The academic life aims at a certain kind of dignity. Certainly that's the impression you get if you hang out with academics. They take themselves and their place in society seriously, and are often to reluctant to laugh at a joke that's not sufficiently highbrow. The reluctance to laugh freely is always what made me suspicious of academics. What kind of person, I wondered, would give up one of life's greatest pleasures merely for the sake of some imagined social prestige?
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Mislavsky was different from his roommate in a few important ways. He didn't have the nervous fidgets of a typical maladjusted history student. His hair was styled and his clothes looked expensive and harmonious as if he actually knew how to dress and put effort into it. He was able to make eye contact and grip my hand firmly to shake it.