Published On: Thu, Jun 8th, 2017

A Professor

Jacob Gelt DekkerOn a little island in the Caribbean was a Professor.  He was all alone, and I decided to visit him. When I entered his library, a spacious room that doubled as debating chambers, a grossly obese man, balancing pince-nez reading glasses on the tip of his nose, was sitting behind a very, large desk. Books piled up on top of the desk, and on either side, on the floor formed a “Pfostenschiltzmauer,” or post-slot wall, with crenellations, rectangular gaps, sheltering the Esteemed Professor from any possible attack. After all, being a Professor on a little island must be a very dangerous job.

The Highly Esteemed Learned Professor was dressed in a blue and red academic gown and wore a square cap on his bulging red-purplish head.  He was ready to defend any thesis, I thought but did not say anything as not to upset him too early in the upcoming debate.

“I am the Provost, and also the Dean of all Faculties, and Chief of Staff of Academic Affairs, and I welcome you, as a visitor in Conquest of Knowledge, “ he spoke ceremonially.

“We thrive on strife, dissension, quarreling and controversy, my dear confrere, but all in good taste and with humor.”

“Professor, when you are compounding all there is to know about your island, who goes out to check the facts?”

“My scouts used to scout every stone unturned on this island, but now I am alone, The last scout left so long ago that I cannot remember, but the precise date and hour are registered in the "Grand Register of all Migrations."

I have to guard all the knowledge collected in these books so that no-one can come in and compromise the truth and nothing but the truth.”

“But Professor, who would come in when you are alone on the island, and who would want to falsify your data?” Who would be interested in these data anyway, but I bit my tongue.

“You are right, that exposure is a contingent liability, but nevertheless a liability that we should defend us against with all vigil and thoroughness. I will stay here behind my desk till my last breath, if necessary.”

I noticed that there was no room for debate with the Professor, but still, I dared to ask a question. “But if you are unable to verify your data, how do you know that they are the truth and nothing but the truth?”

The Professor and his huge body rose from his chair and towered out above his parapet. With a thundering voice he proclaimed, “When the Day of Reckoning arrives, right after the end of time following the Armageddon, all will be explained. And the Academic truth will always remain the truth.”

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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