Selections from the Email Wing of the Higher Education Hall of Fame: Volume One

TO:         Thorsten Grelk

               Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

FROM:   Hayden Yorftel

               Chair, Department of Psychology

I acknowledge receipt of your phone message yesterday requesting that I add a section of Introductory Psychology to the Spring 2020 schedule, which starts in three days.  You would like the course to be taught by an adjunct instructor of my choosing, and offered MWF at 8:00 am on a fishing trawler docked in Hammerfest, Norway, the site of our Midwestern university’s newest branch campus. 

Sorry, but this is not going to happen.  No way.  Your request is ill-advised for many reasons, most of which I would not expect a Dean to understand.  And just for the record, it makes no sense for our university to offer a 12-credit undergraduate certificate program in Cod Psychology in Hammerfest, since there is no such field as “Cod Psychology.”  I am offended that you established this program without soliciting input from the Psychology Department.

Please stop doing stupid things.  Thank you. 

TO:         Yasmine Starling-Grant


FROM:   Denora Franzene

               Professor of History

Thanks so much for inviting me to chair the task force you are assembling to revise the College’s core curriculum.  Unfortunately, I must respectfully decline because the task force will include Professor Wendell Sorghum. 

How shall I put this?  Professor Sorghum is an idiot, a true monument to preening ignorance.  His views on virtually all subjects are painfully ill-informed, but presented with supreme confidence.  Getting him to shut up during a meeting usually requires setting off the building’s fire alarm, and even that doesn’t always work (and it annoys the fire department).  Wendell eats more than his share of snacks from the conference table, chews with his mouth open, and stares without blinking at my bosom for extended periods in a manner that suggests that he is watching the chariot race in Ben Hur.  He consistently shows up late for meetings without having read the background material, and then has the audacity to proclaim, “Whoa, let’s not get ahead of ourselves!”

If Professor Sorghum were to serve on a task force I chaired, it would only be a matter of time before I attempted to strangle this bloviating little cockroach with my bare hands.  

Thanks, but no thanks.  Good luck with the task force.

TO:         Harold Dwerz

               Business Office

FROM:   Basil Lepson

               Assistant Professor of Chemistry

I have been informed that the reimbursement request I submitted for my dinner purchase of a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich and a small soda ($5.83) at the recent American Chemical Society convention in Dallas has been denied.  The reason given is that I failed to provide a receipt.

My submission included a note indicating that I had been mugged after exiting the McDonald’s.  During this incident my wallet, which contained the receipt, was stolen, and I was pistol-whipped, resulting in a concussion and facial lacerations that necessitated a three-day hospital stay.  I now feel like I am being punished for eating in a sketchy part of town in an attempt to stay within the $7 dinner allowance that the University stipulates for junior faculty.  The pettiness of the Business Office’s response in this matter is indeed shocking.  Have I become a character in a Franz Kafka novella?  Please reconsider this decision.

TO:         Timothy Karff

               Math Major       

FROM:   Peyton Teffrondi

               Professor of Mathematics

Tim, you have indicated that you wish to be addressed in our Calculus II class as Qentor, Avenger of the 7th Sun, noting that this name represents “your personal truth” much more accurately than your “pathetic Earthling label.”  You also would like me to acknowledge in class the presence of Panzeem, an invisible canine (half-bichon, half-coyote) that apparently accompanies you wherever you go on campus. 

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that I can do neither of those things.  Tim, you’re bats**t crazy.  I know that’s a controversial phrase to be using these days, but I’m pretty sure it’s justified in your case.  Something has come loose in your brain box, and it needs to get fixed.  A visit to the Counseling Center is in order.  May the Force be with you.

TO:         Griffin Caftan

               Chair, Department of English      

FROM:   Christine Hurl-Turbot

               Professor of English

Thanks for the syllabus template you sent to Department members yesterday.  The template indicates that each course objective should be stated in terms of the specific skills needed for at least three professional jobs included in any current dictionary of occupational titles. 

I’m having a difficult time doing this for the course, Egyptian Poetry from 1100 to 1250, which I plan to offer in the Fall 2020 semester.  Perhaps I’m thinking too narrowly, but I come up empty after listing the job of “poet.”  I’ve considered jobs that would place a premium on rhyming skills (e.g., writing jingles for TV commercials), but the fact is that 95% of all the rhymes covered in this course involve the word “sand.”  Any suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Heads up: In Spring 2021 I’ll be teaching a Special Topics course, How a Punctuation Mark Became the Large Intestine: A History of the Colon in Literature and Medicine.  I’ll probably need your help on this one as well.