You can’t play this game unless you are of a certain age. Past 40, probably. But if you’re there, let me ask you this: who have you turned into?
I’m not either of my parents, though I have certainly heard both of them speaking out of my mouth. Of the two of them, I’m more like my father. But apparently someone else was an even stronger influence:
I have become my dissertation director.
There are some obvious differences. We’re from different parts of the country, and I’m about a foot taller, and we don’t work in the same area any more.
But in personality and attitude, we are the proverbial peas in a pod. Bored by small talk. Happy to discuss, for hours, nitpicking details of fundamental research topics like phonetics and manuscripts. Highly detail-oriented in general. Surprisingly goofy sense of humor under the serious exterior. Generally frugal but willing to spend money where it counts; i.e., quality lasts longer, and travel is important. Perceived by students as either terrifying or irrelevant, depending on temperament and interests; gradually appreciated by students who genuinely care about learning. Not interested in being popular, with students or anyone else. Tough as old boots (her, not me, alas).
I’m a bit surprised to discover that I’ve turned into her (probably lots of other people realized it long ago), but relieved that I’m my dissertation director and not my mother.