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It doesn't surprise me that so many hard core skiers have grad school
backgrounds.  They both appeal to those with monastic inclinations.  There
has been some thought provoking introspection in recent threads.  Much
thought has been given to the big question about PhD work, why do it, is
it selfish, etc.  In my case it's been 30 years and I've given up on the
notion that anybody would care/need to know even if I figured it out.
Where to begin with grad school stories, there are so many, and so few
would be believed.  But here are a couple true ones (I swear), totally
unrelated and told becuase I am in snow withdrawal.

Story #1.  W was one of my grad school classmates.  He and his big ego
arrived from an Ivy league school where he had been an undergrad protege
of a theoretician who later won the Nobel prize.  He skipped the required
placement exams and most of the required first year courses.  Instead he
went right to Prof. P who had promised him a spot in his research group
and began cranking out quantum mechanical calculations for journal
articles.  He did this for 4 years and then disappeared.  After a month a
letter arrived from Paris, "Dear Prof. P, I have taken a post doc at the
Sorbonne.  I want to thank you for your hospitality and guidance while I
was in your research group.  I have bound my 41 published papers together
with a 5 page introduction.  Please submit it to the faculty and send my
PhD to: <address>.  With kindest regards, W."  Prof. P., BTW a very nice,
wise and modest man, convened a faculty committee and they unanimously
expressed their outrage.  "How dare he?  This is a university, etc."  The
debate went on for several hours and then somebody said, "Let's go to the
faculty handbook and see if it gives any guidance on this."  I suspect
this was pre-arranged by Prof. P.  They found the handbook and the
founding faculty in their wisdom had written a one sentence requirement
for a PhD.  "Candidates must present satisfactory evidence to the faculty
of their ability to conceive, execute, interpret, and publish original
research in their chosen field of study."  The degree was sent to Paris.
Prof. P won his Nobel Prize in the 90s.  W. remains successful, driven,
good but not great, and a total elohssa.

Story #2.  Daughter Kathleen was born when both Carolyn and I were halfway
through grad school.  Carolyn was doing theory and could stay home in the
evening and hook up to the computer using an early IBM terminal with a
receptacle for a telephone receiver.  I did experimental work so I was in
the lab 70+ hrs. per week.  Kathleen was a good observer and learned that
Daddy came home from the lab at midnight.  She would wake up and call
softly to me and I would go and get her.  We'd sit together on the couch
watching Johnny Carson or Tom Snyder (the best ever late night talk show)
and she would help me drink my beer - just a sip or two, and talk.  After
a little quality time I would kiss her goodnight, put her back in her
crib, and go to bed.

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