After The Meeting, Just Before Class.

Lumbering down the hill wearing the dress shoes with the little spot on the toe leather that won't go away because it was made by olive oil one afternoon when he started cooking before kicking off his dress shoes, he realizes that the lumbering is simply the natural outcome of a hill this steep, the 15 extra pounds around his middle, and the awkwardness of these dress shoes -- the combination of them all.

What should anyone do in this situation?

The hill is non-negotiable. It's not going anywhere and he must traverse it.

The fifteen pounds should give him pause to think, maybe renewed determination to run or swim or eat less or be less happy in some other, specific, torturous weight-reduction-program.

He must remove the shoes. He realizes this, but then decides that he will look too ridiculous with this blue suit and tie and no shoes on a chilly September day, even if the ridiculousness of lumbering will be gone.

Why did he wear this suit!? Who cares what the dean thinks!? Who cares if he looks "professional" or "slick" or "appropriate" enough for the meeting about the grant? Who cares if the research is stalled for another six months and the "Revise and Resubmit" is revoked because the editorial board changes hands? He should be wearing jeans and tweed and comfortable italian tennis shoes.

Damn Dean.

The lumbering is almost over. He can hear snickering undergraduates on the tennis court watching his humiliation.

Perhaps he will try to figure out a way to lock the dean in his office for 24 hours. Maybe cut the telephone wire? Which should also sever the internet connection. It's such a long hallway back to the dean's office, such a narcissistic power-trip of a long hallway that no one will even hear his shouts. After 24 hours, he will sneak back and unlock the door and race away in his comfortable italian tennis shoes.

Yes. He smiles as he reaches the bottom of the hill. A day locked in one's office should be sufficient penitence for anyone.


Daniel Rudd said...

glad your back

Nick B said...

this is hilarious

beyond hilarious

Mrs. Botton said...

It's so funny how we all make these apologies to the right and to the left when we don't blog or if we're not witty enough or if we're not struck by just the right turn of phrase.

But it really doesn't matter, you know. You're a wonderful writer with a nice, craggy brain, so you may as well just use it when it suits you and damn the torpedoes.

By the way, I can't believe how big your kids are. Now that I have one of my own, I notice how quickly even other people's kids sprout & sproing. Addison's such a little BOY. Wow!

Take care.