June 2, 2006

One last conversation with Shrill O’Really

Unbeknownst to me, apparently every graduating senior is required to give an exit interview before grabbing their shiny new diploma and departing for that mythical land beyond the quads where people don’t try to beat their own Rubik’s cube record and stare at their feet while talking to you. Imagine my surprise when I showed up for my scheduled appointment to discover that my interviewer was none other than Shrill O’Really, one of America’s top-rated cable news talk show hosts. I have to admit I was a bit hesitant at first; as regular readers will recall, my last interview with Mr. O’Really earlier this year didn’t go so well. I’m not sure our second chat went much better than the first, but I’ll let you peruse the interview transcript and come to your own conclusions

O’Really: Well, finally made it to the end, did you? What are you now, a sixth year? Looks like you finally finished your B.S. in environmental studies…any regrets about pursuing a degree in pinecones?

Pat: Who told you that I

O’Really: Shut up! I’m the one asking the questions here! Plus I just like saying shut up. But you watch it; this is your exit interview, and I’ve already spotted a pretty tempting-looking exit through that window over there. Kidding, kidding! (as taser-armed U of C police officers step into the room) Almost forgot your little ivory tower has one of the largest private armies in the country; looks like there’ll be no physical assault and battery today! Anyway, how do you feel knowing that in just one week, you’ll be banished from this mollycoddled existence, that you’ll have to start fending for yourself?

Pat: A bit nervous, but not too scared or anything. I feel that the U of C has done a fairly good job preparing me for life beyond the quads, that I’ve gained enough from my education here to survive on the outside.

O’Really: Hmm…yes, education. What do you really think’s behind this education business, anyway? Don’t you feel that it’s actually just another insidious tactic of the vast liberal conspiracy agenda? Isn’t it obvious that educating people is really just a sinister brainwashing scheme perpetrated by the liberal intelligentsia? Isn’t being educated just a synonym for elitism? Don’t you think that? Shut Up!

Pat: What?! I didn’t even say anything!

O’Really (looking bewildered): Err…sorry…I guess I must have told myself to shut up, sort of a conditioned response to keep me from getting too worked up. Part of a lawsuit settlement…Anyway, moving on…what are you doing next year?

Pat: I’m going to be teaching in

O’Really (trademark head vein beginning to bulge): Ha! Doesn’t that just confirm what I was saying? So you’re actually going to be joining the intelligentsia conversion mission yourself then?

Pat: I don’t really think education’s part of any sinister agenda; I mean, I think it’s really more about expanding opportunities and

O’Really: Don’t give me that crap. The only thing education expands is the size of our government bureaucracy and resident population of liberal baby-eaters! Why can’t you just stay barricaded up on your pretty little campus without spreading your wicked educational gospel? Which brings me to the next question on the list: what are you going to miss most about the U of C?

Pat: Well, this campus has a really remarkably diverse student population, and I suppose

O’Really: Hold on! Are you telling me you’re going to miss the freakish menagerie that passes for a student body on this grim little plot of earth?

Pat: I think “freakish menagerie” is going a bit far

O’Really: The hell it is! Shut up, no I will not! Come on, are you telling me that you’re honestly going to miss the hordes of “That Kid” roaming around on these quads of yours? Kids who can’t even look at a horse drawn carriage without babbling about the tripartite soul in Plato’s Phaedrus! I saw one of your peers out on the quads performing a one act play about Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle! Students dressing as zombies and pouncing on people in the library! You’re going to miss that?!

Pat: Like I said, it’s a totally unique blend of people; there’s nothing like it anywhere else.

O’Really: And thank God for that! Can you even imagine a world in which Chicago students have taken over? Eye contact would be a thing of the past, and we’d probably have to start referring to the President as the Philosopher King. Whatever happened to the good ol’ American style of education…you know, where we had all we ever needed and that keg in the closet?

(awkward pause) Pat: Did…did you just quote a Kenny Chesney song?

O’Really (head vein writhing like an earthworm at a disco): So what if I did? I mean, I’m sorry that not all of us go around spitting out quips from Nietzsche in the original German! And how would you know about Kenny Chesney anyway? I thought you U of C-ers only listened to recordings of Sir Ian McKellen reading the Great Books in Latin. Let’s face it: most kids on your campus stumble through their rare social interactions like bats with busted radars. In fact, you’re all so weird, you probably make the same sort of high-pitched chirpy noises too. It’s probably some sort of Chicago student code language. Or…you can talk to bats! The liberal intelligentsia’s in league with the bat people! (O’Really lunges hysterically out of his seat, is quickly tasered back into submission by a guard still lingering in the corner).

O’Really (panting, head vein twitching): Shit…forgot about those guys. Any parting comments?

Pat: Well, I suppose that I’ll always be grateful for

O’Really (rolling his eyes): Didn’t I tell you last time that gratitude is a pathetic sign of weakness, and indeed smacks of being part of the vast liberal agenda conspiracy? Don’t waste your time being grateful; in fact, I’d better not ever catch you making any alumni contributions