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GEORGE DID IT PERCY T. DIORETS Once upon a future time inparadise a slightly undersized angel addressed Saint Peter thusly: "Uncle Peter, I feel that I have a mission to be carried out on earth. There is a university president who keeps saying fervently, 'By George.' That is my name, you know. 'By George,' he says, ? wish I could get my budget balanced.' May I take a leave of absence and go help him?" "That is a commendable idea," said Saint Peter. "We have never gotten around to helping college and university presidents. We have been a little miffed by the fact that each set oftrustees expects their president to be God. Keep your wings covered, your nose clean, and don't stay until molting season." George the Angel arrived at the president's office at good old Southcentral disguised as an efficiency expert. President Poverton was pacing the office clutching bills in his hands and wringing them at the same time—he was quite a bill-wringer. He rushed over to his visitor, "Oh, do come in, sir. By George, I hope and pray that you are a wealthy tycoon come to help us." "I have no wealth," said George the Angel. "Well,just a few dollars—even pennies will help keep the pot boiling." The president, a former chemist, was on his knees, holding out a beaker. "I am an efficiency expert and I have come to advise you." President Poverton radiated dismay. "We have had so much advice, sir, but perhaps our trustees will be impressed ifI consult an efficiency expert. I can't pay a fee, you know." "Let's get down to business, Prexy. Just what are you doing to correct yourproblem? I know that there isn't much income from endowment and private gifts—you will have to make every professor pay his way." 380 Percy T. Diorets · George Did It Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Spring 1963 "Oh, wehave been screw—we have been applying the screws to professors and everyone down to instructors for the past fifteen years. Everyone has to raise his or her own salary, research funds, equipment, and overhead expenses. For the past five years we have required each to pay rent on the space occupied. Ijust can't understand where the leak can be. The football team is paying its way. They are doing very well, in fact, and I wish that we could make them proud ofus." "What about your vice-presidents and their helpers?" asked George the Angel. "We have four vice-presidents, and they work to make this university a sound business enterprise." "What are their duties?" asked the visitor. "Mr. Pennymaster is responsible for lawns and security; Mr. Acaloriosis supervises cafeterias, the barber shop, and academic affairs; Mr. Ancipital is in charge ofauto parking and bicycle racks; and Mr. Cerebrolith, who is vice-president ofjanitorial services, is really our best man. He brought pay toilets to the university. He and Mr. Acaloriosis had the most wonderful idea for increasing revenue. ..." At this point the president's voice trailed off. He looked a little sheepishly at George the Angel and did not continue. "But do your vice-presidents and their helpers pay their salaries, overhead , and rent?" asked George the Angel. There was a rustle from the cloakroom and out burst four burly vicepresidents who snatched George the Angel and rushed him out to a long black Buickhelicopter and took offbefore he could say "Heaven save me." "Youse nosey little efficiency expert! Youse know too much, Bub, and now it's coitains." With that they pushed their victim out ofthe helicopter to go plummeting to earth. But George the Angel didn't plummet any farther than he wanted to. He removed his coat and shirt, unfolded his wings, and sailed back toward the administration building. On the way a lady heron came alongside and said, "I don't recognize the species, Mac, but I like your looks, and I am sick ofconforming. Suppose I pick up a supply ofEnovid; we will skip nesting and go find a pad together?" "Find some restless goose and take up glue-sniffing," said George, who found the approach a...


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pp. 380-382
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