Modern Language Association Job Search


                                                                                                             -- for Antonio Gramsci


… and I’d like to add that will teach all the classes; I will crave the eight o’clock.
I will teach whatever you want, Fuji Island poetry, gator wrestling, Lamaze, all within my range. I will toil like a South African dockworker, my office in a men’s room stall; I’ll wait there forever like a hobo in a Beckett play. I will make the students love me; erupt in a lava flow of praise over their slightest efforts. I will coddle and pet. I will nurture. I will suckle them on a blanket in a corner of the teachers’ lounge.

I’ll go to every meeting I can find. I’ll be perky and upbeat; bye-bye despair. I will not silently mouth the words I want to die. I will chortle when others chortle, stop when they stop, sick smile stuck on my face like the Joker. I will be a frisky Marxist, an ersatz Francophile, I will join a gang of coiffed homosexuals. No more Xeroxing my butt cheeks, no matter how appropriate the occasion. I will convince the Chair of the Committee for Diversity Hiring that I am the last Mohican.

I’ll hobnob with nearsighted Victorians and acne-scarred medievalists. I will show up each year with successively smaller black glasses. I will go under the knife, get a hamster overbite and pasty skin. I will come to your dinners and eat your bland food. I will move to the Galapagos of men’s fashion, a crepehanger’s satchel in a sea of bad tweed, dropcloth trench coat, sensible brogans, 30-watt power tie, huge pleats like I’m shoplifting an accordion.

I’ll request more students, shoehorn them in like the Middle Passage. I’ll have a roll book like a cast list from Cecil B. DeMille. No more office hours at the Moon Wink Motel. I’ll be avuncular and blinkered like Sea Biscuit, sterling, papal, Ken-doll sexless. No more wickedness or infernal voodoo, no matter how hot the student. I will be as prompt as a star, type-A-Nazi-punctual. I will never loiter, tarry, or dawdle. I will plan ahead to infinity. I will have lesson plans like Nostradamus


I will be your apostle, applaud after all your dumb comments. I will work for no food. I will be my own dentist. No more classroom scenes like from Abu Ghraib prison or Hieronymus Bosch. I will respond to all questions with Of course, Derrida.... The faculty handbook will be my Koran. I will not mutter. I’ll make eye contact like a Latin American optometrist. No more shaking my junk at commencement, no more rattlesnakes in the mail slots. I will be the ideal hire, your colleague, a twin, a mirror. 

1 comment:

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