Upon retiring from the hallowed halls of higher education, some university professors do independent research, write books, travel to exotic places around the world, or go fishing.

Occasionally, however, one will throw tradition to the wind to do something he's wanted to do all his life, but never got around to it.Take Gene S. Jacobsen for example.

After 39 years as an educator, the University of Utah professor emeritus packed up his automobile and wife and went to Nashville, Tenn., to learn the fine art of auctioneering.

Jacobsen says his main goal in going was to learn the auctioneer's chant. But to his chagrin and disappointment, he learned, after enrolling in school, that the responsibility for the chant was his. The school primarily provided instruction in the legal aspects of auctioneering.

Completely undaunted, he studied hard, passed the rigid required examination and, after leaving Nashville, began practicing the chant.

The result? His supportive wife, Barbara, he says, "was initially fairly normal. But after listening to me for two months, now questions both her own mental stability, as well as mine."

Will the retired professor launch a new career as an auctioneer?

"It's yet to be determined," said Jacobsen. "So far, the cost has exceeded the income: $425 for tuition; $490 for housing in Nashville; car expenses and food, plus the cost of a loud speaker.

"Income to date - zilch. But fun, bushels of it."