Thursday, May 19, 2011

Proctor Bill

The happiest person I ever met, was Proctor Bill -- the College V night proctor. Probably in his seventies, his job was to walk the hallways from mid-night until dawn. He had retired and sold the gas station he's owned. And after his wife died, he could no longer sleep at night in the bed they had shared for decade. So he made his incurable insomnia into a career choice.

He loved anyone who also stayed up late, and we all loved him. He was more a friendly zombie than any kind of authority figure. He was also a constant source of wise perspective. He said that we really weren't as wild as we thought, the kids who had been their in early seventies used to have nude jello slip and slides at their parties. Of course the nude jello slip and slide became a party fixture after that.  (Although Proctor Bill gave us the idea for the slip and slide, the idea of creating a hot tub for après-slip and slide by sealing-up a cement stairwell and filling it with hot water was all ours.)

I remember one night -- well after mid-night of course -- and we were all sitting in long dorm hall-way. He shuffled by and asked us how we were doing -- we were depressed. He asked each one of us our reasons. It was all the usual college student post adolescent crap: an unrequited crush, a late paper, self-important angst.

After taking it all in, he said, "You should just be like me, a happy idiot" and he skipped down the length of the hallway.

1 comment:

  1. Mark Williams posted to my Facebook page on this: Nice Proctor Bill Story! He once so gently asked me to turn down my stereo at, horrors, 11:15 pm... and I got my 'earlier student years' stories from him also, and from two older students in the singles at the end of the hall. Of course, if I kept walking past their rooms, I would soon walk into the terrifying "Blue Hall", on the opposite side of B-dorm. You grew up there, yes?