Tag Archives: marriage

Man In the Mirror ©

This column is a beloved favorite by many, including yours truly. Enjoy!!

 

“Surely,” thought Rip, “I have not slept here all night.”
–Washington Irving, “The Story of Rip Van Winkle,”1819.

My wife, Emmaline and I recently rented the old mountain cabin deep in the
Smoky Mountains where we’ve stayed nearly every year for the past 25 years.
Part of the reason we love going to the cabin is that it looks just as it did the first
time we stayed there back in 1989. It’s how we get away from the world. The
cabin is decades old. Beside the cabin flows a boulder-strewn stream that
begins somewhere high in the tree-covered Appalachians.
The front door of the long, narrow two-room cabin is always unlocked when we
arrive. A key, with a note from the landlady, is always on the table in the
kitchen/living room. After we have unloaded the car, unpacked the suitcases,
and hung clothes in the cabin’s only closet, Emmaline and I have our annual
encounter. It’s about who is going to go shopping.
In the early years I always drove the 10 miles back to the super market on the
main highway for groceries and supplies. Then sometime around the beginning
of the women’s lib movement, I spoke up. I said that grocery shopping should
be a shared activity. That led to negotiations that led to the creation of our
annual encounter. Each year Emmaline and I resolve the grocery-shopping –
duty-problem with a game of “Rocks, Paper, Scissors.”
I won this year’s encounter, and as Emmaline drove away, I headed for the
couch to take a nap. Less than 15 minutes later something woke me, and I
walked back to the bathroom.
I glanced in the mirror above the wash basin. and let out a yip. Instead of my
face in the mirror, there was an old man with a long beard. He wore a tri-corner
hat. He winked at me.
I fled to the living room.
There, standing on the table, was the same diminutive old Dutchman. He wore
an outlandish costume—like one that 18thcentury author Washington Irving
described in his famous short story, “Rip Van Winkle.” Here is Irving’s description
of the man I saw standing on the cabin table:
“He was a short square-built old fellow, with thick bushy hair, and a grizzled
beard. His dress was of the antique Dutch fashion – a cloth jerkin strapped round
the waist – several pair of breeches, the outer one of ample volume, decorated
with rows of buttons down the sides, and bunches at the knees.”
The little old Dutchman beckoned me to follow, hopped nimbly off the table,
and trotted out the front door
I stumbled out onto the wooden deck. The sun was still where it had been when
I lay down for my nap.
I heard what sounded like a gong from the river below, and walked to the edge
of the deck. There on the river bank was my knee-breeched, silver-buttoned
little Dutchman. And lined up along the bank were a dozen more little
Dutchmen, dressed just like him. Each held a small inflated inner tube and a
beer stein . Lying on the river bank was a big, inflated truck inner tube. On a flat
rock beside the inner tube stood a large beer stein.
I waved to the little Dutchmen, and they all raised their steins. I took the
stone stairs two at a time down to the river. I picked up my stein full of foamy
root beer, and hopped on the big inner tube. With a whoop, I pushed off into
the stream.
My Dutchmen friends whooped, hopped onto their inner tubes, and
pushed off into the stream. Then we all lay on our backs, trailed our hands in the
water, and floated merrily, merrily down the stream.
I awoke on the couch—this time for real—to the sound of Emmaline
calling for me to help unload the groceries. Dazed, I made my way to the front
door and looked out. I half expected to see 25-years-younger Emmaline
standing beside our old brown 1987 Plymouth. But fortunately I saw my 2014
Emmaline—looking prettier than ever—walking toward the cabin carrying a bag
of groceries. Then, from far away, I heard the joyful whoops of little Dutchman
voices as my new found friends floated down the mystic stream. If you don’t
believe me, go ask Rip Van Winkle.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dinner At My House

Just a random dinnertime musing from the mind of an ol’ geezer. Enjoy!!

Emmaline (my wife) watches late morning TV cooking shows while I’m in the kitchen putting the TV dinners in the microwave.

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Flower With the Thorns

My nephew in Boise forwarded the piece below to me.  It is funny enough to send along to you.

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple’s house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.
The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, ‘Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly.’
The other man said, ‘What is the name of the restaurant?’
The first man thought and thought and finally said, ‘What’s the name of that flower you give to someone you love? You know, the one that’s red and has thorns.’
‘Do you mean a rose?’

‘Yes, that’s the one,’ replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, ‘ Rose , what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?’

