I finally decided on Foreign Teacher's Liaison. I would prefer SPACE STATION AMBASSADOR, but the university may not have enjoyed this title as much as my colleagues and I, so without any further gilding of the lilly, I am now in charge of making foreigners happy. That seems like a good job to me.
"Where do I put my trash?" one colleague asks.
"Can I have food vouchers for my wife and myself?" another requests.
"When will you run everything?" Jim jokes.
I laugh. I remember my friend Xog in college. He jumped on top of my dorm bed and shouted, "Call me the governor!" He took finals of classes he wasn't registered for and then ran out screaming three quarters of the way through. He loved re-arranging the letters of signs to say obscene things. He wore penny loafers with the souls halfway off. He made me feel loveable.
Xog lost his father in a robbery in downtown Chicago.
He called me when it happened.
"Think of your mother and sister," I said. "They need you now."
He came to visit later. I took him around my hometown. I asked him to make me laugh. He told me about B. B. King:
"I went to a concert a couple years ago. I brought that record I showed you. You know the one where he recorded in a prison? I went straight up to him. I said, 'B.B. King you are the greatest thing to ever walk the planet Earth.' He smiled. Then he said, 'Boy, you swelling my head.' "
We walked to the home of THE PATRON SAINT OF VENDETTAS. He was sick and had not cleaned his home for the past two weeks. Xog and I made him soup and cleaned the house. X. called him the "prince of darkness." The PATRON SAINT told him to "get lost."
We walked to the grocery store. He kept calling the PATRON SAINT his "dark lord." He didn't mention what happened. He didn't talk about dropping out of school to help his mom and sister. He didn't feel bad when he cried in my arms. He was just who he was without excuses. He was the true AMBASSADOR. He was my friend.