April 1, 1992
up fairly early, anxious to see what kind of people we'd attracted
with our authentic-looking flyers. My heart sunk when I poked my head
into the room. The only person who didn't belong there was an ancient-looking
man, sitting in a corner by himself in the back. I entered, against
my will. The old man asked Jean [Prior], who was writing stuff on
the board, if this was the right place to be for "Dr. Science."
She told him it was. Then he asked, "Where is this Mekon University?"
I almost fell over with humiliation. I couldn't witness this, so I
left the room.
Cathy [Nelson] arrived, I told her about the situation and about how
terrible I felt about it, dragging this poor guy out on an evening
for some pathetic practical joke. It would have been one thing if
we'd attracted some grad students, people I felt could take it. But
I couldn't handle playing a joke on this innocent-looking old man.
I swallowed my chagrin and walked up to the man, explaining to him
as gently as I could what was going on. He tried to take it with some
sense of dignity, and he told me that he intended to stay anyway and
see what was going on. I gave him a newsletter.
things worse, Mark "Dr. Science" Sachs was extremely late.
The old man hung around the back of the room, waiting. Everybody,
like me, was too embarrassed to talk to him. When Mark showed up and
went into a prepared skit, the old man quietly slipped out of the
in the meeting, I stood up and publicly apologized to the rest of
the club for being responsible for the incident, promising them I
would never do anything like it again.
comforted me, telling me I was being too hard on myself.