This just in: Glorietta Schmalkov, International philanthropist and President of the Goochey-Wa Subsidiary of Universal Motors, arrived at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, just minutes ago. She is to be the Guest of Honor at a reception tonight following the International Peace Symposium. More news to follow.
To be truthful, I got my Ph.d for all the wrong reasons. I’m a working class intellectual and that’s pretty much the way I like it. Did I have something to prove? Well, not exactly, but because I had always been with so many people who had doctorates, some people used to assume that I had one, too. I would feel a sense of depreciation when I’d have to set the record straight, and then watch, in my mind’s eye, the fickle needle of their “estimometer” bob downwards. Plus, after a while, it just became an issue of relative deprivation. Having a Ph.d, though, is most thrilling for me because now, when people say, “Oh, Dr. Schmalkov…,” I can interject with an unassuming “Just call me Glorietta!” Ah, such understated largess! Now that’s real class!
But this is where my story begins. I was invited to present my doctoral dissertation at a foreign language conference which was being held in a southwestern university. I had rented a car at the airport and after what seemed like a long time of driving through a rocky lunar landscape of dusty white caliche, the GPS directed me onto a narrow gravel road which quickly descended into what looked like a giant excavation. I slowed down and found a small patch of level surface, and very gingerly tried to make an economical “K” turn. The left back wheel took a crunchy dip, and now the whole car was sliding precipitously backwards down a scree slope. Uuufff! My head banged against the door as the car flipped over. Everything went black. When I opened my eyes, there were some University security guards there who knew who I was. Although I was somewhat shaken by the experience, I was so relieved by the presence of this one guard in particular. He was so nice and lighthearted, and he told me not to worry, that what I needed was a Goochey-Wa. “A Goochey What?” I’d asked. He repeated, “A Goochey-Wa!” He explained that it was a new Japanese contraption, a lightweight motorcycle that was equipped with towing winches (for lack of a better term) and special tires that could crawl up and down the sides of ravines thanks to a system of anteater-like tongue apparatuses on the surface of the wheels. These skinny, rubbery tongue-like lashes could be ejected and retracted up to one hundred and fifty times a minute from the surface of the tires upon contact with the terrain. Once these “tongues” were deployed, they could quickly snake around and pry themselves into little cracks and chinks, thereby stabilizing the vehicle as it navigated just about any terrain in which it found itself. It was solar powered, and made no noise. There were no hooks on a Goochey-Wa, because this baby didn’t drag anything—it gently picked up its prize and carried it off. Nothing got shoddy treatment. Why? Because the towing winch, called a “flowing winch,” was nothing as analog as a reel and pulley system. These cables were more like whips which jettisoned forth from a large vertical protuberance from the center of the motorcycle which also happened to be the back support of the driver’s seat. These long whips, just like the material on the wheels, were made from a special nanorubber, perfect for rescuing dead vehicles, desperate people, and panicked animals. This nanorubber had special galvanic properties–when stimulated by the least amount of moisture, it had the ability to cling electrostatically to just about anything, even a sheer rock wall. When it was in action, the Goochey-Wa looked like a crazed sea anemone gone fly fishing. “Yep,” said that nice, sweet security guard, “what you need, Dr. Schmalkov, is a Goochy-Wa.” “Just call me Glorietta,” I said.
I woke up in the hospital babbling about the Goochey-Wa. They told me that I had been comatose ever since my head had hit the door. I was incoherent at first, but then, although I remember none of what initially took place in the hospital, they tell me that I demanded to see the President and CEO of Universal Motors immediately to tell her about my Goochey-Wa. Not only did I appear lucid enough to describe in detail what I had seen and heard in the coma, but I also had a top-notch patent attorney retained on my behalf to be present at this meeting. They tell me that I negotiated an air-tight deal for myself in which I would be the President and CEO of Universal Motors’ new subsidiary, Guchey-Wa, and that I and my designated heirs would retain perpetual, exclusive rights to the manufacture, sale and use of the Guchey-Wa. The World Court would ensure that the Goochey-Wa would only be used for peacetime activities and never for violence, the exploitation of people, animals or the environment, or for any other nefarious deeds whatsoever.
What did I do when I really regained my full consciousness? I laughed with incredulous joy! My husband was there and he told me everything that had happened. I almost didn’t believe him, so he showed me the picture in the New York Times (the online version, of course), and sure enough, there was a picture of me wearing earrings, lipstick and a string of pearls. Although it wasn’t my best picture, I have to admit that the accessories really jazzed up that hospital gown.
“Thank you so much, Dr. Schmalkov, for this fascinating interview.”
“It was my pleasure. And…just call me Glorietta.”
Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_50_in_Nevada