I Am Home From an Academic Conference
Continental Airlines is not a very competent outfit and will be one of the first to fold when the airlines start going out of business. Also: do not eat the enchiladas in the Houston airport. When I finally staggered into the Oakland terminal at one in the morning they were playing a Muzak version of “Octopus’s Garden,” which was my cue to cackle maniacally and exclaim, “WE’RE ALL MAD HERE!”
My last conference anecdote should probably be the Q&A after the Eliot panel (see below), where no one dared ask the Onomastics Professor anything until he finally raised his hand and asked whether we thought it was a valid methodology to use onomastics to prove that Eliot wasn’t gay. Awkward silence. Eventually the professor who had presented on Colonel Sanders turned around and said, “I always thought of Prüfstein being German for touchstone.”
“Touchstone?” asked the Onomastics Professor. “You mean Prüf?”
“Prüfstein. And you know, Touchstone’s a clown.”
“Oh,” said the Onomastics Professor.