As a result of the resoundingly successful United Auto Workers’ strike negotiations, academic workers are cashing in the micro-sabbaticals the University of California added to their contracts. Though many report their three-day break was “still very stressful” and stirred only a “desire to get back to work,” one linguistics graduate student struck gold.
When Ivana Pejrejz touched down in Wug, Iowa, she assumed that analyzing Midwestern American English would be “as easy as PIE.” “In fact, I thought this would be boring,” she wrote in the abstract research paper recounting her corn field methods. “But then I dropped a thumbtack and a writing utensil at the store, and a tastefully stubbled man in a red checkered shirt picked up my [pɪ̞ns] for me. I couldn’t tell which one he meant until his loamy brown eyes locked onto mine! It was destiny!” Pejrejz rode in his pickup truck to the Christmas tree farm, where the man whispered the secret of the season in her ear. “The twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the Gregorian calendar,” she transcribed alongside numerous other proverbs in the dataset. “He is my life now. I’m dropping out — once I’m published, of course.” Though this discovery was made after the holiday had passed, Pejrejz is hopeful that her final work will be peer reviewed in time for next Christmas.