Long Jim

Long Jim

I was dreaming of Long Jim Russell the other night. He was teaching a class on something interesting, although I can’t remember what, and I had the pleasure of being one of the teacher’s pets – but, of course, everybody in that class was teacher’s pet. (And his name was not really Jim Russell, but it might as well have been.)

At one point during class, we all had to do a little play on a story-book character. Me, about midway through the presentations, I said out loud, (right after someone else who wasn’t prepared had just taken his seat — and was going to get a talking-to by Long Jim later – on the phone – bad form to dress someone down in public).

I said, “Who am I supposed to give my presentation on?”

Long Jim looked at me and mouthed, “Jim Russell.” I couldn’t make it out, and turned to a classmate for help.

“Jim Russell,” my fellow classmate said.

Thank God, I knew about Jim Russell. And now that I think about it, I could make up anything I wanted about him, anyway…

…And it would be true.

The thing is, I had been reading a Time magazine article about him — it had been swiped before I was able to finish, but I had read enough to get by (and I wanted the magazine back). The part that I sort of remember reading was that Jim had piloted a biplane into a living room, and had plowed into a life-sized leather sculpture of a cow that was perched on the grand piano.

He was that kind of guy, you know. Sort of out of Great Gatsby, without the depression, or Indiana Jones, the archeologist who could fall into a pit of poisonous snakes and make it out ok.

So, I could say, “Well, everyone knows Jim Russell – We have our very own rendition lazing about teaching our class. Look no further.”

Thank god, I’d be able to manage, even though I’m having the “Here-I-am-again, in the old I’m-late-for-class – there’s-a-test-today, and I-haven’t-studied dream.

But who gives a damn? You don’t have to prepare, if you are going to give your presentation on Jim Russell!

Jim sent me down the hall to look for someone, and while I was at it, I searched for the magazine, but I couldn’t find it.

Oh, well.

But enough side-tracking. “Sure, I can give my talk,” I said to Jim. “No problem.” And I started for the front of the classroom.

“Not now. When I call you,” Jim said, dashing my hopes of getting the darn thing over with – he was going to call me last – or next to last. That’s what happens when someone thinks you are less scared than the others because you’ve done it before – so everybody else gets the break – know what I mean?

Anyway, at some point, I had heard that there was a teaching position open at a small college, and I knew that Jim was going to be offered the job. I told Jim about it — warned him you could say — and he had just rolled his eyes in disdain.

And then, there we were, Jim and I at lunch with the college president, who was obviously looking for a lead-in. I gave it to him.

“I heard there’s a job opening at the college,” I began… the college pres jumped right in. “Yes, he said and, I finished for him, “And you want Jim to take the job.”

“Yes,” the college pres said.

Jim started gesturing with his hand, like he was trying very hard to coerce a “yes” out, but couldn’t. He’d open his mouth and close it. Looked very sorry. But no words were coming out.

“The answer is obviously, No,” I finished for Jim.

I had a great deal of fun. It’s terrific to be teacher’s pet, especially when he’s dashing, handsome, fortune’s child, and dressed in Lauren and Gucci.

Ps. Jim is a friend of Jack Daniel and Johnny Walker. Did you know that? I definitely have a crush on him, but, of course, would never tell him…