David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
A Death by A Thousand Cuts

10/15  A Death by A Thousand Cuts
Below are the top 10 most painful cuts from earlier drafts of It's All Academic.  #1 hurt the most, or should I say the first cut was the deepest.  This is not entirely self-indulgent.  Some readers have asked about what was cut and why.

With my liberal arts background, I have always been struck by major specific clubs like an Economics Club. Were there that many students who wanted to be in a club that discussed Economics the whole time? During my college days, I lived the drama club, the poetry club, and the film club. Those clubs served more as diversions to my day to day courses; however, now as an administrator, I had learned that a lot of students valued these academic clubs that basically supplemented their courses. More power to them, but I'd still prefer meeting in a smoky bar to discuss imagery in Oliver Stone movies than meeting in a classroom on a weekend to discuss trickledown theory, or whatever other economic theory flowed forth. {Thoughts Carter has during first day meeting.  Cut to help with "pacing!" -- See 10/13 blog.}

"Where are Bob and Veronica?"
      "I think Bob went out to make a quick statement about Hartley?" said Victor.
      "Oh, yeah, that's right. The exquisite dead guy." Howard showed no concerns for the boundaries of taste.  {Inserted merely to get in a good They Might Be Giants reference.}

8. "Do you know if she sent this resignation letter to your department, Victor?"
      I beat Victor to a response. "She said she would walk a copy of it over there after meeting with me."
     "As soon as the meeting is over, Victor, go over and confirm you've received it. Make sure our attorneys look at it to make sure it's kosher."
     Howard looked jadedly at Berrian. "Kosher? Do you suspect she wrote it in Pig Latin, Bob?"  {Didn't seem to fit Berrian's character to even ask the question about Linares.}

7.  I laughed. "Don't worry, Dewayne. Caroline, Tanya and I have heard that all before. It was the subject of a painful University Council meeting."
     "Uh-oh. Are you saying I've put myself in some unfortunate company?"
     "We won't name names, but at the moment, you're merely hovering around the outside, not yet a full-fledged member of that fanatical faction."
     "That's a lot of 'f's,' Mark," said Tyler.
     "Yeah, and not the ones I usually toss around."  {Not really Carter's character to drop the f-bomb that much; somehow I had started to blur Carter with another provost I know too well.}

6.  "So, was King arrested for Hartley's murder?" Jacob Hines, President of Indiana's largest charitable organization, Hoosiers United to Stop Homelessness (HUSH) had spoken for the first time. The small, bespectacled black man had just slipped into the board meeting quietly and surprised most of us when he spoke from the far end of the board room table.
      "No, no, Jacob," spoke Oliphant, who also apparently wanted to regain control of the meeting. "No one has been arrested yet. You missed that from the beginning of the meeting."
     "Oh, terribly sorry. Terribly sorry." {Too many characters, especially during Board meeting scene, caused me to delete dear Jacob Hines.  I always hate to lose a good acronym.}

"Uh, sir, before we do that, can we take a potty break?" Howard was already out of his seat when he asked Berrian.
     "Sure. But, let's make it quick. You think you can handle the situation and be back in five minutes, Howard." 
     "The less I handle, the more likely I can do that, Bob."
      "There he goes again, Victor," exclaimed an observably frustrated Caroline as Howard headed out the door, and as I scooted out behind him.
       I hurried up to catch Howard before he got to the restroom. Behind me, I could hear footsteps of one of our colleagues.  "Aren't you worried about pushing Caroline too far, Howard?"
       "Nah, she's joking."
       "How can you tell? She rarely smiles and laughs."
       "I can tell. She gets the touch of a sneer when she's joking."
       "Well, if that's the case, I should have said my joke."
       "What joke?" he asked, holding the men's room door open for me.
      "That if you had to handle it, then it wouldn't take you more than thirty seconds."  {Took too long to set up the final joke here.}

"No one ever listens to me when I tell them to not have children. Anyway, what do you need?"
   "Don't talk to me. Talk to Inuwaye." Alejandro Inuwaye was our soccer coach.
  "Talk to him, I can't even say his name."
   "In-U-Way. It's very easy. You can't score a goal against Boan because our coach is in-u-way." {Too easy to insert jokes built around odd names.}

3.  "Alright, we'll keep it in mind. What else, Veronica?"
    "Nashville could be kind of fun again. We all enjoyed the winery in the evenings."  Veronica surfed her laptop while talking.
    "Nashville!" said Howard with a drawl.
    "My goodness, I would move mountains, with my bare hands, to see Dolly Parton." 
     "Do you ever let up?" asked Caroline. "One of these days, Victor, I am going to file a harassment charge against Shue."  {Part of never-ending opening meeting scene.  Cut for "pacing."}

2. "Ooh, a John Waters reference after an Animal House reference! This retreat is going to be special."
     "Come on, you two," barked Berrian, "let's be serious. Is it a pact?"
    Howard responded, "sure, but I refuse to make a 'pact.'"
    Before Berrian could react, Howard continued. "I'd prefer to make a 'pledge.'" {Not really sure why I cut it.  Maybe too many jokes about pledge and promise in that scene.}

1.   "Do you all bring your families," I asked, "and then stay over?"
       "I won't," replied Hank.  "Since this will be during the school year, my kids will not miss class."
       "Jerry always comes with me," said Veronica. "It helps that we have no more kids at home."
       "When you're single, you always travel carefree," spoke Howard.
       "I'll have to check with my wife," said Victor. "My sons are old enough to be left alone, so she might come."
        "Don't do it, Victor" cried Howard, slapping the table. "You'll come home to find all the furniture moved out of the family room, beer cans under the bed, and probably a passed out teenager in your hedge in his underpants."
        As usual, I found Howard's bantering addictive. "Wait a second, Howard? Are you saying the teenager will be in his underpants or the hedge will be in his underpants? Because those are two much different storylines."
       "Besides, Howard, we don't want to hear about your wild growing up years." Hank had gotten up to pace the room.
{Part of long opening meeting scene.  Inside joke.}