Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads: Here is a man who would not take it anymore, a man who stood up against the comma splices, the adverbs, the mixed metaphors, the run-ons, the short stories in the form of tweets. Here is someone who stood up.
That’s right, I’m talkin’ to you. I think your stories gave me stomach cancer. All you Charles Bukowski rip-offs, filling pages with whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies. Sick, venal. Someday a real editor will come and wash all the scum off your screens.
I tried to take you all over. Tried to show you authors from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem. I don’t care. Don’t make no difference to me. It does to some professors. Some won’t even teach Baldwin. Don’t make no difference to me. I would’ve taught Mother Goose if you promised to at least read the fucking thing.
Each night before I close my laptop, I have to wipe the tears off the keyboard. Some nights I clean off the blood. Depends on whose story I read last. I get headaches. The days go on and on. I cannot guarantee that my last round of feedback will be coherent.
You are not the only ones who have slowly chipped away at my soul this semester. The English department is being merged with History and World Languages. We’re in a hell, and we’re gonna die in a hell unless we reassess our learning outcomes. The Promotion and Tenure Committee denied my application. They said I need more peer-reviewed publications. I have no peers. I am god’s lonely man.
I pursued my right to an appeal and met with Dean Palantine. “Well, I think I know what you mean, Travis,” he said. “But it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to have to make some radical changes.”
“Damn straight,” I said.
“Are you willing to teach on North Campus?”
“I’ll teach anytime, anywhere.”
“Will you teach on Jewish Holidays?”
“How’s your disciplinary record?”
“It’s clean. It’s real clean. Like my conscience.”
He stared at me.
“But maybe not as clean as yours, Dean Palantine. I recall you getting into an Uber with one of my students late one night after a faculty cocktail party. She was wearing a white dress. Out of this filthy mass of bad writers, she is an angel. You. Cannot. Touch. Her.”
The idea had been growing in my brain for some time. True force. All the king’s men cannot put it back together again. I now feel empowered to devote myself completely to my speculative novel told from the point of view of Humpty Dumpty’s plastic surgeon. If all goes according to plan, The Egg Face Chronicles will hit shelves in time for the holiday shopping season.
All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don’t believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention. I believe that someone should become a person like other people. I believe you all have the potential to become human beings and create fully realized characters, rather than the walking contradictions you shat out this semester.
Now that Dean Palantine has awarded me tenure, I gotta get in shape. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on, it’ll be fifty pushups each morning, fifty pullups. No more pills. No more bad food. No more destroyers of my body. From now on, it’ll be total organization. Every muscle must be tight. Follow me on Peloton at Talkin2Me69.
Finally, my special topics course for the fall, Masculinity and Existentialism, is currently under-enrolled. I encourage you to sign up.