Friday, February 29, 2008

 

In Which We Become An Old Boy...



Sorry, sorry. I wasn't so stupid as to commit to blogging every other day again, but I did think I'd post a little sooner this week.

I have a good excuse for my tardiness, though. For one thing, our current issue is shipping this week (I just sent my last story a few minutes ago), and shipping week is always crazy, even if you're in the office every day, which I wasn't.

No, I got up early Monday morning and hauled myself to the airport where, after some worrying delays and thinking I'd never make my connections, I actually made them all and by lunchtime, I found myself a thousand miles from home, standing on the pretty, snow-strewn quadrangle of my college alma mater. I hadn't stood in this spot in almost 20 years, but I was perfectly oriented.

Here in front of me stood the campus chapel. I was only ever in here twice--once to tape a scene from the half-assed adventure series my roommate and I used to produce for our own private amusement. The other time was as part of a vigil after finding out that 35 of my classmates--two of whom I actually knew and had taken classes with--had been flying home from a semester in London--the same program I'd been in only a year before--and been blown out of the sky by a terrorist bomb and had fallen to earth at a place called Lockerbie, Scotland.

To my left, and one building over, was the school physical education building, and the narrow room where I studied fencing for two semesters (right downstairs from the larger gymnasium where I studied karate--and perfected my Drunken Booger style of fighting--for another two years).

To my right, the massive stone edifice of the Arts & Sciences building, one of the first buildings on campus, and the place where I studied for my undergraduate degree in English. It was here that I brushed up against such luminaries as the great short-story master, Tobias Wolff, who never let me into his creative-writing classes, despite my numerous attempts to submit short stories to win his approval. Eventually I snuck into class, not caring about a grade, just wanting to benefit from the man's wisdom. But it was a small group and I was eventually found out and the moment that I was was just as embarrassing as anything you might read in, say, a college short story.

Behind me, the arts building where I bumped into two of my heroes, both on campus temporarily--either as part of a speaker's bureau event or to guest-lecture in a class.

One was the great Batman artist Dick Giordano, who was I surprised to realize was hearing impaired. It explained why he kept calling me "Kevin Dooley," although that is patently not my real name. Nor does it even sound like my real name, but it must look like it, since Dick was reading my lips when I introduced myself. A very nice man.

The other was the late Monty Python alum Graham Chapman, who delivered a hilarious talk when I saw him later, but who at that moment simply snarled at me for having the temerity to block his path. He would be dead of cancer in little over a year, so perhaps he wasn't feeling well then. Either way, I've long since forgiven him for his rudeness.

And now here I was, on campus for similar reasons. I turned and strode off the quad, heading down the hill to the squat, square communications center, where I earned my other undergraduate degree, one in magazine writing. Here, in a little over 24 hours, after a little less than 20 years, I'd be delivering a guest lecture of my own. I was going to talk about what life was like as a Magazine Man...


Comments:
Can I get the adventure series on DVD? VHS? Thx...
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
ooh, I'm looking forward to the rest of this one (not that I'm not usually ;). There will be a magazine tidbit or two, I hope?

If not, I'm sure your recounted adventure will distract me enough to keep me from noticing.
 
This talk was recorded, right? You are going to post the video, right?

Right?

RIGHT!?
 
I'm with Dan - I'd love to see / hear that! Hope you enjoyed your visit to the past - there's something special about visiting your alma mater...
 
My first thought was "what an honor!" and it's my second as well. Congrats!
 
Yay, a story series!
 
Lockerbie. Ouch. One of my best friends was going to be on that flight. She changed her mind and took the identical flight a week earlier. But I didn't know that till after the crash, when I fearfully phoned her parents and she answered.

little gator, who forgot to login
 
Can I get the adventure series on DVD? VHS? Thx

As the roommate in question and co-owner of the rights, let me answer: NOT ON YOUR LIFE AND YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR TINY LITTLE MIND TO EVEN ASK.
 
Hope the talk went well for you, MM.
 
Well, to heck with Tobias Wolffffff. You're better than him, anyway.
 
Awesome! I've always dreamed that there will be a day when my alma mater will invite me back to speak. Incidentally, I didn't know you met Tobias Wolff! He's one of my favorite authors... even named a blog after him ;) Very, very cool. Even cooler is the story about you sneaking in. I'd love to hear the details of that!
 
Oh, is this going to be up on youtube anytime soon?

I will be checking back tons of times to see.

I would have loved to have been there just to hear some of these stories in person. Hope it went well and you are happy with the results.
 
Oh, man. I would love to listen/watch!

I can't wait to hear the rest of the story, either.
 
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