there was once this kid. he was what we would probably classify as exceedingly university of chicago dorktastic. a francophile who casually scattered french words throughout his speech, as though he were indoctrinating us with a french I vocabulary list through osmosis.
H was our favorite professor. this kid was in H's class. H's class was at 9 a.m. on fridays during the dead of the chicago winter and boasted an enrollment of 9 exhausted brooding types and 3 over-caffeinated loudmouths who monopolized the entire three hours. yes, three hours of three people discoursing on public intellectualism. there was many a miming of a gun to the head.
croftie and i awkwardly broached this untenable situation to H as he stood awkwardly beside us at a social hour, awkwardly clutching a beer and making awkward small talk. we awkwardly said, H, we can't get a word in edgewise. whatever shall we do? awkwardly, H said, girls, in life there are goats and there are sheep. you've got to get yourselves out of the corner. you've got to be goats.
this- coupled with our front and center relocation and continued inability to get a word in- didn't do much of anything beyond breed within us a deep resentment for the goats that made us (US?!) look like sheep. needless to say, this kid was a goat.
after graduation, we never really thought about this kid. he popped to mind ever so rarely, whenever someone interspersed their language with unnecessary french or upon name-dropping of adam gopnik. and then croftie and i would roll our eyes and exchange a knowing glance of ha! that kid! before he faded from our minds until some other someone else interspersed their language with unnecessary french or name-dropped adam gopnik, an occurrence that seemed to happen less and less.
we didn't think about this kid until we walked into the media event. and there was this kid. handing out nametags and withholding top secret media event information about the whereabouts of other media event attendees just because he could. this kid had become a media event nazi.
beyond our initial greeting of this kid, croftie and i spent much of the hour of our cameo appearance sheltered within a cluster of girls, daring him to penetrate the protective estrogen shield.
inevitably, he eventually did. hovering in on our conversation, offhandedly dropping the killer pickup line you may recall, i speak french, boasting of his work for world book encyclopedia, and unloosing such an incredibly enormously enthusiastic "HOW COOL OH AWESOME" upon hearing i was from memphis, that i actually had to take a step back and reflexively dissembled, "um... really it's not THAT great."
croftie immediately did the "let's go" eyes and we ran for the door. because we're practicing public intellectuals now. we didn't come out of the corner just to see goats speak french.