You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River
Yes, it's probably unbecoming, but, damn, I am the shizznazz of reference letters. Just finished writing yet another one for a student applying to grad school, and it's pretty darned good if I do say so myself. Yes, it helps to have good material (i.e., good students) about whom to write, but it's very common for even the best students to receive rather tepid letters because their referees say the same old tripe and seem only barely to know their charges. I'm lucky, almost all of the people for whom I've written letters over the years got what they wanted in some form or another. There's a great comfort in that. How many letters, I sometimes wonder, have I written over the years, for education programmes, for travel applications and work-abroad programmes, for tenure and promotion, for graduate schools and law schools and the like.... Nah, I mustn't think about such things. Perhaps I've missed my calling. Perhaps I should have been a shill, singing the praises of people for good, hard cash, instead of doing it altruistically as I do now. And, hey, in this day and age, who needs credibility anymore? Oh, yeah, I do. It's hard enough getting to sleep at night as it is.