MD

2004-03-11

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Advertise with us »

Weekend Entertainment

BY SCOTT SERILLA: WHATEVER IT IS
I'm Against It
Published March 11, 2004

I’d like to say there has been many
a teacher here at University that’s had a lasting impact on
the increasingly dysfunctional flytrap that is my intellect.

John, who swore at me incessantly and threatened to evermore
nickname me “White Bread Serilla” if I gave another
thought to becoming a civil servant. Mark, who never asked why I
was taking two of his courses concurrently or if I had actually
read the required obscure 18th century novels he assigned (we both
knew the answer). Ian, who contributed to my delinquency (only
metaphorically, Mom) and who never said “Get the hell out of
here,” when by all reason he should have time and time
again.

I can think of no greater thank you than to leave their last
names out of this.

Still in terms of memorable professors, I don’t think
there can be any doubt as to the iconic and hypnotizing majesty
that is Ralph Williams, who teaches Shakespeare and English Bible
with no shortage of flair for elaborate digressions or dramatic
hand gestures. Yes sir, in that classic
“crack-Webster’s-find-a-headshot-therein,” way,
Williams is the proto typical college professor. The man actually
has catch phrases. How many people have you ever actually met who
have catchphrases? On my deathbed I have preplanned my final
thoughts to be “Are there questions of me before I begin
nattering away, for the wind is up?” just so I can depart
into the sweet hereafter with my final thoughts on Williams.

I had originally intended to use this week’s column to
announce the impending debut of my full length musical based on my
experiences as student of the great maestro entitled simply
“RALPH!” But my backing fell through, we had trouble
getting the venue we wanted and there was this whole question of me
being unable to read or write music.

Undeterred in my efforts to pay homage to Williams, I have
decided to announce here, for the first time anywhere, my exclusive
line of official Ralph Williams collectible actions figures. Take a
moment to let the pure joy of these thoughts course soothingly
through your body.

Yes, even geniuses need molded pieces of plastic to celebrate
their unending sweetness and why shouldn’t more toys come
with required reading lists? I thought I’d lead the way
before those bastards at Cambridge announce their set of Stephen
Hawking figurines. Greedy limeys, always stealing my best ideas.
Anyways let me walk you through the line…

Classic Lecture Hall Ralph — Decked out in his
turtleneck and tweed jacket, Prof. Williams is looking ready for
biz-ness with oversized karate grip action and a pull string that
lets him utter all your favorite Williamisms like
“Today’s Rubrics are…” and “Thus
Adoshem spoke, saying to the Israelites…” Podium,
chalkboard and ninja death stars sold separately.

Elizabethan Ralph — Sporting a classic doublet and
hose, “Sir” Ralph looks positively ripped from the
pages of “Henry VI: Falstaff’s Revenge.” Carrying
his dueling foil and a copy of the fourth quarto, everybody’s
favorite scholar might indeed be on his way to the Globe to fulfill
his lifelong ambition of being mauled by drunken Groundlings. Kids
will have hours of fun imagining Ralph explaining the Bard’s
plays to them.

Mountie Ralph — Showing off his Canadian pride in
the classic Mountie uniform and accompanied by his loyal steed,
“Oprah,” our hero looks more than ready to settle the
hash of those Yukon claim jumpers who stole the McDonald’s
valuable wheat farm.

Astronaut Ralph — In space, no one can hear you
pontificate. Abroad the SS Moses, Cap’n Williams and his
ragtag band of intellectuals fight space scum and try to find a
publisher for their latest magnum opuses about the Progression of
Post-post-modern Asteroids. Comes with laser blaster and
decompression airlock fun set.

Rivera Playboy Ralph — Something for the ladies.
Our dapper prof. is cruising for wealthy French widows flocking to
the famous resorts for a little R&R (Ralph and more Ralph). His
white linen suit and open collared suit say “Come Closer,
Madame Barbet,” while his mirrored aviator shades say
“Not too close.”

Monte Carlo Tux Ralph — Basic idea as above, only
more formal and ready for some effing roulette.

Congo Adventurer Ralph — Pith helmet and khaki
shorts firmly in place, the Professor is readily to ward off
cannibals and crocodiles alike. Search for adventure and delight in
talking in dead languages, all while solving century-old mysteries!
But look out for ancient curses and snakes.

Ralph Williams action figures: Big hands = big fun!

Scott doesn’t understand how his pure love is
obsessive and wants to use this venue to beg Williams to please get
rid of the restraining order. Contact him at
"mailto:sserilla@umich.edu">sserilla@umich.edu.