Here is something I thought you might get a kick out of today. The topic is not funny – not at all – but you might find my approach to it amusing.

A couple of years ago I had a ‘eureka’ moment when all of a sudden I understood the deep drive it would be possible to have to commit academic fraud. How did it happen? Let me give you some context.

We have had many homes in our married life and I have liked them all to be cozy and appealing. I am not at all good with color – I leave that to John – but I am good at balance. I would never look at an empty spot and say, “I need to buy that to fill that hole” but, I can determine where to best put what I own to make all as attractive as possible.

Once I have my ‘stuff’ in location, I never think of it again. Everything is where it should be and that is that. I am perfectly happy with no temptation to change anything, ever. All is perfection.

But, once a year comes that joyful but terrible moment when I have to put a green tree somewhere in that ‘perfect’ balance. And it is really, really hard for me. Nothing looks right anymore. If that tree were to stay, I couldn’t just tweak my home. Everything would have to change as it is all so interconnected.

And I just got it. That is what happens when someone has spent a lifetime concocting a perfect theory of – whatever. And along comes a new fact that totally throws it out of balance – disproves it, really. In many cases, what is deceitful human nature going to do?

If there is the opportunity, cover over the new fact and protect the theory. The alternative is just too distressing. I do not approve but I understand.

Let me give you another ‘homely’ example;

At one time we had neighbors who had a rental home. Unfortunately, one of their tenants broke the oven door. Also, unfortunately, the oven was old and there were no replacement parts available. More misfortune yet, they could not get a new oven the dimensions of the old one so they had to replace the shelving unit it was part of. Which meant they had to rearrange the cabinetry, then re-do the whole kitchen floor because of the ‘bald’ spots. In other words, they eventually had to renovate the entire kitchen because of that broken oven door.

How many academics are up to that basic reformulation when it might be possible just to hook that oven door back on with a little wire or something. (There is nothing broken in this kitchen; there is nothing broken in this kitchen…)

Do you see?

I do.

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