A midnight encounter with Bruininks

DonâÄôt get me wrong: I loved President Barack ObamaâÄôs inauguration. Undoubtedly, it was one of the few positive political occurrences I have seen thus far in my Bush-and-Cheney-ridden adolescence. The millions of citizens stretching back into the horizon, singing, chanting and wanting more and more of the man who appears to many like a ray of sun on a rainy day. It was nice, simply put. But my mind has been other places every since I received University President Bob Bruininks video e-mail reply to our questions. We, the students âÄî hence real people âÄî asked and our true president, answered. The man did not swagger or smirk at his MacBook as he reviewed every last question in his boudoir. At his favorite dark walnut table, he tirelessly compiled notes for hours âÄî some sources say days âÄî until that desk was covered with loose-leafed scrawling and empty glasses of water. The video, edited to minimalistic perfection, compiles our deepest concerns: -The money we pay is mostly not going to toward the TCF Coliseum or other construction projects. Private investors and others mostly pay for that. -On average, every student receives 6,000 dollars to attend through scholarships. 12 percent of the students come here tuition-free with Pell Grants, too. -The University will do everything possible to keep down tuition; and reductions in other areas of the budget will only help our president and the University through the hardship. -Bob Bruininks had a hard time adjusting to college life in his first semester. I felt the tingle of his persona ring throughout my body when it had ended. âÄúBruininks!âÄù I shouted to myself. Respected by his community as a man with a vision, resilient through the onslaught of economic peril and gracious in his choice to wear the colors of the team for which he would take a bullet. There was a night last week when I felt particularly Bruininksian, and I decided I needed to see the man. Dressed in the colors of moonlight and subterfuge, I crept along the dark corners of his building until I came to his window; and, throwing my grappling hook onto what window sill there was, I ascended his wall. I pulled myself up by the finger tips and lifted my head just far enough to peek into his office. Candelabras, gold and silver trimmed, lined the bookshelves throughout the room. Strong yellow light quavered and revealed a bull elephantâÄôs head mounted on the wall behind his chair, still gasping for breath. And on his desk I saw a marble bust of a scraggly-haired old cuss who I knew to be Andrew Jackson. My eyes moved back across the room to where dozens of swords, of every nationality and size, hung against the wall: bastard swords , Japanese Tanto Daggers , Katana Swords , dirks and numerous broadswords . Suddenly, in the shadows of the corner, I beheld a faint glow. A spear, as tall as the room, stood alone. As its glow increased, I wondered aloud, âÄúCould it be? The fabled Spear of Destiny?âÄù I pulled myself closer to the window to see better BruininksâÄô substantial wealth. Bang! Someone âÄî something âÄî bashed against the window, and I tumbled to the cold ground. After recovering in the snow bank, I walked away, muttering his name softly in the moonlit glow: âÄúBruininks.âÄù Matt Grimley welcomes comments at [email protected]