Goldgar lives out of spite

Steve Martin

In a shocking turn of events, John N. Bergstrom Professor of Humanities Bertrand Goldgar refused to die this year.
Experts are confounded, but Goldgar himself remains skeptical toward the realities of aging. “I understand how this could confuse my friends and colleagues,” said the august curmudgeon, “what with my peppering every conversation with a recitation of pesky medical procedures and my doctors’ dubious pedigrees and all. I’ve just plain been too busy, that’s all.”
While working on the landmark Cambridge project to compile the complete works of 18th-century satirist Jonathon Swift, colleagues wonder whether Goldgar’s persistence in living is motivated primarily by spite.
“It’s been an open secret for a while now that Bert only publishes to make younger professors look lazy by comparison,” explained English department chair Tim Spurgin. “But with the latest surge in his publication output, it seems that he’s more invested than usual in countering the female threats around him with a patriarchal output in what’s still a male-dominated profession.”
Spurgin then proceeded to make a zany pop culture reference that was moderately successful.
Many experts thought that Goldgar’s refusal to retire was motivated at least in part by Lawrence University’s glaring lack of British history courses. “Bill Chaney teaches a course in it, of course, but only up to the point when the English started wearing shoes,” Goldgar was heard to say.
In order to counter this, Monica Rico began teaching a modern British history course so that Goldgar could no longer say that his courses were the only ones “that teach you what colleges ought to teach you.”
Another theory about Goldgar’s refusal to die regards the impending retirement of his colleague Mark Dintenfass.
“Mark was the only one besides me who would teach good sensible writing,” Goldgar admitted. And he made his reputation writing dirty novels.
“With Dintenfass gone, the only good egg of the bunch is Karen [Hoffman], and that’s because I taught her.”
The university has long since given up all hope that Goldgar will retire – in the employment sense of the word. And while the official university line remains supportive of the prolific scholar, administrative officials’ anonymous comments fall somewhere between grumbles and sheer amazement.
Goldgar’s “only friend,” religious studies professor Karen Carr, believes his longevity may be the driving force.
“Bert’s atheism keeps him working,” said Carr. “Since he doesn’t really believe in an afterlife, being difficult, productive, and overstaying his welcome is his heaven on earth.