Monday, a few minutes after noon, he knocked on the imported, mahogany door. The secretary, with her practiced tone of disapproval had announced his arrival. He walked in and found the President of Beckerston College sharing a cigar with the Dean of the Liberal Arts college.
He looked at the Dean and then the President, gave a mocking bow, and said, “I was summoned by your Excellency.”
President Jonathan Grosvenor put out his cigar and said, “You’re late.”
“It is only four minutes after noon.”
“Our meeting was at ten.”
“I am unfamiliar with this ten thing, of which you speak.”
“Maybe if you would get up at a reasonable hour, once in a while, you would be?”
“I’ll have you know I arose well before noon to make the trek to your hallowed tower.”
Dean Mary Shingle, put her cigar down, and said, “You live on campus. It is a ten minute walk and you didn’t even bother to shave.”
“I didn’t realize it was a formal gathering your Grace.”
The President took a seat behind his desk and Mary pointed to a chair and said, “The reason we’ve called you in today, is that we’re going to need you to take on an additional class.”
“I’m far too busy with my novel and I’ve told you before, I’ll not teach the lowly Freshmen their English.”
She looked at the President, a wry smile settled over top the sour look that was her norm, and said, “Arthur, we wouldn’t think of burdening you with English 101. A much more exciting opportunity awaits you. You’re being given SMS 301. Dear Mrs. Clayton has, well, let’s just say she has become unavailable.”
“I’m not familiar with SMS 301, but I know that Mrs. Clayton has run off to Belize with that knobby kneed buffoon from the history department, Doogie Houser.”
“Donald Houserman, and yes, they’ve left us in an unfortunate position. We have just over 100 bright eyed students, many of whom have parents that are very generous, who expect the class to be offered. We can hardly disappoint them, can we?”
“I think you’ll find that I am more than qualified to disappoint them. One might say there are few things I relish more than crushing the spirits of our…”
“Yes, we are well aware, but this isn’t a request.”
Arthur, perpetually on the cusp of a hollow threat of quitting, said, “I can’t possibly be ready to teach a class about…What is SMS 301?”
President Grosvenor stood and said, “Don’t get all worked up, Arthur. It is a new course, cutting edge really, which was added to the catalog last spring for this fall semester. SMS stands for Social Media Sciences.”
“What in God’s name is the science of social media and why would you think I could possibly teach this course?”
“You a writer and content is king, or so I’m told, but it seems very popular. All one hundred and four slots filled up on the first day of registration.”
President Grosvenor walked around the desk, a signal that the meeting was coming to a close, and said, “Gladys has a syllabus for you. You’ll cover Facebook, Twitter, and that sort of thing, but the main focus will be blogging, you do have a computer, don’t you?”
Arthur was stunned and didn’t hear anything after the word blogging. He did not personally own a computer and barely tolerated the one that sat in the corner of his office.
“Arthur, if you have any questions, Mary will be happy to give any guidance you might need.”
Mary sneered and said, “It would be my pleasure to help anyway I can.” The “Piss off you arrogant luddite, you’re on your own.” was implied.
Arthur found his legs and stood. “Blogging?! You want me to teach about blogging? I’d sooner be trampled by a wandering herd of pachyderms or teach sex education to a wondering pack of teen aged boys, than wade into the great unwashed masses that pour out their failed ambitions on the,” he paused to affix firmly to his face, disgust, and continued an octave lower, “internet.”
“You’ll be fine,” President Grosvenor said, patting him on the back.
Without looking back, he said, “I know this is your doing, Mary, and you will rue the day that you brought this to my door.”
Mary said, “Have a lovely day Arthur, your first class is on Wednesday, at the Peterson Lecture hall…8 am.”