Monday, October 19, 2015
Letter to University President
Dear University President:
I often walk through the campus of your University. Most of the times that I do bring me along your Scholars' Walk. There I gaze upon the notable accomplishments, prizes, awards, and honors that have been bestowed upon your faculty. It's very interesting and an excellent credit to your historic Land Grant University. It also reflects well upon our state. Well done!
Unfortunately though, I have noticed some thin spots in your walk of fame. Your obelisk for National Book Award winners has but one name on it, John Berryman, and the single date inscribed there is from almost 50 years ago now. Your list of MacArthur Fellows is only marginally better, maybe only two or three names. And while your Nobel Prize list is almost okay, there's no University in the world that couldn't stand a bit of embellishment in that category.
Fortunately I am here to help. I have an idea.
I have already more or less won a MacArthur Fellowship (I blush when people call it a genius grant). I am also in what I would describe as advanced talks with the Swedes for my Nobel Prize and kind of have an unofficial one already. And the only thing between me and a National Book Award at this point is publishing, which can be a bit tricky. The only real problem is how to link up myself and all my major awards with you and your Scholar's Walk so my successes can shine their bright light upon your University.
The first thing is simple. I'll need some kind of honorary doctorate. That's a good start, and we certainly don't need any especially fancy ceremony. The usual kind will do just as well, and I don't mind being lumped in with a few other honorary doctors for the economy of the thing. The next step is adding me to the faculty. I would need just a teeny tenured professor position. I suppose the English Department would be most appropriate. My job as a library clerk keeps me pretty busy, but Thursday is my free day and I could teach my class then. I was thinking of a sort of interdisciplinary arts class titled "A life in the arts with no commercial success whatsoever." I think kids today with their beards and their phones and their apocalyptic convictions would find such a class useful and interesting. I hate bragging, or slightly dislike it in specific situations, but I think I'd be quite good teaching this sort of thing. Experience is half the battle.
So let me know when you want to get started on all of this. The great thing about all my pending awards is that they're not exactly "official" yet, so if we get me all hooked up with your University promptly we can have no ethical compunctions when we start chiseling my name into all your obelisks.