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I See Elsie

The Ithaca College London Centre

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Posted by Claire Mokrauer-Madden at 12:11PM   |  Add a comment

Bill Sheasgreen: It's time to turn things around.

Claire Mokrauer-Madden: Pardon?

BS: Today I interview you.

CMM: No thanks.  I'm not as interesting as you are.  Only people at the ICLC who have bad blood with Sir Paul McCartney are eligible for interviews.

BS: Only people who have bad blood with Sir Paul McCartney are allowed to work at the ICLC.

CMM: Are you suggesting I should pick a fight with a knight to keep my job?  That must be discriminatory in some way.  It's certainly discriminatory against knights of the realm.

BS: Not against knights in the plural.  There's only one knight we are discriminating against.

CMM: Remind me again how many restraining orders he has out against you?

BS: I think we're veering off topic now.  Back to you.  How's your summer going so far?

CMM: Not great.  It's long been one of my life goals to make it into the Olympics, and so far things aren't going so well.  My background in synchronized swimming just isn't strong enough, my 12.5 hour marathon time wasn't good enough to qualify for that team, and I'm not a citizen of a country that it makes no sense to have a bobsled team for.  I'm really beginning to despair here.

BS: I believe the Brazilians are introducing a knitting/unicycling biathlon in 2016.  Fancy trying out for Rio?

CMM: Hmm, sounds like something I might be able to pull off.  What's the competition like?

BS: Canada is the only other competing country right now, but I believe the word on the street is that the Russians and the Yemenis are putting something together, too.

CMM: Ok, well that's one possibility.  Any other ideas?

BS: Swimming?

CMM: Hmm, that's very competitive.  I would have need to start training for that about 25 years ago.  I think I'll give that one a miss.

BS: Even if I told you that a yogurt pool is being introduced into the winter games as a complement to the water pool used in the summer games?

CMM: Eating yogurt for breakfast is a wildly different world away from trying to swim in it.  But it does remind me of the time my friend compared reading the novels of Henry James to trying to run knee deep through mud.  Which further reminds me of more strange comparisons and brings to mind a Michael Jackson documentary that said something was as difficult as trying to drag a wet mattress up a spiral staircase or trying to staple a jam sandwich to the ceiling.  Then they showed what both those activities would look like.  I'm really not sure what they had to do with Michael Jackson.

BS: Yes, I've tried the mattress thing.

CMM: [questioning look, no other response]

BS: You see, it was a dark and stormy night.  My friend Paul and I...

CMM: Stop right there.  This will not become yet another interview all about Paul McCartney.  If he takes out a super injunction disallowing the publication of interviews where you talk about him, these interviews will cease to exist.  Please try to play nicely.

BS: So, back to your Olympic aspirations.  Have you tried out for anything in the 2012 Olympics?

CMM: Not exactly, but I wonder if getting to and from work will turn into an Olympic event.  I can imagine the commentators saying, "Ooooooh!  Another bus on diversion!  It's not as if we didn't see that coming, we just didn't expect it on this road!"

BS: Yes, I heard they were getting Gary Lineker and Alan Hansen to cover the bus games.

CMM:  Hmm, "Bus on diversion" does sound best in a Scottish accent.  Almost makes it all worth while.  

BS: And supposedly they will have Boris Johnson himself commentating on the journey's of the Boris Bike cyclists.  Have you heard about the training regimes those cyclists are undergoing?

CMM: No, do they have to do special training?

BS: Yes!  Some of the stands will have decoy bikes parked in them, so if any novice cyclists enter the competition, they might become seriously stumped at being confronted with a rack full of out-of-commission bikes.  

CMM: Tricky!

BS: Yes, it should be very good fun.  I think Boris will get a real kick out of it.

CMM: I would have thought at least some aspect of his career would have depended on those bikes being a success rather than a burden.

BS: The best bit is that as well as commentating, he will also be out there in the field, repairing bikes as best he can.  After all, he is a seasoned cyclist.  Probably never leaves the house without his bike pump and some tire patches.

CMM: You certainly don't.

BS: So will you enter the cycling competition?

CMM: Possibly not, but I like the concept.  I may try and get tickets for that one.

BS: Well, this has been fun, but I really should get back to directing the London Center.  Any parting advice?

CMM: I'll have to defer to the wisdom of my favorite elephant jokes.  Who has four feet, none of which fit into glass slippers?  Cinderelephant!  I'm here all week.  Thank you and good night.


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