"SEVERAL YEARS ago, I was teaching at a local university when a colleague died suddenly. Other members of the department and I donned our tweed jackets and trooped en masse to the wake. Later, the university hosted a memorial service, and established a scholarship in this person’s name.
Soon afterwards, another colleague died. I kept waiting for an e-mail announcing plans to commemorate this individual’s contributions to the school.
No such e-mail arrived.
I approached my chairperson, who said, “I think the department’s a little burned out on death right now,” adding that I was free to represent the university at the wake.
This is a true story, not a fable. But it does contain a lesson. My first colleague to die that year was a full-time, tenured professor; the second was an adjunct instructor."