a first meditation on supervillainry

When I get dissatisfied with my job, I ponder the nature and attractiveness of a new job.  Supervillain.  And I don’t mean to create the wrong impression among those reading by saying that.  I like my job, quite a bit.  For the large majority of the time I spend at my job, I find it an interesting and fulfilling experience, all the things that anyone might want from or hope for in a job.  And we even have decent coffee on campus now, with the Starbucks franchises opening up in various places.

But no matter how good the job, there will always be those days when things don’t go well.  When we don’t have time for breakfast and traffic is just awful.  We get to the front of the line at the cafe but they’ve just sold the last coffee and are going to have to make more.  There is one parking spot left but the people on either side have parked too close to the lines and there’s no way to fit even my small car into the remaining space.  The students just won’t settle down and we don’t have the voice or the energy to talk over them.  We remember just as we’re walking into the office that there was one thing we absolutely had to do over the weekend but it’s still in our bag and the person to whom we promised it is standing at our office door.

These are the days that I think, perhaps there is something to recommend supervillainry.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know that supervillainry comes with many associated problems .  There are the thorns in the side:  Bond, Solo and Kuryakin, Reuter, all those who have nothing better to do than to get in the way and cause angst and delay.  There are the problems of insufficiently competent subordinates.  However, these problems have been considered by others, for instance the wise words at http://www.eviloverlord.com

But then, as they always do, the practical difficulties involved in the transition from my current profession, mild-mannered teacher of mathematics to the interested young adult, to supervillain, and it will not be easy.  When I last sat down and made the list, during a meeting in which I should have been paying more attention, I came up with: financing (I sincerely doubt that my savings and salary would provide sufficient seed money to do, well, much of anything along this line), recruitment (where does one advertize for henchmen, lackeys and minions), lair location (I don’t’ think I can successfully become a supervillain working from my desk in the corner of the bedroom), and objective.

Yes, admittedly all of the others are practical impediments that each cause their own special difficulties, but it is that last one, objective, that stops me dead in my tracks.  It’s all fine and good to say, I want to be a supervillain, until I take the next step and say, because.  Because of the money?  If money had been an objective of mine, I would have chosen a different career in the first place, in which the possibility of financial reward was significantly greater than what I do now.  The same applies to status and fame.  Alas.   And I don’t have a great desire to tell others what to do.  Not that anyone would listen anyway.  I do occasionally joke about ruling by fear, but there’s always too much laughter, half of it coming from me.

It’s a lot of effort and sacrifice becoming a supervillain.  If there’s one thing we’ve learned from literature and the movies, the likelihood of some possibly deforming physical injury is quite high, and it seems to be quite a busy job.  And so I’ll continue to ponder that basic question of objective, of a sufficiently compelling reason, of a goal that consumes me that can only be reached by taking the path of supervillainry.  If nothing else, it will continue to give me something to do during meetings.

~ by Jim Anderson on 10 November 2013.

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