How to tell what time of year it is

Just look at how your college professor is armed for war.

Alternatively, you could look at their haggard face and haunted eyes. I tried that on myself, but fortunately for you, I decide my visage was probably too horrifying. If you think photos of spiders are gross, you don’t want to see me this morning.


  1. says

    The old stand by, the red pen. One colleague of mine who did a semi-regular stint teaching a uni course always used a green pen. He felt red pens were too intimidating and his comments would be better received if they were in green. These days when I correct students writing it is done on the digital version sent to me via email. Grammar and spelling are corrected in red and errors of fact or incorrect conclusions highlighted in green with commentary in blue. It takes a bit more time but when you are working with people whose first language is not English or whose English skills are poor it is useful to give them some guidance to improve that skill as well.

  2. ANB says

    Good point, garydargan. That’s very similar to what I used to do as a teacher of writing, as I mostly had English language learners.

  3. StonedRanger says

    Soooo, is this your attempt at showing the pen is mightier than the sword? You must be a bad ass, most warriors only carry one sword, and you got three pens. Blood will flow today!!!

  4. Doc Bill says

    My pocket protector was always fully loaded. What I really needed was a shirt that was a pocket with sleeves. That would have been way cool! I carried a red pen, green pen (because) and a black pen, mechanical pencil, perpetual calendar card from Popular Science magazine, and periodic chart. I also carried a little Casio calculator that worked in decimal, binary, octal and hex.

    Yes, I was ready to rock AND roll!

  5. blf says

    Heh… Back in the day when I (for a short while) bothered with a pocket protector, it was loaded with a mechanical pencil, a ball-point pen (blue ink, probably, perhaps black), and a red pen of some sort. No slide rule — almost impossible to find by then — and my calculator was too bulky.

    Within a relatively short amount of time, I settled on what is still largely what I carry: A fountain pen with blue-black ink (not blue or black ink, but the mixture), a very small notepad (typically graph / blank rather than lined) or folded sheet(s) of previously-used paper (usually printed / used on just one side), and, sometimes, a red pen of some sort (very rare for me to carry one now). Plus, in more modern times, a mobile “smart”-phonesupercomputer (albeit in a different pocket) with a wide variety of apps — just one game and no “shopping” apps.

    And my trusty Swiss army knife (a model with a corkscrew, scissors, and magnifying glass — very probably the three tools I use the most!), securely attached to my keychain. There’s usually a ball-point pen with black ink somewhere in my coat or whatever, solely because fountain pens or blue-black ink don’t “work” in some situations (e.g., carbon-less copy forms).

  6. birgerjohansson says

    A three-pen professor will be able to go super-sayan!
    (I have watched too many abridged parodies by Team Four Star or BYTEabridged. I think of University of Austin as where one-episode villain sidekicks were dumped. No Freeza or Cell to be seen)
    davidc1 @ 8
    Are you talking about the very same Eric Metaxas whose ‘Christmas in New York’ was thoroughly ridiculed by God Awful Movies? As distinct from the author.
    If they are one and the same it would be hilarious.

  7. says

    Professor fashion tip! Sweater vests allow you to continue to wear the shirts into whose pockets your red pens have leaked! (Although a couple of my colleagues argue that the red stains down one’s front should not be concealed, because their exposure puts the students on serious notice.)

  8. madtom1999 says

    My Dad was a Uni Prof and his superpower was his ability to melt biro ink in his breast pocked. I could never work out if he just stole pens from his students so they sabotaged ones and left them for him to steal or just some weird natural ability but he’d ruing shirts on a regular basis.

  9. Doc Bill says

    @7 BLF

    Oh, if we’re talking Fully Loaded, I used to carry my HP-15 on my belt in its leather case. I still have it and it still works!

    Yes, 35-year old Swiss Army knife (two blade, corkscrew, flat and phillips combination bottle opener/can opener tool and awl). I used it almost every day opening panels to the computer systems to reconfigure things. Bought it in Grindelwald.

  10. brightmoon says

    My thing was purple Flairs , if I couldn’t get purple I’d use orange, shocking pink or turquoise . If I had to do something official I used a blue Flair . Of course this was back in the day .( late 60s early 70s) . I’ve become boring since then, just a black ballpoint( sigh) . I still have a love affair with my calculator as I’m horrible at arithmetic. I do the thinking and it does the math . It works but I don’t carry it with me.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Davidc1 @ 10
    I had to go through the episode again to pick up the reference, but, yes, he is the radio host, trying – and failing – to do stand-up comedy in the horror described in “GAM 279 Christmas in New York with Eric Metaxas” .
    In the beginning, EM is running through the streets while extras standing along the path pretend to recognise him, shouting “aren’t you Eric Metaxas?”