Gertrude had spent her adulthood thinking. Since early teens she had been interested in philosophy, and several doctorates later she found a job teaching at a university. She worked her way up the ladder and it didn’t take long before she was queen of the roost.
But did she rule with an iron fist! Many thoughts and philosophical insights were banned from her department. Some things are plain wrong, she said, and will not be tolerated. Socrates to start with; his name is not to be mentioned. And indeed such sinful thoughts were not tolerated. Several lecturers lost their jobs. A number of bright students failed. We’re not here to mollycoddle notions of wrongness, she said. Those who don’t agree cannot be defined as philosophers. Philosophy exists to move the world forward in a very specific way.
The university, at her behest, banned Romeo and Juliet for sexism, Othello and The Merchant of Venice for racism, all opera sung by systemically racist Whites – except of course for Verdi’s Otello and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly if the lead parts were sung by Blacks and Asians. The university’s History Department made an attempt to win her favour. Would she lecture in History? She knew how to create facts more amenable to contemporary thought. Likewise, the School of Medicine wanted her to devise a curriculum that stuck to a Science that advanced social justice.
Anyway, one day, while walking from the staff cafeteria to the staff recreation room, she dropped dead. As Mrs. Smith of 24 Shirley Crescent in the suburbs observed: Is there a God or is there a God?
Warning: This medication can cause blindness. Should this happen, see a doctor.
P.S. – nothing to do with the above story:
An anthology of poetry – which includes three poems by the late Cynthia Jobin and also dedicated to her memory (many of you will remember her and her blog littleoldladywho) – was released the other day by Bennison Books. You can read more about it here and also purchase it if you so wished. (Things open in a new window) It’s for a good cause. (And as a corollary to this announcement: I’ve got a couple of poems in there as well!)
Biology was not Ella’s forte. She had been to three different doctors. They were all useless.
Each time the doctor had examined her throat. Each time the doctor had said the same thing: “Really, you shouldn’t be having any problems with this at your age. It’s usually only with children, and then it disappears after about the age of five. I wouldn’t worry about it.”
“But doctor, it hurts,” said Ella.
Eventually, it took a specialist to sort it out. And the specialist was way out of her field. She looked at Ella’s throat.
“No! No!” said Ella.
“I think you mean haemorrhoids, dear,” said the specialist. “Not adenoids.”
Simone was heading for ninety. She had to take five pills every day; four in the morning and one at night. One pill was for cholesterol. The other pills she wasn’t sure what they were for, but the doctor said to take them, so she did.
She took the four pills in the morning, and then a little while later she couldn’t remember if she’d taken the pills. Did I take the pills or not? she asked herself. To be on the safe side, she didn’t take another lot. She didn’t want to overdose.
A few days later, once again, she couldn’t remember if she had taken the pills. Enough is enough! thought Simone. I’m getting one of those plastic weekly pill containers. So she did. And there it was, with a little separate pill compartment for each day of the week.
Simone couldn’t remember what day of the week it was. Come Tuesday, she was sure she’d taken Wednesday’s pills. Or did I just forget to fill it with the pills at the start of the week?
She hadn’t lost her marbles. It was simply one of those jolly things about getting old.