Academic Failure, Part 73
Richard L. Howey, Wyoming, USA
WARNING: This essay is a bit of pure silliness written in the spirit of foolish optimism that this year should be better for all of us than this last year was; so if you’re not in a mood for something silly, you might want to try reading the Oxford English Dictionary instead which should keep you occupied for at least a year.
Note: For those of you not familiar with Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals written in 1775 at the age of 23, he introduced the pompous and linguistically pretentious Mrs. Malaprop who became the epitome of one who misused words in egregious ways and generally abused language. Shakespeare had already used such devices and many writers and comics have subsequently employed them, but Mrs. Malaprop remains, as it were, the grand champagne.
Well, I just say I am pleased to find so many of you have returned for another chapter on your weaknesses and failures. Believe me, I have considerated that you are trying to escapade your other responsibilities in the hope that you can just sit here and doze. You think that I will restrain myself from embarrassing you by name. However, I have consulted with both University lawyers and my own and have been given cart blank, so, fasten your seat belt, boys and girls, for as Bette Davis said: It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
For starters, there’s Prof. Spiro Keat, the chair or perhaps, more accurately, the bunk bed, of the Department of MicroBiology. Perhaps he would have been better suited to becoming a Greek poet. In any case, Keat doesn’t even own a microscope and the only microscopes in his department outside of (and outside is no place for a microscope) are in student teaching labs in a small crowded laboratory with two post-doctoral students, who have research microscopes that they were able to purchase only after they got grants. The only two papers that Prof. Keat has published are:
1) Bacteria Found in Felon Fingerprints Contrasted with Bacteria Found in the Fingerprints of Those Only Convicted of Misdemeanors, published in The Trans-Siberian Journal for Soviet Forensics, 1962.
2) Spirochetes on Sponge in Hospitals, published in The
Alaskan Journal of Medical Equipment, 1998.
Well, my goodness, Prof. Keat, haven’t you been a busy beezer?
Next up, our extinguished Professor of Art History, Dr. Kurt Wassil, who is also the Kurator of the Ashdolor Musteum. Let’s consider a few of the exhibitions that he has recently disorganized.
1) Albanian Fingerpainting from 1927-30. A read crowd pleaser. It ran for 2 months and the visitor total for that period was 30.
2) Transylvanian Drawings of Count Dracula, His Castle, and the Impaled Heads of His Enemies and Relatives. This was a real winner. It also ran for 2 months and was visited by 18 busloads of Goths.
3) King Kaloauhakaihoikmoa’s drawings of Hawaiian Pineapples. This ran for 4 months with a staggering 11 visitors.
At any other less indigenous university, your own faculty would have filed formic complaints against you but, fortunately for you, they’re all too lazy.
Next, we come to Professors Noni and Albi in the Music Department, who organized the concert serials. And what syrup-pumptous things do we find?
1) A 2 hour recital of Polynesian nose flute songs accompanied by snakeskin superrattles.
2) A dance concert of Ethiopian planting rituals.
3) A 4 hour concert of German Waldlieder (Forest Songs).
4) A ten minute recital of Wager’s greatest hits.
5) An Ozark songfest with a one string banjo.
Such suckulent offerings lead me to suggest that Professors None and Albi are both hearing and mentally impaired.
And then, we come to that highly extinguished Department of Philosophy led by Professor Ash Lock, who oversaw the infliction of an extensive lecture series. (And no, my darlings, I’m certain NOT talking about the Malaprop lectures which I wouldn’t touch with a 20 foot Czech). The series got off to a thrilling start with:
1) The 137 Different Senses, Significations, and Semiotic Signs of Ifs, Ands, and Butts. I could hardly sleep anticipating that one.
2) The Impact of Wittlesstein’s Non-Philosophy On Sign Language.
3) The Influence of the Philosophies of Jacques Deridada, Gills Delude, Jerry Buttle, and Mitchell Foukull on the theoretical Foundations for the Expansion of Gender Types from 2 to 137.
And, of course, you couldn’t neglect the German tradition.
4) A paper on Heidensieker read in the original German with a translator and sign language interpreter on stage. The paper was Die Weihnachts Einflüsse von Selbstmord auf dem Produktion der Oberammergauerfestspielklosterdelikatsfrühstückskäse. Translation: The Influences of Christmas on Suicide and the Production of Cheese Made in a Monastery as a Delicacy for the Passion Play at Oberammergau.
Judging from these gemmules, I would asserverate Prof. Lock that your year at Yale had a very bad influence on you, not to mention your year at the Sorebone and another year at Handover University.
Next, for today, but my no means the end of my analises, we have Prof. Sidney (Sid) Aris, who heads up the Zoology Division. This last year, he had the Division put on a series of workshops which were a smashing distress.
1) For a middle school group of students, there was a workshop elevated to a presentation on the alignment of laser confocal microscopes.
2) A workshop for automobile mechanics on the techniques for using Atomic Force Microscopes for Material Stress analysis. What that has to do with Zoology, I haven’t the foggiest notion.
3) A workshop of the relative advantages and disadvantages of Zeiss, Leica Nikon Olympus, Hasenpfeffer, and Reichert microscopes in the analysis of bull semen.
4) And the cul-de-sac, a workshop on red snow algae in the Transylvanian Alps complete with ski lift tickets.
I happened to notice that there is now a Department of Agricultural Byproducts, the largest subdivision of which is Liquid Comestibles–that term already being a bit of a stretch. I believe that you are the chair of this subdivision Prof. Barry Elder and I must congratulitate you as I discovered that your subdivision not only doesn’t cost the university, but generates considerable funds for the benefit of the larger college. Well done! I think a raise is certainly in order of Dr. Elder. If I could see you at the end of the lecture, I’d like to place a small order.
Then, there is the Department of Animal Husbandry headed by Dr. William “Bill” Bullock and Dr. Bullock, I am sure that you are familiar with midwifery, but I find no such offerings in your catalog, let alone anything that touches on Animal Wifery in general. That would seem to suggest an anti-feminist, sexist, massagynistic bias which is absolutely postposterous in a department that deals with breeding. I mean, really, where would the Royal Family be without breeding? I would suggest that that be corrected. A.S.A.P. (As Soonest As Pheasible).
And we mustn’t forget the Department of Plant Pathology which I heartily approve of as I have quite a number of house plants that need to be cured. The Head, Dr. Aspin Quaker is renowned or his work in developing defoliants. If you’ve got a tree with too many leaves, Dr. Quaker is the man to see. I, however, employ a man for my modest 22 room cottage and 17 greenhouses to glue the leaves back on, not take them off. Just one of my little jokes, Aspin. Aspin and I are old rivals and the only reason he’s still here is that he’s a real wizard with bedding plants.
At this point, I think we’ve had about as much spleen as anyone can stomach, so I shall go off to punish my liver with Dean Spooner’s wonderful decoctions and purpose my next sequel lecture while conclosing this one with the recommendation that all of the Professors in the Professoriate which I have mentioned here today be summarily fired. However, I wish to reassure all of the resembled here today, that my possible gift of $100 million pounds has nothing to do with any of this.
All comments to the author Richard Howey are welcomed.
Editor's note: Visit Richard Howey's new website at http://rhowey.googlepages.com/home where he plans to share aspects of his wide interests.
Published in the June 2021 edition of Micscape Magazine.
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