Saturday, April 9, 2011
Dying Man Says, "Why Won't Anyone Tuesdays with Morrie Me?"
Terminally ill former college professor Geoffrey Grayburn likes to think that he spent his teaching years inspiring the students who took his classes. From behind his podium, he taught everything from Greek Mythology to Modern Lit.
"I like to think I shaped the minds of a few generations," Grayburn says with a laugh. Growing somber, he adds, "So why have none of my former students come forward since my diagnosis to Tuesdays with Morrie me?"
Day in and day out, Grayburn hangs out in his deathbed waiting for the phone to ring. Sometimes he reads a magazine. Sometimes he watches old episodes of Law & Order. But he has yet to spend any day with a former student talking about what a great teacher he used to be. He has yet to sit and listen while someone reads to him aloud from a Shakespeare collection, punctuating every somber moment with teary outbursts and the words, "Please don't die! You were the best teacher I ever had!"
"I stopped by for a visit once," said one former student who wanted to remain anonymous. "But he threw me out of the house when I refused to cry as I carried him up and down the stairs repeatedly while a photographer took touching photos of us spending his last days together."
"I brought him a casserole," said another former student. "But I refused to spoon feed it to him, so he had his videographer ask me to leave."
Says Grayburn, "I would just like to hear the words 'Professor Grayburn! I just heard the news, and I want you to know how great of an influence you were on my life. Yes, I absolutely agree that James Garner would be perfect for the role of you in the movie you're making about your life.' Is it so much to ask for a former student to show up at my door, tape recorder in hand, prepared to write a bestselling book about the time we spend together before I die? One that can be easily adapted into a screenplay? I'm terminally ill, people!"
Until a former student comes forward to properly express sadness over his illness and impending death, Geoff Grayburn will continue to sit alone in his darkened living room reciting, to himself, Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" as he enjoys an evening Jell-o and practices his proud facial expressions for when his film goes to Sundance.