HOW THESE PAGES CAME TO BE-Page 4|
"Back to Reality"
I sent most of the specimens back to their respective museums as soon as I could after graduating. But I did keep the specimens I would need to finish my revision of Choerades, as well as a reference collection for Laphria s. str. and the new genera. Where necessary, I set up new loans for this material, made to me as a private individual.
Between 1986 and 1994 I had four postdocs at two universities. No two of these were remotely alike, and none had anything to do with robber flies. During this time I was too busy to work on my Choerades revision during the day, or to even dream about resuming work on Laphria s. str.. In the first postdoc I tackled a short revison--of the males of the scale insect genus Chionaspis, which in its way was every bit as demanding taxonomically as the work I had done on Laphria. In the second, I field tested insecticides. This position required that I master statistics, SAS, and several programs on a PC (which I had never used previously). It also required that I learn much about chemicals and their effects, both practically and theoretically. Further, it required that I spend a great deal of time in the field--I have never seen so many dairy farms up-close-and-personal before or since. And my next postdoc was even more demanding regarding travel--I spent all of my time on the road, living in three different states in two years, and once again seeing more of the outdoors than I had ever dreamed possible. And in a fourth--in yet another state--I taught entomology for the first time, and became involved in forensics. But by squeezing work in in the short but free spaces of time between jobs, I did manage to bring my revision of Choerades much nearer completion. I also added a section on phylogeny to my dissertation and got it accepted for publication, contingent on some minor changes. And I gave numerous talks on my work at the national meetings of the Entomological Society of America, and even published a few papers on other robber flies, that had long been postponed because of my dissertation.
This was in 1994. At that time I decided I was going to settle down. I had gotten married a year earlier, and needed a more sedate life style. I therefore decided to capitalize on my experience as an economic entomologist, and go into business for myself as a consultant. For the next several years I was too involved in setting up my new business to do much on robber flies. So I never made the changes in my dissertation, and it remains unpublished. And, to tell the truth, I am glad. For what happens by accident is often in our best interest. If I had published the material in the standard fashion I would not have it now to publish electronically. And electronic publication is henceforth the key to immortality. For in 50 years no one will read paper books.
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