin flavored truffles were to be had.

And apparently, in this sweet shop on this particular weekend, there was to be a Santa. There were little kids racing around, and in an area near the back sat the Jolly Elf himself.
Sci has had never had much truck with Santas. Even when you're a kid and you want to believe, seeing a parade come down the street at Christmas with an entire HOST of Santas...well...

Motorcycles aside, Sci was a born scientist, and the physics of Santas and chimneys just didn't hold up.
But now, Sci's might be getting a little less cynical, and a little more...desperate. For on Saturday, she approached this charming Santa, pumpkin truffles in hand. He was a very good model, real white fluffy beard, spectacles, and authentic tummy. Sci felt a little old to be sitting on laps, and was therefore gratified when the Santa rose, put an arm around her shoulders in a comforting manner, and asked what she wanted for Christmas.
And I said, "I'd like a PhD, please"

And Santa totally floored Sci. He floored her because he said in reply "well, have you been a good grad student? What is your field? What is your thesis title? Has your committee given you permission? What kind of publications do you have? Have you begun searching for post-docs?"
Sci answered all the questions as best she could, and Santa said he'd take the situation under advisement.
But Sci's been thinking since. Of course Santa is supposed to keep lists of the naughty and the nice, and perhaps grad students are not exempt, but his questions led Sci to think that Santa is quite well educated indeed. Have we been referring to Santa incorrectly all along?
Have we been incorrectly addressing our Christmas letters, by not referring to "Kris Kringle, PhD"?

(Sci can't help but think that getting a dissertation written would be an excellent job qualification for being Santa. Gotta have some good time management skills in that field.)
And if Santa had a PhD, what would it be IN?! Quantum toy making theory? Theoretical chimney engineering? Perhaps his thesis involved a title like "The Physics of Reindeer in Flight" with an appendix on red glowing noses and their efficacy in lighting foggy atmospheres? Or perhaps Santa is more pragmatic, and got his degree in Elven Sociology, or stuck with an MBA in Magical Creature Management? Sci isn't sure, but she thinks that we might not be giving Santa the credit he deserves. Perhaps, in his younger days, Santa toiled over the bench (or in a stable) working on the final mechanics of getting that dang sleigh in the air. Perhaps Santa spent his first three years or so of grad school near tears, consistently stuck at the top of the chimney and unable to make progress. And perhaps, Santa spent a hectic, terror filled Christmas season once in the past, desperately trying to get in that thesis on time.
So Santa, if you can relate, do keep Sci's situation under advisement. Sci wants a PhD for Christmas. I've been very good. I swear.

All Sci wants for Christmas is a PhD
All Sci wants for Christmas is a PhD
then Sci would have a Merry Christmas
She's waited for so long to say
"I'm finally done, call me 'Professor'"
Gosh, oh gee, how happy I'd be
if only I was a PhD possessor!
All Sci wants for Christmas is a PhD
All Sci wants for Christmas is a PhD
then Sci would have a Merry Christmas

8 responses so far

  • I hope your wish is granted!
    Although I have often found that after said wish is granted, either (1) it's not really what I want anymore or (2) I want something more.
    By the way, excellent photo of the Santa procession 🙂
    Maybe Santa's thesis was on how to prevent the collapse of the wavefunction eigenstates so that he can be in many places at the same time even after being observed.

  • Autistic Lurker says:

    Nice surprise the PhD; I too hope your wish is granted 🙂
    A. Lurker

  • Phil says:

    Re: wave function eigenstates. Perhaps, but given the continuing prohibition on actually observing Santa, I suspect he has not yet solved the problem.

  • jc says:

    mmmmmmmmmmm pumpkin truffles mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Does Dr. Santa need letters of reference?

  • Damn! I wish *this* post got into the OpenLab judging! I love it! I think I would have cried a little (in desperation and in relief that he might be able to get it for me) if I had that exchange with Santa prior to my defense. (If it helps, I'm willing to petition Santa on your behalf for this one.)

  • Scicurious says:

    ambivalent academic: Sci may or may not have had little sad grad student tears in her eyes when she asked. Maybe.
    And you'll just have to submit it for next year's, now won't you. 🙂
    jc: if you would be so kind, please send a letter of reference on Sci's behalf to:
    Kris Kringle, PhD, aka "Santa"
    1 Arctic Circle Pl.
    The North Pole, 01010
    All letters of reference on my behalf will be rewarded with extensive gratitude on my part. And I might share my truffles. But only if it's a REALLY good letter.

  • becca says:

    I... I thought I was the only one who had sang that song that way.

  • jc says:

    I write *really* good letters for truffles. The day I defended my dissertation, my BFF gave me 5 lbs of See's! They have seasonal pumpkin, damn they are good. My faves are the key lime and mocha. I ate one truffle per day until they were gone, kept the boxes in the freezer like the stash of gold aliquots they were.
    Throwing down my bestest letter for Santa. That fucker better have a PhD for you.

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