When I was a wee boy of 16 or 17 and R.E.M.'s Up
came out, I remember liking "Sad Professor"
but feeling sorry for the narrator. Every year when summer hits my thoughts turn to the song thanks to the line "Late afternoon, the house is hot" and this year for the first time I didn't feel pity with the guy - I identified with him. And yet at the same time I also don't feel sorry for him, or for myself. I don't know what it means, but it's a profoundly weird feeling.
(this is also the first year that it's occurred to me that despite the academic references the title could refer to one who professes - which just gives more depth to the line "everyone hates a sad professor," for both Stipe and myself)