Mix A Tonic

Dear Ben,

The news is nothing but good! Finally got a tenure-track gig, and at a school on the east coast, too! Miskatonic — ever heard of it? Their sciences departments are supposed to be top-rate, but I don’t know a lot about their liberal arts school. Ah well; a job’s a job. I’ll see you in three weeks!

Love,
Flavia

Dear Ben,

It was terrific to see you last month! How’s everything in New York? Well, I hope. I’m settling in pretty well here at Miskatonic; the literature program is actually terrific, although there’s a lot more language requirements than I had anticipated. Which would not be so bad, because I have always had quite a facility with languages, but I haven’t actually heard of most of these. I tried to get some guidance out of the Dean, but no one seems to know what his name is. Either that, or they do know and won’t tell me for some reason — you know how it is in these insular New England private schools. At any rate, his door just says “DEAN WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED”, and he’s never there even during his posted office hours. Tenured professors, I tell you. He’s probably in Tahiti someplace. Anyway, the classes themselves are great; my students are bright and eager if a bit jittery, the pay is fantastic, the classrooms are outstanding, and the library is incredibly well-stocked (at least the parts of it that aren’t sealed off with iron bars).

I know what you’re saying: if everything’s so great, how come I was so happy to come down to New York? Well, as with a lot of college towns, the school is great but the lifestyle leaves a lot to be desired. The townies are really resentful of us and often as not will have a real lynch-mob attitude even when you’re just trying to get a cup of coffee. Like, the other day I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of filet mignon (I can afford it now, and besides, the all-fish diet is really starting to bug me), and the butcher called me a foul cultist who wanted to unleash horrid aquatic demons on the face of an unsuspecting globe. I told him I taught contemporary French literature and was he talking about Céline? He just looked at me like I was nuts. Massachusetts!  Am I right?

Anyway, I’m sure I will adjust. I don’t want to end up in the big nuthouse they have just north of here! The bursar says the place has over 16,000 residents, but that can’t be right.

Love,
Flavia

Dear Ben,

Of course I’m looking forward to seeing you next weekend! I really wasn’t expecting to make the trip, but it turns out that for a small school with a mostly scientific focus, Miskatonic U. has a pretty great basketball team. The players are huge! It’s really un-P.C. of me to say this, but for a school with hardly any black guys, we do very well in athletics. Of course, we don’t have a lot of white guys either. I’m not really sure what they are. They’re sort of bluish-green, I guess, and I can’t pronounce any of their names. At any rate, I like our chances against Syracuse! Go, Black Goats of the Woods with a Thousand Young! (Yeah, weird, I know, but at Oregon, they had the Ducks, so who am I to complain?)

Love,
Flavia

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