A few weeks ago, I wrote a column that never quite ended up running about why all our classes should be taught by Martin Short. It would have been so good – the column, I mean. I had a brilliantly elaborate vision in which all Graduate Employees Organization members would go on strike, prompting mass firings by University ad- ministrators. An academic crisis followed, as a greedy University was thrust into the national spotlight, criticized for its labor policies and forced to find some way to fill its classrooms with instructors while at the same time repairing its battered image.

Paul Wong
David Horn

At this point the column got really good. My vision saw Martin Short (the man who played such memorable roles as Franck Eggelhoffer, Clifford, Jack Putter and Ned Nederlander) remedy the entire situation. I don’t have the space or the time to go into it here, but Short found a way, believe me. I can’t tell you what exactly he did, obviously, but it involved a lot of studying, a lot of cloning, a little imagination and very little money.

Well, what was interesting about all this and the reason the column (the column I’m describing about the vision I had) didn’t end up running was because GEO actually did strike! Well! That certainly threw me for a bit of a loop. What are the odds? They struck or striked or did strike and I was advised by friends and editors to withhold this now seemingly prophetic vision from the public. They feared that it was like I had traveled back in time with an important piece of information and if I wasn’t careful I might upset the ever-delicate space-time continuum (tangential side note: Martin Short starred with Michael J. Fox, of the “Back to the Future” trilogy fame, in the 1996 Tim Burton masterpiece “Mars Attacks”. Michael J. Fox also played a character named ‘Marty’ in the aforementioned “Back to the Future”. Hmmm…).

I did not release the column. Instead I wrote an insightful and personal piece about that horrid business in the Middle East.

The University and GEO reached an agreement, which, if not completely fair, seems to satisfy both parties. While I applaud the reconciliation of differences between union and employer, I cannot help but boast of my own utopian vision of what could have been. My army of Martin Shorts (I call it the MSA: Martin Short Army) teaching everything from quantum physics to Orwellian theory led the University into a golden age of education. “A Martin Short in every classroom: Comedian saves U” read the headline in the Daily.

There was no labor dispute, no greed, no corrupted Fab Five legacy and no misrepresented mural of Guernica across from the Fishbowl (don’t get me started on that disrespectful monstrosity). There was just (and please pardon the latent homoeroticism of this part of the vision) me and Martin Short, sipping lemonade under a tree somewhere, him teaching me something useful. Sipping and teaching, teaching and sipping.

Even if the column had run, I don’t think the University would have gone for the idea. Very small-minded, our University; very shortsighted and panicky, too. If I were interim University President B. Joseph White or whoever was calling the shots in the GEO negotiations, I wouldn’t have given in to them. Y’all don’t want to work? Don’t work. We can wait for something better to come along – something like an army of Martin Shorts.

I wish the column could have been read. I wish everyone could have understood how beneficial cloning Martin Short …. Oh! I almost forgot! In my vision Martin Short did more than just settle the GEO labor dispute. The MSA (Martin Short Army) of Martin Short clones solved so many other problems too. It re-strengthened the economy, cured cancer, picked up litter in public parks, instituted a fall term break and developed a truly affordable long- distance calling plan.

My hope is that someone here at Michigan – a University at the forefront of genome research – has the sense to inquire into the rest of my vision. Again, I can’t disclose all of it in this space, but I would be happy to do so if some enterprising young doctor simply asks. Trust me: Martin Shorts can solve problems.

David Horn has gotten caught up with the Army of the 12 Monkeys, but he can be reached at hornd@umich.edu.

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