Today’s group meeting was progressing as usual: someone at the board leading us through a derivation of some sort, everyone listening, or at least nodding as if they were listening, every few lines someone asks a question …

But then this happened as a postdoc was leading us:

Postdoc: So P is real and Q is real. OK, good. Everything is real.

Advisor: Keepin’ it real.

Say what? Where has arguably the whitest man in america picked up the phrase “keepin’ it real” from? I realize that no one race can claim its own language and that there are regional vernacular differences as well as socio-economic influences on various dialects, but my advisor is too white and too comfortably upper middle class to have ever heard the phrase, “keepin’ it real,” or more importantly to know what it means when not applied to complex variables. I’m befuddled.

B ut he fancies himself funny, which means by default that everyone else under his direct authority fancies him funny, or more accurately acts like they do (yours truly not excluded). So I winced and laughed, bringing me one day closer to graduation.