The absent-minded professor

by Akinbiyi Akinlabi

On the first day of his official last semester at Rutgers, Professor Alan Prince felt it was time for his Phonology Seminar, next door. He glanced at his watch, and the watch told him that he had another hour before class, or so he thought. As he reported later, he told himself: “This can’t be right, but I’ll take it.”

Meanwhile members of the class were waiting for him to walk in. Five minutes, then ten, then fifteen, no Professor Prince! There was a perceptible unease. Someone said, “Alan is usually not this late, should we go get him?” Then Akin said, “I’ll go get him.”

He walked into Alan’s office next door, and then:

AA: “Alan, is everything O.K.?”
AP: “Yes. Why?”
AA: “Your students are waiting for you.”
AP: “Oh (XXX unspeakable)”

He packed his things and walked into class, and then spent the next several minutes chiding himself for “squandering” 20 minutes.

Suggested citation:
Akinlabi, Akinbiyi. 2015. The absent-minded professor. In Short ’schrift for Alan Prince, compiled by Eric Baković.

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