And the academic was visiting one of the most miserable places in Portugal for eccentricity. There, he meets João Manuel. João Manuel cannot conform with what he does, since all João knows is his trade, which was his father's trade, and that is upholstery.
João was trying to understand all and then he asks Michael: But, tell me, what is the main objective of yours with this thing of being an academic? My uncle even did a postgraduate course, I think I am sure.
Michael - I want to be a Chair.
João - A what?
Michael - A Chair.
João - Why don't you become a table? That would be more useful.
Michael - They don't have tables.
João - What do you mean they don't have tables? They don't have tables in Academia? How can you teach and read and study then? No tables?
Michael - No, you don't understand. They have tables.
João - Ah, so they do have tables! I knew. At least this. I may have only Primary School, but I was sure that they would have to have at least tables and chairs. Now, why chair and not table? Tables are bigger, more useful, and way more important, they would have to be.
Michael - You don't understand. They don't have tables. I must become a professor, a researcher, an instructor, a few other things or a Chair.
João - Hum. And what does a Chair do?
Michael - Most of the time, they sit at their table and study, I reckon.
João - Hum. And the table is not more important? You are called chair because you become one with the chair from so much sitting on it? I feel this way sometimes when I build my sofas: That I am one with them. I so much become them, that people may start saying I am a sofa some day, is it not? Then, the people who do upholstery may have a position called Sofa, right? I always admired people from Academia, those who succeeded in going all the way, is it not? So, that is modern reasoning or they have always become chairs with time?
Michael - I think the chairs have always existed.
João - Wouldn't it be better if you had another name? It does not pay more if you are called Professor?
Michael - It doesn't. Being a Chair is way more important.
João - Hum. The more you sit, the more you become, right?
Michael - Perhaps.
João - Interesting. So, you have been doing this for how long again?
Michael - I have been an academic now for twenty years.
João - And how far are you from becoming a Chair, may I ask?
Michael - Not sure. Perhaps many more years.
João - So, you spent twenty years doing this and perhaps soon you will be a Chair, which is your dream inside of Academia... .
(Michael leaves the place)
João speaks to his wife: Woman, you are not going to believe this! I was speaking to an academic today. I now think that we either should have a position called Sofa in Upholstery or they should be more reasonable and pay less to a guy who chooses being a Chair than they pay to a guy who can actually move and teach, such as a Professor. I am now happier with not having kept on studying. They do not seem to have much discernment.
Wife - Man, you respect academics or not?
João - I sure do.
Wife - Even if they become a Chair?
João - He said it is the most important thing a guy can do, like at least that is what he thinks. I believe him, I think. I would think professors are more important, however. I believe that they think it is the chairs, so that we should definitely respect chairs.
Wife - Man, I have been cooking for more than twenty years. I think I have just been promoted to Oven. Can you respect what I say and eat?