Field geologists do a lot of walking, climbing fences, fording creeks, running from domestic animals, and other activities that take their toll on personal experience. Even freshly washed clothes, an uncommon garb, are seldom ironed and usually bear numerous stains and battle scars. The geologist is invariably sunburned and thirsty, and in situations where showers are a rarity, is commonly sweaty and dirty, as well. ... In Victorian times the same problem [geologists not looking like scholars] is said to have existed. ...
Friday, December 28, 2012
What’s It Like In Your Field?
Do you have to dress up to go to work? The first words I read this morning were from the last essay in The Tenth Muse. Here is the author describing the look of field geologists at work:
Didn’t Thoreau say we should beware of enterprises requiring new clothes? When I read these words of Parker's, I feel a rush of warm fellow feeling for the sweaty geologists, and I remember a different group of unlikely scholars, the philosophers, and how at home I felt with them after realizing that—unlike the economics and political scientists faculty, who stood around between classes discussing their retirement benefit packages—philosophers outside the classroom were still chasing down questions about, say, the mental life of dogs. These, I thought then, are my people! They also tended to wear the same rumpled clothes day after day.
Writers who work in their pajamas, truck farmers with grimy knuckles, artists whose clothes attract paint drippings as a magnet attracts iron filings—in their fields of endeavor, the work is what counts, not the appearance of the worker. These are my people!