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October 6, 2015

Hark, the Harreld angles come

Beau Elliot

In this life, you gotta know the angles first.

My junior-high geometry teacher said that. Or maybe it was my bookie. (Except I don’t have a bookie. Explains why I don’t gamble. Except when I sit down in a poker game with Phil grinning at me, all teeth like a shark, across the table. The University of Iowa has its Phil, I have mine; it’s a giving proposition either way.)

Ah, yes, angles. Some are acute, some are obtuse, just like real life. Just like picking a new president for the UI, which, apparently, is nothing like real life. But then, Carly Fiorina is nothing like real life, and she’s running for president. True life is elsewhere, Rimbaud wrote, and we humans keep proving it.

As many observers, including Ditchwalk, whoever that is, have pointed out, What businessman can’t remember that he never registered his company in Colorado? That his company was registered in Massachusetts? (“Was” is the word here; it appears his company is no longer registered in Massachusetts, either. Of course, appearances can be deceiving. So many angles in this life. No wonder it’s elsewhere.)

That businessman would be J. Bruce Harreld, who will soon become the president of this august institution. (Which will be a November institution when he takes office.)

If we were going to take a sailing jaunt from LA to Honolulu, I wouldn’t want Harreld to be the navigator. We would wind up in Anchorage, Alaska.

Well, Harreld just forgot, you say. OK, sure; people forget stuff. I forget stuff; any employee at John’s could tell you that, given the 3,172 times I have returned to the store five minutes after purchasing a bunch of stuff to pick up what I forgot to buy the previous time. “Forgetful” is my code name at John’s. (What? You didn’t know you need a code name at John’s? You probably registered your company in Massachusetts, too.)

OK, forgetfulness. Angles, angles. But what about Harreld’s résumé?

Specifically, what about the typos? Well, polite people call them typos. Polite people also call civilian casualties in a war zone collateral damage. It sounds so much better than death of innocents.

In his résumé, Harreld describes his work for IBM and how he saved the giant corporation. The one-man savior, apparently. Unfortunately, he refers to IBM as “BM.”

Yeah, I know. Hold the laughter. Or don’t. As we say in this life, “BM” happens.

But in a résumé for a presidential candidate for a major university?

Then, further along in his résumé (it’s a slog, I know), he writes he “lead his team” at IBM. Presumably, he filled them with the toxic element Pb and watched them writhe into horrible deaths.

Well, no. He meant to write “led.” It’s the past participle of “to lead.”

If you or I or pretty much anyone else made these mistakes, we couldn’t get a job as a dishwasher. But, apparently, the state Board of Regents has a different angle on things. Colorado or Massachusetts, IBM or BM, “lead” or “led,” who cares?

Which means, I guess, that a nearly illiterate person is going to lead (that word again) a university famous for its writing programs. Against the opinions of most of the university’s faculty. And staff. And students.

I need to go find some DaDa pills to deal with this elsewhere life.