I recently discovered the terribly talented Canadian cartoonist Kate Beaton. Perhaps my favourite cartoon on her website is her idea of what academic life must be like. As a 21st Century academic, I can't quite express the disappointment I feel in doing my job fifty years too late. Imagine how wonderful it would have been to teach at a university back in the days when one could sit in a seminar room with a group of students, sucking ruminatively on a pipe and watching the smoke play through a shaft of sunlight before eventually wagging the stem at one of the students and saying, "Hum, yes, but what you've overlooked is...". Now that's academic life as it should be.
Damn you, anti-smoking laws - you've ruined the dream! And all because of your "cancer" and "life expectancy". Bah.