The scene: The Lake Arrowhead Conference Center where two men are deep in conversation. Despite the chilly night, they are imbued with purpose. And it is a special purpose - to discourage hope and demonstrate that change isn't possible.
Huddling near a fire, their voices carry above the low wind. A white-haired man wearing a cap labeled Tweedle Dee and a sweat shirt reading I am Gene of Blockhead fame; enlightenment is not my game speaks first.
"The other day, someone asked how I would describe our status on a business card," he says, "and I answered 'getting what we want' because we're in charge no matter what the circumstances. How are we limited?"
His listener is a portly man wearing a cap labeled Tweedle Dum and a sweat shirt reading I am Dan of Gu-errors plenty; my mind is trained to run on empty. He looks at the speaker with a degree of respect akin to reverence. But along with any reverence, he also shows a lack of patience.
"What bothers me most," he says, "are all the critics. If I had wanted the Athletic Department to act professionally, I would have told it to act professionally. I'm glad you're not demanding so-called steps toward 'competence.' I don't have the time."
It's again the first speaker's turn, and the conversation moves forward. "What excites me is hobnobbing at the fund-raisers," he says. "All I do is offer a few platitudes - no overall vision for academics and athletics - and I'm not held accountable for specifics. I'm never asked to defend a decision."
As it happens, the second speaker has not recovered from his pique. "Did I mention the latest tour I've joined?" he asks. "How can I travel if I'm bound to a desk on campus?"
Unfortunately, the wind has picked up, and it is now difficult to hear their voices. But they are finishing a bottle of red wine and seem, in every respect, to be a team. Although their words are inaudible, they appear to finish each other's thoughts with the comfort of two people long accustomed to each other.
The conversation continues with occasional gestures to make a point. But as if good fortune were a listener's friend, the wind dies down again as their meeting ends, and it is possible to hear their voices once more. Their final words, spoken confidently and in unison, are to the point, although perhaps regrettable:
We attend the parties; we tip a glass. We join to form a horse's ass.