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Eloise Cleans Up ©

 

Eloise Simpelkins made herself a pile of money by taking advantage of the fastidiousness of rich people. Folks in Letongaloosa generally disapprove of taking advantage. Letongaloosans feel that taking advantage is not neighborly, and Letongaloosa is a neighborly town.

But people seem to approve of the way Eloise cleaned up financially. She built an enterprise that took advantage of the foibles of people like those who live in La Mancha, the posh section of town where the streets are winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile.

Eloise Simpelkins is plain—beginning with her name and continuing with her squat chunky figure, her thick unruly hair, her flat face, her squinty eyes, and her pug nose.

From her looks people conclude that Eloise isn’t smart enough to pound sand in a rat hole. Besides that, the Simpelkinses lived on the wrong side of the tracks. In reality Eloise is very bright. But she didn’t do well in school because of her looks—teachers treated her as if she were as dumb as she looked–and because she had to work long hours after school and on weekends with her mother who was a cleaning lady for people who lived in La Mancha.

When Eloise finished high school there were no college scholarships or government loans for academic underachievers from the wrong side of the tracks. And there were no good jobs for girls who looked like they weren’t smart enough to pound sand in a rat hole.

So Eloise became, like her mother, a full time cleaning lady for people who lived in La Mancha. Things were slow at first, but soon Eloise had all the work she could handle. She cleaned while groups of La Mancha women played bridge, mahjongg, and chatted over cups of coffee.

One day Eloise overheard a group of women complaining. They hated cleaning bathrooms on the mornings that their cleaning ladies were coming. The women didn’t want the cleaning ladies to see the cruddy toilets, the toothpaste-encrusted washbasins and mirrors, and the gunk-spattered showers in the bathrooms of their slovenly husbands and teenagers.

“I’d just die if Ermaline saw Reginald’s poopy toilet,” one of them said.

That gave Eloise her big idea. She would become a cleaning lady’s pre-cleaning lady. To get jobs all Eloise had to do was convince the women of La Mancha that she would be as discreet about their husbands’ filthy bathrooms as their doctors were about their medical conditions, and their lawyers were about the flaws in their prenuptial agreements.

The women of La Mancha paid Eloise handsomely—much more handsomely for her discretion than for her bathroom cleaning efforts. Soon Eloise was making as much as a cleaning lady’s pre-cleaning lady as she would have made as a school teacher with a masters degree.

Eloise was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. Intuition told her that wealthy women in other upper middle class enclaves around the state and the nation were similar to women who lived in La Mancha. Research proved her right. She saw an opportunity to set up a nationwide franchise business that featured discretion-based pre-cleaning lady services.

Eloise is now CEO of a highly successful nationwide cleaning lady’s pre-cleaning lady enterprise. And business is about to get better. Eloise went undercover in one of her Eastern seaboard franchises. She was working as a cleaning lady’s pre-cleaning lady. A couple of women were playing gin rummy.

One said, “Can I confide in you?”

The other said, “Always, dear.”

The first said, “Tell me if I’m crazy, but I’m getting uncomfortable about having the pre-cleaning lady see George’s filthy bathroom.”

“You’re not crazy,” said the second woman, “I’ve been worrying about that for a month or so.”

Eloise hurried back to her company headquarters in Letongaloosa and started work on a new business plan. Next month she’ll launch a nationwide franchise operation that features a very, very discreet and ultra pricy pre-cleaning lady’s pre-cleaning lady service.

Next up: a nationally franchised service that provides come-to-your-home hair dressers who prepare women for their appointments with their hair dressers. -30-

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Eloise & the Dark Stranger ©

 

A slick Basque conman tried to marry Eloise Simpelkins, and take her for millions of dollars, but an old friend from Letongaloosa showed up just in time to save her.
It all happened at an exclusive private club on east 55th Street in New York City. A romantically smitten Eloise Simpelkins was having dinner at the Toure Club with what she thought was a handsome Spaniard . He called himself the Marques de San Selmo. His real name was Zigor Ordoki, the slickest con artist the Pyrenees had ever produced.
Eloise Simpelkins, is founder and chief executive officer of a highly successful home cleaning enterprise, and until she fell for the phony marques, was a very level headed woman.
Eloise was born in Letongaloosa on the wrong side of the tracks. She spent the early years of her life cleaning houses in La Mancha, the posh section of town. She was as plain in speech and looks as the phony marques was handsome and eloquent. As an entrepreneur she had turned an astute observation about the fastidiousness of upper middle class women into a highly successful cleaning business.
A friend introduced Eloise to the phony Marques at a charity ball. As they danced, the hard-headed entrepreneur who had never had time for romance, melted like a marshmallow. The phony Marques had pursued a number of wealthy single women. He chose Eloise because she looked to him like the richest and the dumbest.

