Driving to work this morning, I kept thinking how much I love my job teaching Mass Comm at Towson University. I am one blessed human being.
I love driving up to Van Bokkelen Hall on campus, the location of my office and classroom. Van Bokkelen Hall. I love that name. It sounds so colleagiate. You know, in a gray pony tail, corduroy sport jacket with patched sleeves, eccentric professor kinda way.
I do not know who Van Bokkelen was, but obviously someone of means and influence. I wish I could have met him or her.
“Hello, I’m Les Potter. I teach in the hall named for you,” I’d say with awe and respect. “Van Bokkelen…are you one of the old Back Bay Van Bokkelens?”
“I beg your pardon!” he or she would probably say. Then you’d have proof positive that he or she were of means. Where I come from, no one ever says, “I beg your pardon.” They just shoot at you.
Mr. or Ms. building namesake Van Bokkelen probably has a first name like Reginald or Natasha. With a last name like Van Bokkelen, you just can’t have a first name like Skeeter or Bessie Sue. It just isn’t done.
My drive to campus from home in Vienna, Virginia, is 65 miles. I love it. It is good thinking/planning time. Cutting through the crisp fall air this morning in my 2003 certified pre-owned, fully-optioned Buick Park Avenue, I thought of my interview for the job back in 2004. After leaving the interview, I loaded my wheelchair and headed home to Virginia. It was then that I received the sign.
I knew I had to have this job, because I received a confirming sign from God right after I left campus. There, right across from the Towson U campus, was a Starbucks. That in itself is no big deal, because you can drive south to Washington, D.C., and see one on every corner, about 2,700 of them in all, I think.
But this was different. It was truly a sign from God that I must work here because the Starbucks had a drive through window! Paraplegia heaven.
I said out loud, “Thank yoooo, JEEZus! For this is truly a sign that you want me here.”
The rest is history. I am now in my fourth year of teaching at Towson, and I love it even more each day, if that is possible.
When I was recuperating from surgery this summer, all 76 days in the hospital, I had a photo of my classroom on the wall. You are probably thinking, “I can see his liking the drive through Starbucks, for that makes a certain amount of sense. But a photo of his classroom?” Strange indeed.
But apart from giving you some insight into my social life, it also represents my love for this job. Heck, at 59-and-a-half, I am lucky to have such a wonderful position. I mean, look at the options available. At my age and with gray hair, plus a B.A. in Communication, an MBA, and an almost-completed Ed.D. in Instructional Technology, I am uniquely qualified to be, well, a greeter at Wal-Mart.
“Hello. Welcome to Wal-Mart. Ya’ll come on in!” I’d say with awe and respect. But I’ll bet I would not greet any Van Bokkelens there. But Skeeter and Bessie Sue would be regulars.
I could sit there in my wheelchair wearing a little blue vest with a big name tag saying LESTER and practice what many consider to be public relations for a 12-hour shift at minimum wage.
No, that’s not for me. I was a fully-engaged strategic communication/PR practitoner for 35 years prior to being honored by Towson with this job. My plan is to finish my Ed.D. and teach for the next 35 years.
I am sure I will love every minute of it. After that, well, there is always Wal-Mart.