Letters From Cole

You think you know Dr. Robert C. Cole. New Jersey Professor of the Year in 1992. Author, scholar, swimmer, expert on baseball’s barnstorming years. Survivor of overhead-projector elbow and mimeograph poisoning. The tall guy with the Amish beard sitting in the compost pile that used to be his office. But you don’t really know him unless you’ve read his letters. Here then, in imitation of his 1986 Aukword article on notes he received from former

students, are samples of the Cole correspondence file:

May 1983:

“Bob Cole, sports legend, reporting in. No doubt under the influence of my new title, I watched Greatest Sports Legends Saturday for the first time, and I like to puked, as my sainted granny, or my friend’s sainted granny, would have said. One of my boyhood heroes, southpaw pitcher Warren Spahn, was the guest, and I enjoyed seeing the faded old clips of him on the mound, but the TV hype ruined it. They have a young woman named Jayne Kennedy as “host” of the show, and she sits there as one facing a wind tunnel, pushing her hair to the side, mouthing dumb questions. (‘making mouths at herself in the mirror’? – perhaps). And Mr. Spahn, enthusiastic, charming old codger that he is, could scarce suppress the natural desire to pounce on her and drive her through the bedsprings. I like spirits, and I like heterosex, but I do not like the mixing of the two, for the concentration on the one doth interfere with the other, except in the writings of Robert Coover. Well, I’ll never watch it again until they get Charlton Heston to be host.

February 1979:

“You wrote me that doody little note, but I’m answering with a great long letter (and enclosures). I did not, as you requested, edit your letter. I just assumed those were typos.”

December 1979:

“Did that sleazo developer really sue? He hasn’t got a shot at a pisspot, and I hope Chuck knows this. The lawyer did, or he wouldn’t have asked for a retraction, but would have come after you with an icicle enema.”

February 1984:

“I’ve been busier than a chaplain in a whorehouse lately, but I wanted to share with you a couple of articles I recently had published …”

May 1983:

“Well, that’s my sample case, all good folks, just the kind you’d want beside you in the trenches when you’re playing Col. Kirk Douglas and ready to go over the top for a go at the Bosch bazookas – did the Bosch have bazookas? No matter. They’d have used them if they did. And now it’s time for me to shut this mother down and start enjoying summer after I get a dozen other letters written.

Your hum. & obt. svt.,

Bob Cole, s.l.