Thursday Night Live

“Thursday Night Live”

Had it not been for the two drinks in July
rum/ginger ale/lime concoctions (aka the “Dark ‘N Stormy”)

Downed before my pal Jim
over for dinner that night–crispy pork bits on rice

Said, “So some of us were talking”
a gaggle of clackers at the college

“And we think you’d be a good co-chair for the division”
Liberal Arts & Sciences

I would not have had to use the bathroom
a damned place, for the toilet could hardly be bothered to flush

Where I had a few quiet moments to think
holding the handle down and down some more on the toilet, despairing of ever saying adieu to that paper

“I can’t believe it, but I think I’ve reached a pivotal moment in my career”
after seventeen years of teaching writing to people who don’t read

“Because I’m actually considering crap meetings as an alternative to working with quite so many students”
‘tho some appreciative “A”-earners bring me truffles

“So this would seem to be a moment of tipping the balance”
for I would consider being admin’s bitch preferable to grading my 11,307th comparison/contrast essay

The paper finally swirled away, and I’d made a choice
the least of which was to get a new toilet

Sure. I’d swap out 4 credits of teaching load each semester to feign interest in the running of the college
a choice that put me down to a mere 165 students in the Fall

And due to those rum drinks and the paper that wouldn’t flush
we got a new toilet by the way, and I have named it Serge and gifted it with a sceptor

I was in a meeting last Thursday with my dean and co-chair
she of the natural sciences, the yang to my humanities-ish yin

It was a meeting that went on for an hour and a half
thanks to a gossipy aside about a vice president

Which meant that I didn’t get back up to my office until after 4
still hadn’t logged in to my online classes to read 142 messages about Tim O’Brien’s TOMCAT IN LOVE and to grade 12 new Brief Summary Reports

Which meant that I didn’t get out of my office until after 5
with a caffeine headache cracking my head open

In turn, I was then not on the treadmill at the Y
what? it was -12 outside

Until 5:30, and by the time I’d run and lifted weights and worked the abs
fat lot of good it does me

I really needed a shower
as a service to my public (yea, that’s right “public,” with an “l”)

And once I’d showered
alongside a doctor who used to be in my yoga class and who used to be an anorectic but has tamed it to compulsive exercising

And dried my hair
what? it was -12 outside

It was nearly 7:30
Webkinz time at home for the kiddles; Groom logging in DinkoJunior, as Niblet gets hung up after typing the J-U

Sadly, I’d forgotten that the Holiday Inn parking ramp outside the Y locks the convenient door by that time of night
it’s a questionable ramp at any hour

Which made me huff and stomp and head for the far-away entrance
which doesn’t have stairs, so I had to take the elevator up one floor

But at least I got to review the Inn’s lunch menu for the week, conveniently posted inside the elevator
potato soup on Wednesdays

And when I stepped outside the elevator, pushed through the door, and stepped into the poorly-lit concrete ramp
what was that, squishing under my feet?

I looked up in time to see a college-aged lad heading my way
not one of my students, Praise Plato, but he looked glassy-eyed and on his way to the next happy hour

Leading a man in a navy blazer
Dad buys the next round?

With a good haircut

Distinctive frames
seen them before

“Hiiiii,” my voice greeted him, familiarly, as I gave him a warm grin
I do that best with strangers

“Hello,” he responded, seeming to think about relaxing his shivering posture and removing his hands from his pockets
what? it was -12 outside

As though he wanted to shake my hand, as though he was alert for further engagement
I do that best with strangers

But I kept walking
burning off 2 more calories

Until a beat later I realized my missed chance
if it’s not a poo in the woods, it’s a handshake in a parking ramp

To claim a minute with the man in the navy blazer
it was Al Franken

Full of shucks, all I could do was go home and mix up a Dark ‘N Stormy
fitting tribute to the man who delivered “A Lime-O for the Lame-O”

And think about the impending pleasure of casting my airy American vote for Stuart Smalley
i’m good enough, i’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!



By Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."


  1. “Al Franken brings it.”

    That’s what someone told me in a drunken haze in college once, right before he ate a spider.

  2. that was a hell of a day.

    i think you need a tiny mini-fridge in your office with an emergency stash of caffeine. and maybe a flask of something.

    al franken? just wow.

  3. How is it that you can turn a missed encounter with Al Franken and a day in college administration into pure poetry?

  4. So, like, as we know you and all, that makes us all one degree of separation from Al Franken, yes?

    Closest to a celeb I’ve ever gotten, unless you count the time I saw a very irritable, very orange Tom Jones storming through the LA airport with a worried assistant in his wake, which I don’t.

    I heart Al Franken.

  5. NO! You missed shaking hands with AL???! WHAT????????????!

    And as for Serge, yeah, I need me one of those too, is the scepter extra? And maybe you should go easy on the three ply, eh? 😉

  6. Now I want to name my toilet.

    Oddly, when I lived in L.A. I used to run into Eddie Murphy. The weirdest part is that after I moved to Northern Ca, he moved to the same town I live in and I ran into him here! I think I’m being stalked.

  7. Darned if it isn’t my fault that you missed a handshake with Al Franken.

    By the way, my secret word today is dbyspcuj.


  8. Ah, The Land of the Free, where freedom of expression entitles you go around with a satellite dish on your head. Now why couldn’t he have been running for Governor instead just so you could use the word “gubernatorial”? It seems so fitting for him.

  9. How my life pales in comparison. You’re too much.

    At least you didn’t shoulder Franken’s eyeglasses as I did to Woody Allen.


  10. I don’t know that I would have stopped for Al Franken in -12 weather … unless he was on fire. Cuz at least then he would warm you up.

  11. What an interesting near-miss. But my God, in that kind of weater, I’d have been sprinting. And crying a little.

  12. & here I thought this post was going the way of Larry Craig a-toe-tappin’ in the public restroom… you know, dancing in bathrooms, loitering on ramps… made sense in the moment.

  13. *standing ovation*

    I don’t need to remind you of this, but you are quite good at this writing malarky!

  14. Maybe you could Host a House Party and invite him?!!!

    Congrats on your new job…and your new toilet!
    I can’t even fathom doing all you do. I used to think marking Gr. 7 book reports, journals, and reading responses was time consuming!
    And you still make time for all of us! I am amazed and honoured.

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