Sunday, October 24, 2021

drinkdrankdrunk: "Conference Presentations" by The Midnight Rider

my dissertation was [REDACTED] . . . it examined [REDACTED] . . . it addressed [REDACTED] . . . sounds impressive, yeah?--my mom said it sounded like a “bunch of bullshit” to her, especially since my poor parents were obliged to drive me to roughly 150 live wrestling events as a child (i was a chubby kid and professional wrestling was kind of “my thing”) . . . they were even more blown away when i started presenting papers on professional wrestling at academic conferences . . . during my tenure at shady state, i went to conferences in maine, tennessee, wisconsin, and illinois (and again, it blew my parents' minds that shady state would fly me to maine and put me up in a 3-star hotel to talk about my love of professional wrestling) . . . [REDACTED] at the university of stephen king would prolly be the most remarkable because my colleague assburger's g was part of the same panel discussion . . . the presentation itself was at night and in a bar, so i went for lowbrow humor (not that i've ever gone highbrow in my entire hillbilly existence) over the cult-that-is-academia . . . my mistake was ever telling assburger's g about the conference in general because he ultimately got me heckled off the stage . . . i guess i should note that i don't officially know that g has assburger's; however, he's 71-years-old, and i don't think assburger’s syndrome had been invented (for the money) in the 1940s-1950s . . . although g was a sociology professor for 30 years, he spent a great deal of time alone at home reading his books and seems to be the stereotypical absent-minded professor . . . he received his phd from [REDACTED] at 23, but to my knowledge, this was his first presentation at an academic conference (and he was certainly nervous) . . . g is also a vegetarian and a teetotaler, but on the night in question, he had 2 glasses of wine and a giant lobster before going on stage . . . he had written a short story about pretending that his childhood housekeeper was a lady wrestler, but when it came time to present, he starting rambling on about everything except the subject of his speech . . . he told the history of shady state in great detail----tracing our origins from tiny catholic teacher's college to being sold to shady education llc . . . g also went into great detail about how the company flew the entire shady state faculty/staff out to san diego for a retreat at a 5-star resort on coronado bay complete with descriptions of hotel amenities and the meals that were served . . . g also described his childhood growing up in northern kalifornia and playing little league baseball . . . and after 10-15 minutes of (painful) onstage ramblings, g finally got around to reading his paper . . . somewhere towards the end, he made a comparison of the maid-turned-lady wrestler from his story to an ohio state professor that was sitting in the front row . . . and if she had known g, she would have realized that he had a touch of the assburger's and that his comparison of her to a lady wrestler was ultimately his way of saying that he was paying attention to her (and in a strange way, you could even argue that he was attracted to her) . . . i had never met big bubba bundy (the osu prof), so i had no idea how pissed or drunk she was until i followed g onstage . . . she began heckling me almost immediately with chants of “wrap it up” and then “get off the stage” . . . i had to decide on the spot whether to play the professional wrestling heel and fire back at her or play the professional wrestling hero and assume the role of victim . . . since i was at an academic conference, i chose the latter and became really quiet/submissive and eventually the host of the event escorted a drunken big bubba bundy back to her hotel room . . . the remaining members of the [REDACTED] were quite nice to me the remainder of the evening and even took me out bar-hopping after the panel discussions ended . . . i halfassed my way through one more day of presentations, but the damage had been done . . . [REDACTED] was well on its way to becoming my go-to event, but i've never attended one of their functions since that week in maine . . . i guess i should also mention that i had attended their conference two years earlier in tennessee, but i didn't present a paper . . . my main memory of the event entails driving a hotel van up a windy, mountain road with 7-8 fat/mustachioed professors in hawaiian shirts sitting in the back--i was shrooming like a motherfucker too, but none of them seemed to notice . . . i remember that the older profs in attendance seemed to like me more than the younger ones--maybe it was because i seemed to be having a better time or maybe it was because one of them asked me about shady state at a cocktail party, and i was obliged to tell him that they were for-profit and had sold out to a company . . . i also presented two papers based on my dissertation at the “cheap trick university sports symposium” (a small college about 2 hours from shady state and not nearly as impressive as the university of stephen king) . . . shady state put me up in a holiday inn, and i snorted a bunch of adderall . . . i remember my first presentation being better than my 2nd (prolly because i snorted too much adderall) . . . the hosts of the conference also had a campus radio show and they interviewed me both times . . . all egomaniacal professors basically sound the same, but none of the others could quote dusty rhodes from 1976: “i've wined 'n' dined with kings 'n' queens/i've slept in alleys, ate pork n’ beans/i'm the need you want, the want you need/i'll make your back crack, your liver quiver/if you don't dig that mess, you got the wrong address/while everyone else is in the back room laughin' 'n' jokin'/midnight rider is out front, cookin' and smokin'” . . . after the conference was over, the group would go to a japanese steak house for dinner and the other professors in attendance seemed amused by the fact that i was proud to be drunk-driving home . . . i sent a prospectus in for the 3rd annual cheap trick university sports symposium, but they turned me down (but invited me to come to dinner afterwards) . . . i declined, and there was no 4th annual sports symposium . . . shady state also paid for me to attend two sport and society conferences at lambeau field in green bay, but i never presented . . . it was a free trip, and i stayed at a swanky hotel, plus i posed for pictures behind the green bay packers lectern and posted them on facebook (so everyone would think that i presented) . . . my main memory of the first conference:  the green bay packers yoga instructor (who was blonde/blue-eyed and smoking hot) took a shine to me and walked me around the event like i was her pet pyrenees . . . i knew there was no way that she would ever fuck me, but she rejected the advances of several corporate lawyers and a green bay packer in favor of her new/chubby puppy . . . my main memory of the second:  being too fucked up at 10 a.m. to sit in a classroom with my peers . . . at the previous night’s dinner, i scoped out all the single women on the room and zeroed in on my #1 choice (a mousy grad student from the university of wisconsin) . . . i made small talk with her at the table towards the end of the evening and made up my mind to sit with her the following morning--the topic of the presentation never really matters to me because virtually all academic presentations are boring/pedantic, and the speaker is always self-absorbed . . . i don’t actually remember what drug i did that morning, but i was way too fucked up to sit in a tiny room with other people . . . i think i could have handled a giant lecture hall, but the grad student chose to listen to the speaker in a small room and i had made up my mind to sit with her . . . i sweated through my blue shirt almost immediately, and my face turned a bright shade of crimson . . . then i started to cough--and i coughed and coughed to the point where the speaker moved away from the podium and asked me if i was alright . . . someone even sent for a waiter to bring me a glass of water . . . at intermission, i hustled back to my hotel room and pounded a couple bloody marys until i felt normal, but the damage had been done--the grad student never looked at me again, and i got the feeling that people were talking about me whenever i walked into a room for the rest of the conference

The Midnight Rider prefers to remain mysterious.  You could visit his website, but he won't say where it is.  You could read his books, but he won't say what they are.  You could email him, but I'm pretty sure is not a real email address.  In a world where everyone is repping their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, sex tapes, line of clothing, new microbrew, virus panic vaccine status, and overall brand, I find that refreshing.  I am happy to have the Rider ride on drinkdrankdrunk.

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