Imagine my shock, and that of all of us here at Oxford, when we heard that our colleague, whom we casually, and sometimes crossly, refer to as “MSP,” had happened upon perhaps the greatest literary discovery of recent times. Of all people, the sentiment echoed through the halls, why him?

Why, indeed, had the Fates smiled upon MSP? Surely many of his colleagues were more deserving. We have all slavishly lived by that academic dictum, “publish or perish,” following the rules, while MSP seemed happier discussing the hero’s journey and existential angst of Assassin’s Creed, which he practiced incessantly in his office, often without clothes, as he claimed it made his game play faster, as did an ever-flowing supply of Wild Irish Rose, which (he said) gave him focus, even if he had to occasionally pee in a trash can. (Needless to say, few attended him during his office hours. Nor was he popular among the custodial staff.)

Where the remainder of the faculty here at Oxford (if I do say so myself) consider ourselves fine, caring pedagogues, MSP rarely showed up for class, and when he did, he was either late, or drunk, or both. How many times I asked our Board why this reprobate was allowed to continue, only to hear some barely comprehensible mumbling about a rather large, but secret endowment by his father; there were rumors that the money – and MSP’s salary – were used to launder cash from an outrageously lucrative pyramid scam, and I now pass that on to whatever authorities might be paying attention, career be damned.

 Whatever deities there may be, they or he or she or it operate in mysterious ways, truly. For nothing could be more mysterious, more puzzling, more antithetical to karma than to pick this singularly inappropriate individual for such a great thing! It was as if Moe, Larry and Curly had opened King Tut’s crypt! I myself have written dozens of well-reviewed articles for the Publications of Modern English Scholars, have always scored high on student evaluations, always knew which students came from the most influential or wealthy families so as to grade them particularly generously, keeping parent satisfaction high. I have been told I am an accomplished, perhaps even distinguished, academic, which leaves us with the question: Why him?

Well, without a doubt, this all proves something. What, I don’t know.

So there, I wrote it.


John Friedrich Salieri
Oxford Community College
Oxford-upon-Chattooga, South Carolina

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