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It is autumn, the season of foliage and football. The president of the university sits at his desk staring despondently at a stack of unanswered mail. He has had no time to enjoy the foliage. But he has had plenty of football: a good season so far, only two weeks to go till the big game, and that looks like a safe bet. The president has witnessed this progress from the 50-yard line each Saturday, returning to his fireside with the nostalgic aroma of crushed turf and bonfires in his nostrils and the echoes of triumphant cheering and music in his ears. A pleasing prospect, surely. Yet on top of his mail lies the following letter:
P.S. Please don't fob this off on the secretary of the university or the athletic director. I'm sick of their mush.
Copies to class secretary, alumni secretary, alumni magazine, etc.
The president reflects. He considers the athletic office's problem of allocating seats to 60,000 people, half of whom want to sit in one section and the other half in the one opposite, and his mind conjures up an inverted pyramid of humanity with the apex resting upon his own head. He scribbles on the margin of the letter, "Miss Jones—I guess I'll have to answer this," and turns to the next item, a memorandum!
From: Dean, College of Liberal Arts
The president experiences a slight increase in pulse rate. He is soothed by the familiar signature on the next letter, but not for long:
The president looks at his watch. Only 15 minutes before his appointment with the dean of the medical school, then a long session with the faculty committee on liberal education. Two large folders relating to these appointments are still in his briefcase. Yet the mail must be answered, and the next item in the mail is a letter from Professor A:
Dear Mr. President: