Hung Over Again

I can still taste the beer.

I say this is a whole new kind of tired not because of the physical effects of my hangover. Believe me, that’s not new at all. What’s new is that I’m tired of this kind of tired. I’m tired of being fuzzy for the first half of each day. I’m tired of feeling like hell and looking out at a class full of students, wondering how I’ll be able to pull off a lecture. I’m tired of a routine of drinking that I no longer enjoy, but feel compelled to do anyway. And I’m tired of throwing away my career a pint at a time.

At this point, you’re probably thinking that this essay is another self-indulgent litany bred by our current culture of confession. And that’s fine. Maybe it is. But there’s a point to what I’m saying that bears directly upon the world of academe. —“James Waite”
Hung Over Again (Chronicle)

I don’t know what I think about this article… it certainly got my heart pounding, but someone who can write so eloquently about his problem, yet who still feels helpless about it, is probably in some degree of denial.

Seton Hill University doesn’t have a reputation as a party school, which is something that attracted me to it… it’s hard to do my job when the students come to class hungover or drunk — and if that does happen here at SHU, the students are discreet enough that it hasn’t yet disrupted my classroom.

But this article examines what happens when the professor is the one going through the day in a haze. I personally don’t drink; I never did in college because I was too busy, and I don’t now because I’m too busy. But I have gone to class sick and sleep-deprived — sometimes from cleaning up baby vomit (good excuse) and sometimes from becoming obsessed about a software bug (bad excuse). I really miss programming, but I really haven’t had time for it at all (especially now that scholarship in both weblogs and game studies has taken off — there’s too much for me to keep up on).

As for the hungover professor, I think some students would jokingly say, “Well, as long as he gives As, that’s fine with me,” but “Waite” admits his ability to teach is suffering. Hmm… maybe the next time I’m really ill, I’ll call in sick. I tell myself that if I cancel a class, both the students and I will have even more stress trying to catch up. And with two small kids at home, it’s often more relaxing for me to come in to the office — but maybe that’s just the workaholic in me making excuses.

At any rate, I hope Waite writes again with an update.