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Imagine the Chancellor
October 29, 2007 - 1:23am


Doesn’t have to be the Chancellor. Could be. Drives a Beemer. Big smile, pants are too tight at the waist, too long at the heels. Afraid to go to the optometrist for a checkup, has noticed each of his eyes sees a different quality of light. His right one sees warm tones, happy days; his left sees cold, bluish. Found an alumni donor in Hong Kong who’s got five mil for the endowment if presented an acrylic trophy at a dinner. Remember to get the trophy laser-etched with a picture of the donor’s college. Remember to make the evil eye smile at the reception.

Doesn’t matter. Imagine Ron Jeremy, who passes on the street in London at Christmas, on his way to Trafalgar to see the sights. He’s alone. Shows up that night on BBC 2 and says rather sadly in interview that his industry is “just bubbies.” Seems like an average guy. Has a master’s in special ed from Queen’s College. Sidesteps the question about auto-fellatio to talk about his love for his father.

Pick anybody. Margaret Thatcher, then. Wakes, breaks her fast, performs her ablutions. Instead of a proper lunch, nibbles Ritz dinosaurs and string cheese and watches a little CNN. Nice hot cuppa. (Milk, not lemon.) Wonders what advances have been made in ice cream since she left J. Lyons all those years ago. All in all, crystallography was better then meeting with Reagan.

Easy enough.

Now: all these students on this campus. Thousands, tens of thousands. Can imagination stretch that far? (The task makes dull.) Schoolwork, the job, responsibilities to family, chorus practice, a nose raw from tissues. (Livening up.) Bridesmaid dress didn’t fit. Girlfriend stared back at him with unnerving eyes that never blinked, her head tilted back so. (On to something.) Waking in a darkened room to the glint of silver from hairbrush, mirror bevel, perfume bottle, dark lamp. Mother’s hand, laid gently on the back of the neck, feels like fire. The most unknowable the bulk of their days.

None of it important. Also, really really important.


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