Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Friday, January 27, 2006


OK OK OK OK OK OK...I'm not panicking, I'm not panicking, I'm not panicking...Just found out that the play I'd been expecting to lecture on during my campus interview is not in fact the play I'll be expected to be lecturing on. Nobody's fault--the schedule said one thing and the progress of the class said another. Which is how classes should be--the fluidity of the group dynamic needs to supercede the structure of the preliminary model. (You'd never guess that I was an English Lit. guy, would you? Well, actually, I used to have an idiot savant relationship to physics. Bombed in every science and math class I ever took in high school, then suddenly, senior year, I took physics--and, I kind you not, I did not get a single question wrong. Not on a homework assignment, not on an in-class exercise, not on a test or an exam. Not. One. The teacher was flummoxed--which was impressive, since he'd be a professor of physics at Tehran University--escaped when the Shah fell and the Ayatollah was killing all the smart secularists--and especially so when, as he put it, "I don't understand--you've gotten the right answer to this question, but I've never seen it solved this way before!" Fascinating, and a little sad--if I'd known about my talent there, I might have gone in a completely different direction in life--majoring in physics rather than Theatre--and who knows where that would have led me? I'd like to meet the parallel-universe version of myself to find out what happened. Anyway--)

Point is, the play that I've prepped to teach to within an inch of its life? Not gonna be lecturing on it. And now I've got only a couple of days to pull together something truly dazzling on a completely different play...now, I'm brilliant, and cool, and I work well under pressure--used to do improv comedy, don't you know--but man...this better be the last curve ball I get thrown in a bit, dammit. I'm serious. I want this job.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that you will overcome this latest obstacle and dazzle the committee with your wit. Of course this could be all just a test to see how you deal with change.

12:23 PM  
Blogger La Lecturess said...

Something about this sudden switch-up makes me think of the guy in the Western shooting at your feet and saying, "Dance, motherfucker! Dance!"

And in re: your esteemed ancestor: I don't hate Dryden (it's not like he's Percy Blithering Shelley). In fact, I'd go so far as to say that The Indian Emperor and Absalom & Achitophel totally rock the house, and I'd happily re-read Annus Mirabilus and The Hind and the Panther. But. . . I just can't forgive the dude for what he did to Paradise Lost.

To hell with the whole Restoration, really. It's all been downhill since then.

4:14 PM  
Blogger ArticulateDad said...

You're good. You're good. Just remember... to ... breath. It'll be okay. Maybe they're loving to watch you squirm... but the reality is they want to be dazzled by you, as much as you'd like to dazzle them. Just think what their lives would be like if they really expected a couple of boring mopes to show up and yawn their students to death, then have to choose one of them to come back and do it for good. That's a nice image! I get the impression you'll be on top of your game, having the students and faculty laughing. So just enjoy it.

4:36 PM  
Blogger phd me said...

Very poor form - very poor! - on behalf of the university. However, this is nothing to someone of your extraordinary ability and scintillating personality. More effort on your part leading up to the interview, of course, but the same result: adoration from the students and amazement from the committee. I have no doubt you will prevail!

5:38 PM  

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