31 January, 2012

Bill on Bath (not in the Bath)

Bill Sheasgreen, London Center Director of long standing, has been to Bath more times than most of its visitors.  Not to make too direct a comment on his age, there are rumors that he helped build the baths themselves.

Claire Mokrauer-Madden: Hi Bill!  It's been a while since we last caught up.  I hear you're just back from Bath?
Bill Sheasgreen: Yes, I was there last weekend.  It's one of my favorite destinations.  Though I have cut back to only going twice a year, I always look forward to it.
CMM: Ok.  That's nice.  What I'm more interested in is dispelling rumors-
BS: It wasn't me.  Heather or Sarah did it!
CMM: I'm not sure what you're referring to, but that probably isn't the answer.  No, the rumors that you have a long standing history with the Baths.  Possibly even an ancient history?
BS: Yes, that's correct.  I go way back the Bath, Heather and Sarah don't.
CMM: Is it true that you helped build the baths?
BS: Which incarnation do you mean?  Mostly I can give yes as a blanket answer to that question, except I had nothing to do with the Georgians.  John Wood the Younger and I didn't get on.  It has to do with a dispute at Cambridge that I won't bore you with.
CMM: Yes, it's best that way.
BS: However, I did work with the Romans, and the Celtic Brythons (or CB's, as they like to be called).  Let's not start a game of Guess-Bill's-Age, all I'm saying is that I'm pretty excited about the Y's dinner menu for seniors.
Senior Citizen Specials...

CMM: To what extent did you work with the CB's and the Romans?
BS: Before gaining enough world experience to pursue a career in academia, I was a brick layer.  There's a little known fact about me.
CMM: Indeed, I wouldn't have guessed you have a bricklaying background!
BS: Yes, it was the family business, and I was very good at it.  But I didn't work with the CB's in the capacity of a bricklayer.  I was a devotee of Sulis and had the responsibility of washing dishes in the spring water for our community.  It was a real honor, and to this day I'm very good at washing dishes.
Talking shop about washing dishes

CMM: That's true, I can commend you as a dishwasher.  You seem to have an affinity for fellow dishwashers when hiring faculty.  Is that where your bias comes from?
BS: I hope it doesn't appear as a strange form of nepotism, but seeing dish washing experience on a CV wins a candidate points in my book.  I also look for synchronized swimming as a hobby of job applicants.
CMM: Is that why you hired me?
BS: It was a factor.
CMM: Back to the baths, how did you go from washing dishes to working with the Romans?
BS: The changeover was pretty easy.  It was clear that Sulis and Minerva were incarnations of the same deity.  The Romans told me I could keep my dish washing rights in their new temple if I helped them build it as a brick layer.  It was one of the easiest yes answers I've ever given in my life.  Since then I've been taking students back to see my handy work.  I try to be humble about it all, but I really am very proud.
CMM: As you should be!  Thank you so much for not letting me interview you!  It's a pleasure making up what I think your side of these surreal conversations should be.
I made this!

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