"Most interesting"

Bell, Robert H.

25 January 1985: 37 Accolades "MOST INTERESTING" WAITING TO BE CHOSEN THE OTHER morning on our six-mile run, my running partner Stanley, News Director at the college, asked me two questions: am...

...No time today, Jeremiah...
...I rang up my wife to ask her how she felt married to one of the fifty most interesting men in America under forty...
...I racked my brain searching for additional nominees...
...The editor was looking for someone receiving his doctorate that June...
...I assured Stanley that if anybody came to mind, I'd call him right away...
...Was that nomination from the President's Committee...
...Maybe there is a divinity that shapes our ends...
...For what, wondered Jeremiah...
...Stanley asked if I had any other suggestions...
...There's got to be one of two explanations...
...She asked if I had remembered to buy the fish...
...Jonathan Livingston Seagull...
...Do you think he knows that I juggle and play the recorder?'' I wasn't sure...
...when the phone rang...
...Jeez, Jeremiah, we only had a six-mile run to discuss this business...
...My dear friend Jeremiah du Crepe invited me to lunch...
...Jeez, it sounds great," I replied, "but there's only one itsy-bitsy problem...
...No doubt the President's Committee got wind of it...
...A guy gets named one of the fifty most interesting men in America under forty, he's bound to hear from some pretty attractive women...
...Didn't my name come up...
...We could do the interview, and you could get the pictures of me trying on my cap and gown...
...God knows I had watched with dignified equanimity and magnanimity as scores of second-raters and brown-nosers from my peer group grabbed the brass ring or basked in the limelight...
...The actual nomination, however, was conveyed by Stanley Peterson...
...Wordy, but potentially interesting...
...I've got a charter flight to London that morning...
...Aw, who's counting, Stanley...
...You don't want to nominate two guys from the same department...
...I'll probably see Stanley in the next couple of weeks, and I'll be sure to mention juggling and the recorder...
...Three," he said, huffing up Blair Road...
...You're the kind of guy they will write a biography about, and you don't want your landlord telling biographers that you broke a lease.' " Here my wife collapsed into helpless laughter...
...My wife said, ' 'Wasn't it your mother who didn't want you to break the lease on our first apartment what was it she said...
...I explained to her why it had slipped my mind...
...There would be pictures of me donning my cap and gown, and a big picture of me receiving my degree from Derek Bok...
...Oh, that's wonderful," she said...
...He said he didn't think it would work...
...With any luck, this time providence would be on my side...
...Lengthy interview, asking my perspective on all the political turmoil, my evaluation of the department...
...Sure, I knew it was a long shot, but sometimes long shots make it to the winner's circle...
...I don't exactly see what's so funny," I said, when she finally stopped laughing...
...Jeremiah wondered how many guys Stan could nominate and expressed surprise that he hadn't yet heard from Stanley...
...Really...
...When I got home that evening I mentioned that my mother was pretty excited about this nomination...
...Stanley said he wanted to nominate me anyway, and mumbled something about owing us three dinner invitations...
...pronto...
...25 January 1985: 37 Accolades "MOST INTERESTING" WAITING TO BE CHOSEN THE OTHER morning on our six-mile run, my running partner Stanley, News Director at the college, asked me two questions: am I under forty and (if so) is my c.v...
...How many faculty are you nominating...
...Didn't he have a poem in last week's New YorkerV "Oh., not Hubert Highpost, Stanley...
...What do you think about Hubert Highpost...
...I can understand her apprehensions...
...You can have my c.v., old pal, but it's not that fascinating...
...She was pretty impressed...
...Commonweal: 38...
...sang 'Who Wrote the Book of Love' at Faculty Talent Show, April 1982...
...Back at my office I was touching up my c.v...
...In the meantime, don't waste too much time worrying about this regrettable oversight...
...It might split the vote...
...Either Stanley doesn't consider you especially interesting, or it didn't occur to him that you could possibly be under forty...
...He called me and described the projected feature...
...He said he'd have to find somebody else...
...Rocky...
...I've got to up-date my c.v...
...I thought Jeremiah's farewell was a bit curt, but I turned to more pressing matters, such as how to describe my current basketball commitment: "second string guard on intramural faculty team...
...Well, let's not be hasty," I said...
...Until that very moment, I had never thought of myself as a husband whose wife didn't appreciate him...
...I wasn't planning to attend commencement...
...Oh, the college has nominated me for an Esquire feature on the fifty most interesting men in America under forty...
...The '69 Mets...
...I've moved from inflated aspirations to flagrant mediocrity...
...Turns out that Esquire Magazine asked the news office for nominations for a feature on ' 'The Fifty Most Interesting Men Under Forty in America...
...He said, "Well, you know I can juggle and play recorder...
...ROBERT H. BELL (Robert H. Bell teaches English at Williams College, and airs his humor on National Public Radio...
...Listen, don't forget, haddock, not halibut...
...Oh, I'm sure it must have been approved by the President's Committee...
...For some reason I thought of calling my mother...
...The Little Engine That Could...
...current...
...But then, I had just begun to think of myself as one of the fifty most interesting men in America under forty...
...Try as I could, I couldn't think of a single plausible candidate...
...After all, as a graduate student I'd gotten aced out of being featured in a Harvard Magazine article...
...I could proffer my opinion of Harvard's language requirements, which had retarded my progress, and settle several outstanding scores...
...I didn't make a big deal out of the fact that I was nominated by my pal Stanley Peterson...

Vol. 112 • January 1985 • No. 2


 
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