Pecking Order

Academic institutions have a rigid hierarchy. The effects of that hierarchy are everywhere. Most of those effects are not good, so when I see them, I mutter to myself,

Nothing like a pecking order to make you want to peck someone.

I had always attributed this saying to David Rakoff, from his book Don’t Get Too Comfortable. But recently, I was consoling someone at work about a public trip through the spanking machine, and I wanted to confirm that I was faithfully reporting the quote. Thanks to the magic that is Amazon “Look Inside,” I discovered I was not. Rakoff writes,

Nothing like being shown your low station in the pecking order to make you want to peck someone even lower.

Hmm. That actually is not as useful as my version, because the reality is that the worst peckers, so to speak, are of high station. To them I say, Peck You!, wherever you are.

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