Underwood Scotch and Wry Ch 3

Brian-Head-Shot-for-ExtremelyAvgArthur, taking a break from his lunch time drinking, was snoozing on the couch in his office. A relic from the 70’s, the leather was cracked and worn in all the right places and fit him like a twenty-eight year old grad student with a history of bad decision making. The knock at the door was as unwelcome as someone rapping on his skull, from the inside. “Come in, or if you have an ounce of decency in you, don’t.”

“Dr. Byrne,” said a woman’s voice, which was vastly more acceptable than the alternative.

Without opening his eyes or removing his arm from across his face, Arthur said, “Yes?”

“I’m Wen Hu,”

“If you’re Wen Hu, then I must be What’s on Second, now state your business and leave me to my slow and steady decline into an abyss of irrelevance.”

“What’s on Second, I don’t understand.”

Arthur decided to open his eyes on the oft chance that his visitor might be attractive. She was. “I’ll give you a hint, Bud and Lou. That should be enough for you to look on BoobTube and unravel the mysteries of my reference. If you’ve got nothing else to do.”

“Do you mean YouTube?”

“Use whatever you like, now what brings you around during nap time?”

“The other TA’s and I would like to know when you planned on getting together?”

“There are others?”

“Five of us. I just got the email about you taking over the class this morning.”

Arthur got up and took his place behind the desk, rubbed his temples, and said, “Please take a seat, Lou.”

“It’s Hu.”

“I know. Now, presumably since you checked your email, you’re one of those people who use computers to waste their time on that internet thing?”

“Yes. It is a class on social media, and who doesn’t use the internet,” She said, looking at his bare desk and then adding, “Where is your computer?”

“It is yonder, beneath that stack of Muddy Waters records.”

The expression on her face made two things abundantly clear, Wen Hu had heard the rumors about Dr. Byrne, but had, until now, assumed they were more urban myth than anything and that the realization of truth being exactly as strange as fiction, was difficult for her to comprehend. “Yes, it is true, I’m not fond of the computer. Which begs the question, why have I been assigned to teach such a dreadful subject?”

“Maybe it’s a mistake?”

“Mary Shingle does not make mistakes. It is a superbly calculated move, for which, I have no reply.”

“So, why don’t you just knock over your king and be done with it?” She said, growing annoyed with Arthur’s self-pity.

“Do you play chess?”

“Yes, Do you know anything about social media?”

“I’ve heard of tweeter.”

“It’s Twitter,” she said, shaking her head, “Have you read the syllabus?”

“I’m waiting for the movie. I understand it’s to be done in 3D, and includes cameo appearances by the cast of Glee. It should be an Oscar contender.”

“Social Media is serious business. It has changed the world.”

“I quite doubt that.”

“When there were earthquakes in New Zealand, people used Twitter to get word out about missing loved ones. When new breaks, it is usually Social Media that gets it out first, even before the networks. It changes lives, decides elections, and levels the playing field for everyone. Do you know what the all- time most viewed video is on YouTube?”

“I do not.”

“It is by a Korean band, called Psy. A band that few people outside of South Korea had heard of before their video went viral.”

“And how many people have watched this Korean band’s video,” Arthur asked, having had his interest piqued.

“Their video has been viewed over one billion times.”

Arthur didn’t have a clever response, or any comment, he just let the number sort of hang there and then said, “It seems you have a real passion for this stuff.”

“I do.”

“Normally, that is the sort of thing I would find completely annoying, but with you it is only 89% so.”

“Was that a compliment?”

“It was not, it was a carefully considered analysis. I don’t do compliments, nor do I eat peas, or tolerate fruit in Jello.”

“Fruit in Jello?”

“It is an abomination and people who wed two wonderful things into such an unholy union, should be killed.”

“You’re quite a mess, aren’t you?”

“Yes, you’re point?”

Wen stood up, removed the Muddy Waters records and opened the computer box. “Where do you want it?”

“Any response that I might choose, I fear, has been done, so I’ll just let that one pass.”

Five minutes later Wen had his computer up and running. Thirty minutes after that, Arthur had learned the term browser and URL, and found it too taxing to go on. He suggested they go for a drink and she suggested, with quite a bit more force, that they go buy him a smart phone.

“But if I have one of those cellular phone devices, won’t people be able to call me? Isn’t it really just a new fangled leash, on which those who annoy most, may tug whenever they fancy?”

“Yes. I’ll make sure they have the shock collar app installed before you leave the store,” she said, with a smile that didn’t give any hint as to if she was kidding.

“It can’t really shock me, can it?”

“This is going to be an interesting semester.”


" Isn’t it really just a new fangled leash"


Truth be told. I have fond memories of the analog days of calling cards and pay phone booths!


One of my favorite comedy skits and interesting characters.  Great combination!