Thursday, 27 November 2008

The Inaugural Address

The action takes place in a single evening.

SCENE 1

My Office
Time : 5pm


The Professor of whom we speak is handing me a scrawled expense claim for a James Bond DVD. There are many gaps in the form – as usual. He has a young academic with him and within minutes we are all gasping with laughter as the Professor of whom we speak tells stories of his wicked childhood.

He leaves, shirt tail adrift.

SCENE 2

A Large Lecture Theatre
Time : 6pm


The Professor of whom we speak is standing in front of several hundred people. There is an expectant buzz because this is an Inaugural Address. It is the moment that marks the promotion of a Professor. His family are there in the front row, his mentors from his meteoric rise through Academia, the Management, his colleagues from the Department, his students. It will not be a standard academic lecture – it will be a review of his subject to which he is a leading contributor and a look back at the people and places that have inspired him. We lean back in our seats – we know this will be a bravura performance.

His wife has obviously persuaded him to wear a more appropriate jacket.

SCENE 3

The Foyer
Time : 7pm


The Professor of whom we speak is surrounded by a crowd of people congratulating him. He has spoken for exactly an hour without notes. He has checked his watch only once. He has entertained his audience and communicated his enthusiasm for a subject which takes him to areas of international conflict. He has acknowledged his mentors and thanked his colleagues. It is just as well he was not sacked for the false fire alarm caused by riotous living in his first month in the Department because he is a huge asset.

Even if he is incapable of completing an expense form.

15 comments:

Blue Mountains Mary said...

He sounds gorgeous!

cocoa and blankets said...

...isnt that always the way...but pray tell...how was the DVD incoporated into the lecture.....perhaps I should put my day into scenes...but it wuldnt be for the faint hearted...especially my efforts to teach the narrative states to year 7 yesterdy afternoon....even I dont want to re live that.....

trashalou said...

Which Bond movie was it?

peppermintpatcher said...

Paperwork is a little too pedestrian for those with lofty academic aspirations.

anne bebbington said...

the brightest and most brilliant people usually struggle with the minutae of life - my paternal father was a master mathematician but could tie his shoe laces and got into a hopeless muddle if he had to pop to the shop for a message

anne bebbington said...

oh dear - dyslexia of the fingers this morning - that should have read couldn't tie his shoelaces

dottycookie said...

My PhD supervisor sounds very similar - he once gave a half hour long lecture on the subject of my PhD that revived my flagging excitement in my thesis and had everyone else in the audience desperate to work with him on the same project. Some people are astoundingly gifted communicators.

blackbird said...

Oh, the dreaded expense forms. I do two a month, one for the credit card and one for cash reimbursement. Some of them have proved very straightforward and some, well, let's just say they have testing my creative writing, and thinking, skills.

bigbucketgirl said...

"His wife has obviously persuaded him to wear a more appropriate jacket"....love this part.

driftwood said...

the inclusion of a james bond dvd on an expenses claim seems somewhat unusual to me, obviously have been missing out on something...
I make my husband wear more appropriate jackets too, but not to any inaugural lectures yet.......

MrM said...

presumably the expense code is 007

Gina said...

He sounds perfectly delightful although I'm a little mystified as to why a James Bond DVD would go on expenses!

Lynn said...

Are you sure that wasn't my husband you were describing? Gifted speaker/no notes, artist, crafter, cook, baker...but he once shook his head sadly (following some organizational lapse or tidiness problem, no doubt) and said he might as well wear a sign that proclaimed, "Unable to Function As An Adult In Our Society." Which is why he's married to an uptight detail-oriented bore...

JuliaB said...

I LOVE this story!! it reminds me of why I miss academia so much. Luckily I have a job interview back there soon. Fingers crossed. x

fifi said...

I can't count but I am good at making things up.