Renowned campus leader and admissions office model Danny Anderson is a familiar and accessible face around Trinity, but for years he has remained elusive about the contents of his desk. In order to get to know the real Anderson, and to finally dispel any rumors of the alleged campus self-destruct button in his office, Anderson graciously allowed me to interview him from his hidden lair underneath Murchison Tower, where we explored the mysterious depths of Anderson’s desk drawers.
INTERVIEWER: So right off the bat, I can tell that most of your interior desk space is crowded with balled-up Trinity University T-shirts. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
ANDERSON: Well, since the admissions office is constantly printing new ads designed to fill up the mailboxes of unsuspecting high school seniors, I have to be ready for whatever photoshoot they’d like me to pose in. Between the emails, pamphlets and jumbo dorm posters with my face on them, I have to always be ready to throw on a maroon t-shirt and display my trademark “Danderson smile.”
I: I see. And what’s taking up all that space in the drawer on the left?
A: Ah, that’s my 6th-edition copy of “Mad Libs: Apology Edition.” This is how I try to contain 95% of controversial crises at Trinity. Here, let me show you an example. Give me a noun and a verb.
I: Just off the top of my head? How about “video” and “endorse?”
A: (After some quick scribbling on his Mad Libs booklet, filling in the various blanks, Anderson set his pen down and began to read.)
A: It is with deep regret that we here at Trinity apologize for recently creating a “video” that caught the negative attention of our alumni and students. The intent was not to “endorse” any specific view, but rather to show the potential of a liberal arts education in the twenty-first century. We hope that our community can work through these divisive thoughts and remain united. We must welcome conversation.
I: Impressive! I feel strangely at peace, as if I can’t even remember what I might have been mad about.
A: Thank you, I’m very glad that the apology was effective. You don’t know how … happy I am to hear that.
At this point, Anderson, with three small beads of sweat on the back of his neck, looked intently at a spot directly under the center of the desk, giving a half-convincing “Danderson smile.”
I: What are you looking at there?
A: Oh, nothing. Just … pondering our campus’ values.
(Slowly, and with trembling hands, Anderson picked up the pencil on his desk and scrawled a hasty message on a Trinity notepad: “Please ask your next question. The board is listening.”)
I: Well, Dr. Anderson, I’ve learned a lot about you so far, but I have to ask: What about the campus Master Plan? Do you keep it here?
(After I said this, I thought I could hear a quiet grumbling emanating from beneath the office.)
A: “It?” I think you meant to say “her.”
It was then that the entire room started shaking, quivering to an entrancing, pulsating rhythm. Anderson’s face grew white.
A: You seem to have made her a little upset.
He looked around, fearfully.
A: I don’t think a mere Mad Lib will help you here.
I promptly exited the premises in a cold sweat. President Anderson’s desk is certainly full of wonders, some innocent enough; others, sublime. From my experience with Anderson’s desk, I gained a greater appreciation for the hard work and effort Anderson puts into improving this campus and community and a lot more respect for the president’s future plan for Trinity.
This is a work of satirical fiction produced for the 2018 issue of the Trinibonian.