Another day, another failure – time for another drink! If wine is the nectar of the gods then this cut-price bottle of whisky I shoplifted from Broadway must be their tears. My latest unpublished article is but the last in a long list of rejections from scholarly journals – who was to know that ‘Kant and the Scategorical Imperative’, a field-redefining treatise on our duty to defecate on board-games, was not what Woman’s Day was after? Pah! Woman’s Day! Have I sunk so low?!
Oh for my halcyon days, I was revered, respected, and a kingfisher! I had such promise: first-class honours, a university medal, a Rhodes scholarship, and the faculty record for most tutors bedded.
Now look at me: a dishevelled husk of my former self: a corpulent, middle-aged man masquerading as an academic. I was meant to be someone! I was meant to set the academy ablaze with my incomparable insight and scintillating wit. Instead, I’m ashamed to enter the staffroom these days, aware that my breath reeks of booze and that the elbow patches on my tweed jacket are not just for show. O woe is me, wretched, base, despicable creature that I am!
But enough of this wallowing: I have a class to prepare for, and she will be there. O, she is divine my nymph, my Venus, my Helen, my Cleopatra, my Ophelia, my – but, she is not mine.
Olivia… her name is like a summer’s breeze, playing merrily across my back fat. But how can I possess her?
I have already attempted to entice her with my knowledge, promising her first-year pre-honours, despite no such course existing, if only she would be mine. I pen her sweet missives in my essay feedback, hidden messages of desire, like: “your essay structure showed joie de vivre, however, there is room for improvement. Meet me in the Quadrangle toilets at five and I shall continue my instruction.”
But alas, no response. I waited in those toilets for a good four hours, assuring the baffled patrons of the water closet that I need not go ahead of them, as I was merely there to observe. I trudged disconsolately back to my office only to be greeted by Belinda, the PhD student I am supervising, annoyed that I had kept her waiting for more than three hours.
I tried to explain myself, but Eros had my tongue. I stammered incoherently, before motioning for her to leave. I returned to my hovel and there I sat, like a scotch-soaked sponge pouring drink after drink until, like so many nights before, I vomited in the bin and spilt my glass across my marking before slumping forward in an inebriated stupor.
But today is a new day. Today, I shall overcome, as the great William Shakespeare once said: “so long as you’ve had less than six drinks you’ll probably be able to get through your 2pm tutorial without slurring your words too badly.”