Emer-Itis

Sci is working on about 3.5 hours of sleep right now. This makes her extremely punchy and odd. and possibly slightly crazy. And thus, she may not have been able to help herself in seminar today, and let out a very unlady-like snort in response to the following:
Introducer guy: I am happy to introduce Dr. Super Impressive Dude, Professor Emer-ITIS at Super Hot Uni…
“Emer-ITIS”?
I suppose Introducer Guy had only ever seen it written. The usual pronunciation is “Professor e-MER-itus”, which is super super distinguished professor who has a happy, happy position and paycheck for life. Usually older, white, and male.
Sadly, the poor Introducer guy made this kind of adorable gaffe in front of about 100 people, one of whom was a very punchy and sleep-deprived Sci, who can’t get over how hilarious this is. She has since been running around, asking everyone what kind of disease people think “emer-ITIS” is. Nominations so far:
Emer-ITIS (n):
1) A disease that results from too much tenure
2) The result of one too many MRIs.
3) When professors love science too much
4) An inflammation of the tenure (Sci’s personal favorite)
5) When your deadwood falls off
And now she asks the internets: what is your definition of “emer-itis”? Make Sci laugh this day!

9 Responses

  1. “Emer-ITIS”. Infection in (typically) elderly white males who spend too much time at universities. Possible causes include, but are not limited to; long hours of microscopy, prolonged hours of meeting exposure, excessive time surrounded by piles of paper products. Early symptoms can manifest as surliness, a propensity to want to hear oneself talk, senility and general crustiness. There is no known cure.

  2. If I understand correctly, an Emeritus is officially retired, but the department can’t tell him politely to go home and stay there, so he hogs an office somewhere in the corner, cuts clips from Scientific American and puts them in faculty mailboxes, eats free cookies at seminars, and asks incredibly outdated questions afterwards.

  3. In the advanced stages of emeritis, the patient wanders the halls having conversations with students who graduated 50 years ago.

  4. The saddest cases of emeritis are associated with LRP (lousy retirement plan) resulting in lack of vacation home &/or travel money that would draw the affected individual away from the ivory tower.
    Another symptom is exaggerated fondness for the way things were, back in the day.

  5. Emer-itis is a disease transmitted by Publicus immensus, a species of small parasitic worm that enters through the ear canal and eats out the grey matter of the brain. Primary symptoms include a loss of hearing, resulting from worms clogging the ears, and a corresponding increase in the volume of feverent speeches about 1) how much better things were in the old days 2) how easy today’s students/postdocs/scientists/faculty have it 3) how much better the cookies at seminars used to be 4) how publication standards have declined and/or 5) how academic dishonesty is on the rise. Rants about 3/5 of the above constitute sufficient evidence that primary emeritis is present.
    There is no known treatment of emeritis, and the disease will progress to secondary emeritis. Symptoms of secondary emeritis include fever, sore throat, malaise, weight loss, headache, meningismus and enlarged lymph nodes.
    Tertiary emeritis occurs between 1 and 20 years after initial infection, and involves paralytic dementia. Death from tertiary emeritis is slow, painful, and inevitable.
    Emeritis is commonly confused with syphilis, but is not sexually transmitted. Indeed, an inverse correlation between an active sex life and emeritis has been found. It is thought that exposure to certain common but benign sexually-transmitted viruses prevents the body from becoming entrapped in a worm-driven Th2 type immune paralysis, although a role for sex in decreasing susceptibility to the psychological maladies associated with emeritis cannot be excluded.

  6. I thought that emeritus/emerita faculty didn’t get a salary or benefits any more, but could be paid per course in some circumstances at some institutions. Sometimes they even get to keep their offices and serve on committees for no pay at all. So emeritis is sort of like an advanced case of adjunctivitis.
    Don’t drink the water is all I gotta say.

  7. Where I come from, emeritus faculty doesn’t get paid. They get desk space and can make use of the university’s name for publications and the like.
    The good thing for the faculty is that they get access to long experience, a vast collegial network and extra graduate advisory.
    The bad thing is, of course, that they get long experience, networking and advice, sometimes in an incredibly long-winded manner, at any time – night or day – and whether they want or need it or not.

  8. “emer-ITIS” symptoms include telling 100 year old stories for your distinguished seminar, forgetting half the details and their punchlines, sitting down in the audience to take a breather, asking for an overhead, whipping out a slide tray, “losing” the slide clicker in a coat pocket resulting in everyone looking for it, still talking 30 minutes over with 20 slides to go, using the laser to unknowingly slice and dice every member of the audience, glasses on/glasses off/glasses on/glasses off, and telling everyone in the room that they remind him of someone from Baltimore many moons ago who was a student working on some new fandango radio technology for the war.

  9. Mer = sea, so
    emer-ITIS is this dizzy feeling after swimming too long in the sea. You know, you’re trying to fall asleep and the whole room, the moon outside, your cat, your thoughts – become sort of wavy and make you nauseous🙂

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