Now, it was show time, and as they sat after dinner in the Toure Club, the Marques was ready to spring the trap.
“My darling Ale-low-eez, I have fallen madly in love with you. Will you do me the honor of being…” At that moment his elaborately planned marriage scheme was interrupted. A tall long-faced man with big ears and a loopy smile called out to Eloise from across the quiet dining room.
“Eloise Simpelkins, is that you?,” The man was Blair Trimert , a dear friend from Letongaloosa. Blair stood and threaded his way to Eloise’s table.
“Blair Trimert!” cried Eloise, “why it’s been years.” They embraced.
Eloise and Blair were children together in Letongaloosa. After they grew up Eloise made made a fortune in business, and Blair inherited a fortune from the Basque parents who had adopted him as a baby.
Blair spoke fluent Basque.
“Please join us,” said Eloise, for whom courtesy was an inbred quality. She introduced the Marques as a dear, dear friend from Spain. Blair guessed the rest of the story from her eyes and voice tones. The Marques masked his frustration with a practiced smile, but his eyes were cold as flint.
A waiter arrived and they ordered after dinner drinks. As Eloise and Blair were catching up on each other’s lives, the Marques’s cell phone rang. He took it out.
“Excuse me,” he said. “I have to take this.” He stood and turned away from the table.
“Yes,” he said in English. Then the Marques spoke again in Basque.
“Ez dago arau bat izan da.” (“There’s a slight complication”).
He listened and then said “Relax. Ez dut hau ergelak uso behatzak bidez irrist utz du. Bakarrik hartuko du ogun bat, hor, da dena. Gogora tu oraigdik dirutza bat ogin onderen, hemen duga.”
(Relax. I’m not going to let this stupid little pigeon slip through my fingers. It will take another day, that’s all. Just remember, we’re after a fortune here.”
Blair understood perfectly the words and what they meant. He squeezed Eloise’s hand and whispered, “This guy is speaking Basque. He’s some kind of conman who is trying to get your money.”
Blair grabbed the cell phone from the to the Marques’s hand.
“Zu pukas, langun!,” he growled. (“Your’re busted, Dude!”).
Without another word, the phony Marques fled, knocking people out of his way as he ran from the Toure Club. The police caught up with him a few minutes later.
After that Blair moved back to Letongaloosa, and Eloise, still single, opened five more franchises on the West Coast.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Too Much Television

We have a 10-year-old dachshund named Ginger.  Both my wife and I spoil her.  She sleeps on the bed at night. She sleeps between us on the couch (on my wife’s   purple knit comforter) while we watch TV.  And sometimes she snores.  I think we watch too much TV.

 

Dr. Larry Day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coping Advice For Men

 

When you were a youngster and your Mom gave you a task, you coped by dawdling, delaying and hiding. Eventually you she caught up with you and forced you to do the task. But you did it as slowly and dawdlingly as possible. That always hacked Mom off.

Now you are grown up. You have a wife or significant other. You realize that the boyhood task-completion strategy didn’t work. Your mom was on you every two minutes, and finally she stood over you and supervised the work.

As a mature individual you have learned better than to follow that boyhood strategy. You have adopted a new one. Now you jump in and get the task done as fast as possible. You’ve learned to your chagrin that strategy doesn’t work either. If you do it fast, you’ll have to do it over. Guaranteed. So here’s some counter-intuitive advice: Go back to you boyhood strategy, but with a slight adjustment.

Accept the task cheerfully. Then—this is the counterintuitive part— you do the task slowly and methodically—in other words, you dawdle. If you take 20 minutes to do a task that your wife can do in five, your pace is about right. She will assume that, because of the time you are taking that you are being thorough. Even if she inspects and finds something amiss, you’ll get credit for giving the task your full attention. That’s the thing. You respected the task and the task master. She might even pat you on the head.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Meet Hanger Duggins ©

