Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Animated People: Erik Timmerman

Erik had a quirky sense of humor that I didn't always get at first...

When I started at graduate school, money was tight--like so tight that I couldn't afford to get a hair cut during those first couple weeks of classes. I had saved money over the past few months but it was only enough to get me out to Rochester and cover rent for the first month or two with some left over for gas and food. Until I found a part-time job, things like hair cuts were a luxury that I couldn't afford.

At that time, I had taken to wearing a bandana and a backwards-facing baseball cap with the Apple Computers logo that my sister and brother-in-law had given me--their not-too-subtle way of poking fun at the fact that I owned a PC. But, between the bandana and the cap, it kept my often unruly hair in check while I worked and waited for that first paycheck to come in, thus allowing me to retire the cap and return to my usual part-on-the-side-square-the-back 'Rock Hudson' haircut.

So, one day, Erik walked into our Graduate Seminar class, took one look at me and asked me if I bought my hat that way? Looking back on it, the implication was that the cap was designed and sewn to be worn backwards as opposed to just buying a standard baseball cap and wearing it backwards. At the time, I didn't get it...

A year later, I had gotten used to Erik's sense of humor and even reached the point where I could pull one over on him... not often, mind you, but it did happen from time-to-time. Like when we were walking away from his office and he made a self-deprecating joke about his "middle-aged-Dad's" tummy. Uncomfortable with making a joke at the expense of an authority figure, much less someone I liked and respected, I immediately quipped "Well Erik, all this time I just assumed that you were storing up for the nuclear winter."

He laughed, I laughed, and we continued down the hall.