In this calm, vacuumlike crucible, Kennedy moves serenely. He takes only 12 hours of courses a week during the basketball season and no more than 15 in the off-season. His instructors fill his head with "cash flow" and "average rate of return" and "capital rationing," in courses like Personnel Management (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) and Corporate Financing (Tuesday-Thursday) and Marketing and various labs (Thursday-Friday), and for the most part he finds he does not have to answer back, only pay attention. He also takes a "fun" liberal arts course called The Education of Exceptional Children. His favorite course this semester is a Thursday-only corporate finance lab, taught to a group of about 20 by a very pretty young woman who wears blue jeans in class and "just happens to be a terrific lecturer. Cool as ice." Kennedy said her class would be worth monitoring even if you weren't interested in cash flow and average rates of return.
"The J-schoolers cover us like nobody's business," said Jim Kennedy. He and Van Rheen had begun their walk to lunch, crossing Hitt Street and moving down Lowry Street in the mainstream of class-bound pedestrians.
"It's like a lab for them, competing like crazy for stories."
"They all look alike," said Van Rheen. "They got that Woody's look—button-down collars, sweaters, plaid pants. If Woody's [a popular men's store] comes out with a new style, they're the first to have it."
Kennedy responded to a beep from a passing motorist, and then a "Hey, Jimbo, what's doing, babe?" He had discarded his favorite cashmere coat for a lighter jacket.
"The M-Bar will be packed today," said Van Rheen. The M-Bar, Kennedy explained, was a little lunchroom in the basement of the bookstore that spilled out onto a large cement bench on good days. "The regulars take their coffee out and watch the girls go by. Some guys spend their entire school lives having coffee in front of the M-Bar. They oughta give credits."
"In the spring we lead the nation in streakers right through there," Kennedy said. "At least we did a couple of years ago. Parades of streakers were running through Greek Town and around the Columns. Remember the one who rode the white horse? A little chubby but nice."
"My favorite was the blonde on the motorcycle."
"I think a couple of the basketball players streaked. And some of the football guys. They oughta give credits for that."
A walk across campus for a basketball player could be alternately exhilarating and humbling, Kennedy said. "One guy stopped me the other day and said, 'How'd you do this year, Jim?' He thought the season was over."