Academic Leaders Discover Perpetual Motion, with Acronyms!

He was a part of the university groupuscule. He ran an inside zone wham on me in the hallway.

“This just in: Academic leaders have discovered perpetual motion. It’s the daily special, I mean the weekly, no, the mon…er, yearly special.”

“Wait an itching minute,” I growled. He was just another academic INEPT (Imperialistic Neo-Ego Power Tripper) who needed to agitate his gums.

He said, “Think of that tune from Oliver, Food, Glorious Food. Now sing with me, Change, glorious change, hot, awesome, and mustered.”

“This is yesteryear’s broadsheet. Change management went down with the Hindenburg.”

“Ok you got me. But wait a minute. Listen. There’s this new thing that will make our Institution! So! Much! Better! It’s our STD (Statement of Transformational Decisions) I can give you the STD if you want.

“Uh, the optics.”

“Right you are about perceptions. Our reimagined motto, and this came out of broad stakeholder consultation, will be: Encounter foresight with hindsight.

I heard “counter.”

“In the words of our PRVP, ‘It’s simply brilliant.’”


“Public Relations. We’re all VP’s up here in wonderland.”

I said, “You’re talking about change for the sake of change.”

“Not just change but an MC Hammer can of change. We mean MC! Meaningless Change. Better yet, we mean CMC, Continual Meaningless Change. Better still, CCMC, Constant Continual Meaningless Change. You got to admit U can’t touch this.”

“How often do you bob for your reflection in a pail of water.”

“Reach out here with me,” he said. “You’re either a generator or a degenerate. We need to MTN (Move the Needle). Our core is BORE (Business of Rejigging Education).

“This comes from the desk of DOLT doesn’t it.”

“Now you’re running on limited bandwidth. DOLT (Department of Latent Talents) is onboard with the synergy, but this is part of a bigger institutional TURD (The University’s Restructuring Directive).”

“Everybody’s heard.” I said, “TURD is the word, a part of the whole HUBRIS (Hysterical Undertakings Bringing Rapid Insignificant Results) thingamabob. I’m not really into growth hacks because I’ve been the recipient of MUCK (Multipronged University Cutback Kinkiness) once too many times to buy the bridge again.

“Analog thinking my friend. You need to go omnichannel. Embrace your inner CLICHE (Continual Love of Insignificant Change in Higher Ed).

I felt that the sheds of his mind needed a good sweeping. Then again he was like any ASS (Academic Steering Sort), full of CRAP (Condescending Ruling, Addlepated Posturing). I bit my lip where I once applied balm.

He put fingers on my shoulder, an HR complaint in countdown. “Think about the ex-prof excitement of secondment, dime a daisy up here. In afternoons we do group work, some of us play pop goes the weasel, we devise more WRECK (Widespread Relentless Educational Cataclysmic Kneejerking).

“I’m beginning to manage my expectations. The world is turning beige.”

He got perky. “That’s the spirit.”

“You’re really talking about FIASCO aren’t you?”


I’d luddited him. A sucker punch but I felt I could open the kimono. He didn’t know that I knew the knew is new. I said, “Frequent Institutionally Administered Senseless Change Obsession, FIASCO.”

“Brilliant!” He said plagiarizing the PRVP. It was time to ramp it to the next level.

“And can we engage in CHAOS (Cyclical Hyperbolic Announcements of Shakeups)?”

He was getting giddy. He saw potential. I think he believed he could boil the ocean.

Novelist, poet, a post-studio visual artist, and the founder of The Invisible Art Collective International. Recent novels include “Sundre” and “Garbage Head.”

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