Glamour is not what museum research is about. It involves a lot of staring at screens in dusty offices, cataloguing endless specimens of dried north American grasses that some fancy guy collected a century ago, and, as I found, clumsily carrying binders of photos from my office to another, where I would often be trapped by endless conversations that drifted from her time in the Guyana rainforest to the tunnels beneath the museum.
Working in a museum doesn’t require dull scholasticism, either. Two weeks in, eminent 80-year-old botanist Harold Robinson hobbled into my office and, after some talk, broke into a lighthearted rant about creationism, peppered with some expletives for extra flavor. He laughed, got up, and wandered back down the hallway.
Or there was the time my colleagues told me about POETS, which happens every Friday. Is it a poetry reading? I asked. Do you have guest speakers? Not really, they replied, it’s actually an acronym.
What’s it stand for? I asked.
One of them chuckled: “piss on everything – tomorrow’s Saturday!”