Hanger Duggins love of agricultural aircraft started one March
day when he spied a JN-4 Jenny gliding low over “Ol’ Man”
Connolly’s potato field. Hanger had a spare nickel (a rare
occurrence) and was walking into town to buy a soda when he
spotted the airplane. Craning his neck, Hanger watched as a faded
red bi-plane swooped low to spray fertilizer on a field of potatoes. It
was then he knew he wanted to be a real-life superhero and learn to
fly.
After that day, when Hanger walked into town from the country,
he always hoped to catch a glimpse of the crop-dusters. Standing
still and gawking up at the sky, late one afternoon, Hanger didn’t
notice an old man approach. The man pulled off his hat and wiped
sweat from his brow.
“Watcha lookin’ for son?”
Startled, Hanger looked down. “I was hopin’ to see the ol’ Jenny, is
all.”
“Sorry, son. Those crop duster planes only come around once a
year.” Replacing his hat on his head, the man said, “Name’s Bruce
Connolly. I own this here farm.”
“Hanger. Hanger Duggins.”
“Hanger, huh? Nice to meet ya. Live round here?
“Up the way. Out by the Haskinses.”
Come fall we could use a hand harvestin’ these spuds.”
Hanger spent the next five summers planting and digging with “Ol’
Man” Connolly and his crew. Every year, he worked in the fields and
watched for Jenny to come buzzing through the sky. Every time he
saw her, the urge to fly like the superheroes had read about as a kid
swept over him. He read books about flying went to and all the
picture shows that had planes in them.
John, the bi-plane pilot, whom Hanger met when he was fueling his
plane, regaled him with stories of flying Stearmans as a U.S. Army
pilot. As time went on John showed him how to work on an ol’ girl
like Jenny.
Hanger was a pretty decent airplane mechanic by the time he
graduated high school. Then he joined the Air Force and spent the
next 30 years at various Air Force Bases repairing first piston –driven
aircraft, then jets. One of his favorite stations was Mitchel AFB in New
York. On his days off he’d go to LaGuardia to relax, eat a burger at
the airport diner, and watch the planes come in.
One day while he sat there sprinkling salt on his French fries, Hanger
saw something beautiful and miraculous. She took his breath away.
He felt like he had when he first laid eyes on the bi-wing airplane
years before. Hanger wanted to learn everything he could about
the girl with the emerald eyes and fiery curls who walked toward him
carrying two suit cases.
He approached, fighting to keep his voice light, “Hello, miss. Let me
help you with those bags?”
Merry, an attorney with a large New York law firm said later that she
thought that the young man was quite handsome. He was also
courteous. She accepted his offer, and they walked out of the
terminal together.
That encounter turned into a year’s worth of dates. Countless
bouquets of flowers from Hanger led, eventually, to wedding vows
and to two sons, Paul and Tommy. Air Force mechanic Hanger
Duggins and his family were stationed in Canada, England, the
Netherlands, and many bases in the United States. For Hanger it was
the life of the caped-crusaders and heroic aviators of his youthful
dreams.
After nearly two decades of traveling the world, Hanger and Merry
decided to put down roots in the Midwest. The two boys, Paul and
Tommy are attorneys and are following in the footsteps of their
mother and have a family law practice in New York. Merry e-mails
advice when she isn’t volunteering at the courthouse, as a guardian
ad-Litem, and a kind word and a smile for kids who need it.
And “Old Man” Duggins, as he is now affectionately known, is
supervising mechanic at the Letongaloosa Regional Airport. He
oversees a crew of young whippersnappers and regales them with
tales of his travels as a young Airman. And even though he may be
old, Hanger is learning to fly an ol’ Ag-Cat he affectionately calls
“Jenny,” and on weekends he soars through the air like the comic
book characters he loved so much.
-30-

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

They Beam It Into Your Cortex ©

 

 

Back in 1994 somebody at the New York Times said:

Frankly I don’t give a tinker’s damn how we distribute our

information; I’ll be pleased to beam it to your cortex.”

 

I was standing at the heavily laden buffet table in Healthy Hanks

International House of Hash. It was All-You-Can-Eat-for-$4.95

night. I was loading my plate with a heaping helping of Hanks

Healthy Hash Browns™ when the beam hit my cortex.

A tiny green LED turned on inside my head. Then I heard a

“ding, ding.” It was the kind of sound your computer makes

when you receive an e-mail.

“Darn!” I said.

“What?” asked my wife. Emmaline was standing next to me

at Healthy Hanks buffet table. She was putting three baby

carrots, three pieces of broccoli, and a small slice of turkey on

her plate. Healthy Hank always makes money when Emmaline

comes to All-You-Can-Eat night.

“The New York Times has just beamed some information to

my cortex,” I said.

“Well just ignore it,” said Emmaline.

“I can’t. That little light they installed in my head is blinking,

and a little bell keeps going ‘ding, ding,’” I said.

