i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgThe vexing case of the vanishing desk

Two exams given today. Two sets of projects due today. Two lab assignments that need to be returned. The usual assorted clutter: tea mugs, telephone, overheads, pens, pencils, computer paraphernalia. Where, oh where, could my desk and work table be?

The not-so-mysterious case of the nonexistent research time

My prime suspect: 12+ hours of committee meetings and work in one week.

The slightly more mysterious case of the missing texbooks

It’s about time for “adopting” our text books for next fall, and the book I currently use has a new edition available, so I wanted to check it out. The pushy publisher lovingly sent 3 copies of the text to me a few months ago. They are still sitting shrink-wrapped on my office bookshelf. Or rather, they were.

For when I went to consider whether I wanted to use the new edition next semester, I discovered that all three copies of the book were missing. Maybe I reshelved them? Nope. Maybe I got annoyed and stuck them in my file drawer? Nope. I was puzzled.

Then I asked my next-door-neighbor colleague who also teaches the same class whether I could borrow his copy of the new edition. Funny – his copies are missing too. Wherever could 6 brand-new still shrink-wrapped copies of $100+ text books have gone?


  1. #1 Ivan
    February 16, 2009

    Many years ago now, but my undergrad chem prof said that textbook refs would come by and steal their competitors books to prevent you from selecting them.

    not sure if this was just urban legend, but I guess that could be one possibility?

  2. #2 Jenn, PhD
    February 17, 2009

    How bizarre! Any chance a student “borrowed” your copy of the texts? Or someone is trying to press things flat and looked for all the unused textbooks in the department as weights?! Does the library already have a copy of the new book?

  3. #3 FAW
    February 17, 2009

    At least yours arrived… Many moons ago, in the first semester, we wanted to check out a new edition for the course we’re teaching this semester. We’ve requested them twice, but nothing appeared. Desperate, I called our rep last saturday and she requested that they be sent immediatelyexpressasfastasspossible come monday to my home address. Wonder whether they’ll actually arrive this week… Since now the students have the new edition and we don’t.

  4. #4 Heather
    February 17, 2009

    And I thought I was the only adult (aside from elementary school librarians) who made references to Encyclopedia Brown!

  5. #5 RJ
    February 17, 2009

    Have you checked E-bay? 3 mint-condition textbooks on snowmobiling?

  6. #6 Tina
    February 18, 2009

    Oh my goodness, I used to love Encyclopedia Brown. Thank you for remembering him to me!

  7. #7 Lab Lemming
    February 20, 2009

    Have you considered instituting a meeting limit timer (say, 2 hours/week), and just walking out when it expires? You have far better things to do.

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