Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ellison Aftermath

So far, no one has come after me with a pitchfork and torch, so I guess that Harlan didn't offend anyone that much last night at Pierce College. Early responses to the two talks have been positive, and the president of the college sent me a thank you at 6 a.m. He got as little sleep as I did last night.

Yesterday's talk revealed something I didn't know about Harlan: he met wife #4 the last time he spoke at Pierce 30 years ago! That was a short-lived marriage (not, I hear, the shortest) and he met Susan a little less than 10 years later. They've been married for 21 years come September.

I probably could have done without him repeating the story I first heard on "Politically Incorrect" about a part of his body falling off in the cold on New York. Bill Maher's face was priceless--I just buried mine in my hands. That's Harlan. He's always politically incorrect. He would have preferred a different reaction from some people in the audience when he told a story about an act of dishonesty. I always find it amazing how some people can be oblivious to their own rudeness or boorishness, and there were some folks in the audience who were.

I did feel sorry for one girl in the afternoon audience who was target by Harlan (the key to dealing with his needling--a part of his performance--is to show no fear), but most of the boys handled the ribbing quite well. I was particularly pleased with one of my own students who gave Harlan a priceless jumping off point. He asked Harlan "How did you become one of only 29 Grand Masters?" Harlan asked him "Do you know what a Grand Master is?" My student replied "Not really, I think it has something to do with the KKK." My culturally Jewish friend and my husband nearly fell on the floor laughing about that concept. Then Harlan went off in that direction. It was very, very funny and Harlan brought it up again in the evening appearance.

Harlan signed until about 12:30 a.m., which was about 2 1/2 hours after he finished his evening talk. He called our house about 1:15 a.m. to say that he left his leftovers in my car. (The President had taken us out for dinner between the two events. The restaurant was wonderful, not far from the college, and therefore in our neighborhood.)

The night air has left me with a sore throat and sniffles and if I didn't have to teach today, I probably would have taken the day off. The official last day of classes in Friday. I sincerely thought we had a whole week more before exams, but graduation is June 5. How my kids will ever get done is beyond me, especially with the lack of equipment and time at the printers.

I am so tired I no longer care about the state of the house.

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