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Greek is so worked up, he wakes up in a rotten mood. He snaps at everybody in the family. It's a plot: Who took his gold chain and hid it? In the breakfast nook he rips into the poor fruit. "I'm crazy," he moans. "I could be in Green Bay, Wisconsin making $4,500." Not only that, he is going to Cleveland the next day to address the Jaycees' national convention for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Another freebie. "I'm giving this whole weekend away," The Greek whines. Joan and Stephanie take turns trying to bolster Jimmy's spirits.
But The Greek groans all the way to the campus. Joan is driving the Cadillac. The Greek hasn't bothered to get a driver's license since he moved to North Carolina. That way, everyone has to cart him around at home, just as they do on the road. The Greek believes in limousines as the last refuge of the gentleman. He snaps at Joan when she makes a wrong turn. The Greek knows the area well because he first came to Durham, to Duke, for the famous rice diet. In fact, he came back and took the rice diet several times. The Greek points out where he used to cheat by taking a shortcut when the dieters were sent out on a walk for exercise. This is one of the reasons why he kept repeating the rice diet. Another: "He eats all day and blames it on us," Joan says. It is the same as everybody misplacing his gold chain.
Joan drives up to the lecture hall. "Oh, no," The Greek cries. "Look at all those brainos."
"Just stress your 10th-grade education. Daddy," Stephanie says. "They'll love you."
"I could be making $4,500 in Green Bay, Wisconsin," The Greek says, squeezing out of the Cadillac.
Inside, he meets with Barber and takes his seat, eyeing all the graduates. Now it is his turn to speak. He stands, and right away makes a self-deprecating joke about "being a little Greek boy from Steubenville, Ohio with a 10th-grade education." The crowd laughs with him. Stephanie smiles. The Greek has them. So he tells them how much his house cost. Stephanie frowns. Then he settles in and starts talking politics—about betting on Harry Truman, about telling Governor Jimmy Carter that he was a 100-to-l shot, about the upcoming election. He makes Reagan a big favorite. He says Reagan would like to pick Laxalt as his Vice-President but will probably settle on Bush. This is six weeks before the convention; it is as if The Greek has a crystal ball.
The brainos listen attentively. The Greek is knowledgeable and entertaining, and in the question period that follows he gets most of the questions. Professor Barber concludes with a summary and thanks the panelists. Afterward, The Greek is like a little boy. "Did you hear?" he says. "Barber mentioned my name three times. Three times! He really meant what he said. Did you see the way he shook my hand?"
The Greek was in a terrific humor the rest of the day. The wire services picked up his odds on the election. "Did you ever see anybody make so many front pages without dying?" The Greek asked. It was the Snyders' 28th anniversary, and before dinner the family had caviar and Dom Perignon. Jimmy said the caviar cost $16 an ounce.
Then for a moment he grew pensive. Something was on his mind. "You know," he said, "a few months ago Joan read that Professor Barber was giving a speech. I went over to Duke to hear it, and afterward I went up to him and said we'd like to audit his course." The Greek shook his head; this had been on his mind. "He thought we were just saying that. He didn't think we were serious." That had hurt him.
The Greek is serious. His mother wanted him to be a Greek Orthodox priest. She knew her only son was very smart; he was always a quick study. Once Jimmy had lunch with Arnold Palmer and they were talking about the wind, the grass, the most arcane elements of the sport. "Come on," Palmer said to Jimmy. "Let's play nine."