“Can’t you turn it off until you finish eating?” asked Emmaline.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“They must not have perfected that part of the technology

yet. I guess they figured they’d perfect the cortex-beaming

technology first, and worry about customer reception issues

later.”

“Well why in the world did you sign up the service in the first

place?”

“It took fifteen years and cost the New York Times a billion

dollars to perfect cortex-beaming information technology,” I said.

“The least I could do was to subscribe to the service. With the

New York Times Cortex Beam Information System™ they beam

the latest news straight to my cortex,” I said.

“And I have to eat alone so that you can find out that Barack

Obama has just named Billy Crystal to be U.S. ambassador to

Botswana.”

“I’ll just step outside. I’ll be right back.”

“Go to the men’s room.”

“I might lose the signal.”

“@#$%^&,” said my wife. She rarely swears, but Emmaline

hates to eat alone. I headed out the door to download my

cortex-beamed information from the New York Times.

I walked toward Emmaline’s new car, a Lexus 300XTC.

Just as I started to activate New York Times beamed-to-my

cortex newsline, a gruff voice spoke behind me.

“Don’t turn around. I have a gun,” said the voice.

“Don’t shoot,” I said.

“Give me your wallet and the keys to your Lexus,” said the

voice.

“It’s not my Lexus,” I said.

“I saw you park,” said the voice. “Now give me the keys.”

“It’s my wife’s car. She’s back at the restaurant. I don’t have

the keys.”

“Jerk!” said the voice. Whack! There was a blow on the

head. I was out before I hit the asphalt.

When I woke up my pockets were turned inside out and my

wallet and watch were gone. I stood up. There was an eggsized

lump on my head. I was leaning against Emmaline’s car

when I noticed a little green light and heard a “ding, ding,” in my

head.

I made my way back to Healthy Hanks. Emmaline was

standing near the cash register tapping her foot.

“I got mugged,” I said. “They whacked me on the head and

took my wallet.”

“Oh darling,” said Emmaline, and hugged me.

The police came and I told them what happened. I refused

to go to the emergency room. My head ached, but I didn’t want

anyone to know I was seeing green lights and hearing “ding,

dings,” in my head. I was afraid they’d take me straight to the

booby hatch.

When we got home Emmaline asked, “Well, was the news

worth getting mugged for?”

“What news?” I asked

“The cortex-beamed information from the New York Times.

Was it important?”

“Bless you,” I shouted. “Bless your heart!”

I had forgotten about the cortex beam! What joy! They

wouldn’t drag me off to the booby hatch after all.

I activated the New York Times Cortex Beam Information

System™. It was a story on the latest developments in

hemorrhoid research.

 

