As I was packing up my stuff at work tonight, I picked up a piece I have yet to read that was loaned to me by our archivist. It’s from Drury’s 100th commencement back in 1973, and guess who gave the address. Yup.
Bis for Bob Hope
One of my favorite things about my job are the days when I discover random facts about Drury, (One of my favorite things about things is discovering a new little fact. C’mon.) and working at a university lets me encounter random knowledge all the time.
Did you know that Drury’s art collection includes an original Picasso etching? Wait, it gets better: this piece was donated by Tom Whitlock, who studied music at DU in the 70s and went on to win an Academy Award for writing “Take my Breath Away” from Top Gun.
(This one is probably only cool to Drury people. And maybe not even them. But I like it.) I’d always heard folklore about Weiser Gym being an army hangar once upon a time, but I never knew the whole story. Turns out it was a surplus B-29 airplane hangar from WWII, purchased in 1946 and moved from Granite City, Illinois, to be built piece-by-piece like an Erector set.
Okay, so imagine my delight to have this BOB HOPE speech in my paws, a copy of an original typewriter script that he read when he received his honorary degree from my alma mater, 10 years before I was born.
It’s just…I can’t…
It’s like taking a little class in how to write classic jokes.
I am deeply grateful for this honorary degree. I would question the wisdom of the faculty, but I’m too conservative to start a protest…
Anyway, I’m now a doctor. At least I can get on the golf course on Wednesdays…
There’s something to be said for completely separate (not co-ed) dorms. If it weren’t for that, some of you would never get your jogging done…
It’s pithy and political and, of course, dated at points, but I love it. I can almost hear his delivery and want to add rimshots as I read.
…and then he breaks it down:
So, you see, you’ve got quite a responsibility, quite a challenge. And if there was ever a time when Americans needed to live, to laugh, and to pull together, it’s right here and right now. We need people with courage, patience, tolerance, and, above all, a sense of humor. And a person can have that no matter what his age or his hair style.
So there you have it. B is for Bob. And…
B is (also) for Black
[As in, “Many Shades of “]
My iPod brought it up while I was running tonight, and I couldn’t help but smile. Because B, as you know, is also for breakup songs. Not the weepy-sad Bryan Adams / Michael Bolton kind, but the spiteful, badass power-recovery kind. And few are more badassily power-recoverful than this one from The Raconteurs.
Some days, there are no better songs to run to than a song like this.
When you feel in your heart that you’re finally running away from one thing…and running toward just everything else.