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Grant Us ©

Late last spring I was sitting in my office weighing my summer options. My wife Emmaline and I could take a luxury cruise to Tahiti. We could go on a five-star guided tour of Scandinavia. We could rent a cottage at Martha’s Vineyard.
Actually, I wasn’t weighing my summer options, I was daydreaming.
My real options were much more proletarian. I could get a job stocking shelves at the local Wally World, I could get on as a flagman on a county road crew, or I could sell magazines door to door.
It’s like that every summer. From September to May, I teach info-graphic communicology part time at Letongaloosa Community Junior College. Because I teach part time, my paychecks end
when my last class is over. That’s when the prospect of an impecunious summer looms on the horizon like a cloud of Mormon crickets.
As I pondered these realities, the phone rang. It was my boss, the dean of the college, Dr. Ima Farseer. Letongaloosa Community Junior College has two departments: The Department of Technology et. al, and the Department of et. al., et. al.
“Would you like to make some extra money this summer?” asked Dean Farseer.
“Do I have to bump anybody off?” I asked..
“No,” she said. “There may be some grant money available.”
Dr. Farseer explained that last fall Prof. Johan Swifter and Prof. Leo Toliovsky had submitted separate research proposals to the Federal Furtherance of Communicalogy Commission (the FFCC). In January the FFCC informed them that it would fund a joint proposal.
“Where do I come in?” I asked.
The dean said that after nearly five months of effort, professors Toliovsky and Swifter hadn’t come up with a joint proposal.
“The grant submission deadline was looming like a cloud of Mormon Crickets,” she said. “I want you to work with them. If you succeed in getting them to submit a joint proposal before the
FFCC deadline, I’ll pay you $500 out of the 35 percent overhead that the college collects on all funded research.”
“Wow,” I said. “That’s more than I made all last summer working at Wally World. How big is the grant?”
“Eight thousand dollars,” she said.
“That’s big money,” I said.
“Right,” she said, “The overhead on that grant would be the equivalent to the entire discretionary budget of the college for an entire year. That’s why it’s so important. Will you do it?”
“I’d love to,” I said.
I decided to take on Prof. Leo Toliovsky first. He was the senior professor —by two weeks.
Toliovsky and Swifter both joined the faculty the year Letongaloosa Community Junior College was founded. Toliovsky teaches The Theory of Fictitious Creativeness in the department of et. al.,et. al.. He is a prolific fiction writer and poet. One of my students told me that Prof. Toliovsky has received more rejection slips than any other writer in America.
Prof Toliovsky is a tall man with a shock of white Carl Sandberg hair. His office is pincushion neat.
The icons on his computer screen are symetrically aliened. 3
The “IN” box is precisely aliened with the right rear corner of the otherwise empty desktop. The “OUT” box is similarly aliened on the left rear corner. When I visited him, The IN box was empty. In the OUT box was a neat stack of graded papers. The books on the floor to ceiling shelves are meticulously arranged by size and color, rather than by author, title or subject.
“Dr. Farseer wants me to work with you and Prof. Swifter on your grant proposal,” I said.
“The Dean indicated to me that it was her intention to seek the assistance of a disinterested third party in this endeavor,” he said.
“I just want to help,” I said.
“I sincerely hope that you can,” he said. “There is, I assure you, no animus between Johan and me. We have successfully negotiated ninety-nine percent of the joint project on the telephone and by electronic mail. Nevertheless, when we meet face to face to transact the final few details, our efforts are fruitless. I have no idea why that should the case, but it is.”
“I’ll talk with Prof. Swifter,” I said.
“Such an endeavor would meet with my complete approbation,” said Toliovsky.
Prof. Johann Swifter teaches Theory of Techno-creative Expressionism in the Department of Technology, et. al. The disarray in his office was a monumental. Piles of books, file folders, student papers, and pieces of obsolete computer equipment covered every square inch of the office
floor. Swifter’s desk, which was in the center of all this chaos, was awash with debris. Messages, scrawled on yellow Post-it notes, were sticking on every flat surface. Swifter’s huge computer screen was an unintelligible hodgepodge of icons.
Johan Swifter himself can best be described as Shakespeare’s Falstaff playing Professor Johan Swifter.
“Professor Swifter, I’m…”
“Sit down, sit down,” he roared. “You’re the hired gun from the dean’s office.” “You’re well informed,” I said.
“I’m bright too. Bright but slow,” he said.
“I spoke with Prof. Tolivsky just now,” I said. “He told me that you and he agreed months ago on all the major points of the combined grant proposal by email and over the telephone.”
“Right on brother,” said Swifter. “But when we try to work face to face on the final draft, we get nowhere. If we meet in his office, I get goose bumps and hot flashes, and in less than five
minutes, I’m outta there. The same thing happens to him when we meet here in my office. He opens the door, he says “hello,” he sits down, he stands up, he says “goodbye,” and he’s outta here.”
“Have you tried meeting on neutral ground?” I asked.
We’ve tried that several times, but that doesn’t work either,” he said. “We both get heart palpitations and the cold sweats.”
“So you are comfortable here in your office, and Prof. Voliovsky is comfortable in his office, but the never the twain can meet,” I said.
“That about sums it up,” said Swifter.
“I’ve have an idea,” I said. “I’ll work on it and get back to you both,”
“Good luck, man,” he said.
I went back to my office and picked up the telephone.
“This is a job for super geek,” I said, and I dialed my old friend Dr. Henry Mullins, the brilliant research engineer at Middledorf University out in California.
“How are you Henry,” I asked.
“I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest,” he said. “How the hell are you?”
“I’m well, thank you, but I need your help. When I visited you last spring, you showed me a virtual reality gizmo you had just invented. Can I borrow it?”
“Shore thing,” he said, “What ‘dya wanna do, make yer wife think she’s havin’ a vacation in Tahiti?”
“I might do that later, but first I have to make a couple of professors think they’re sitting in their own offices when they’re really sitting side by side in my office.”
“It’ll be a lead pipe cinch with that gizmo,” said Henry. “I’ll overnight it to you.”
And the rest, as the man said, is history. Right now, I’m enjoying my five hundred dollars, and Emmaline is enjoying being on vacation in Tahiti, virtually.

 

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,