On the Catwalk

Another Friday night, another class participation fundraiser. You’ll recall a few weeks ago I participated in a talent show to support a theatrical endeavor. Tonight, I participated in the annual “Mr. SAIS” competition, an event to defray the cost of publishing the school’s annual international affairs journal. I flaunted my swimwear, dusted off a Shakespeare monologue with which I used to audition, and strolled catwalk style in a black tux. Not bad for a night’s work.

Aside from what passed as male modeling last night, there were a host of items in a silent auction. Prizes ranged from having a tour of Bologna roads with a native Italian professor who, of course, owns a convertible Porsche, (Seriously, this guy is straight out of Central Casting) to lessons in How to Be A Latin Lover, courtesy of an Argentine. I may or may not have offered my computer skills for anyone unlucky enough to have a machine running Windows Vista.

Regardless, what struck me most about the whole night - and last month’s talent show, for that matter, was the degree to which this group of friends is willing to go to absurd lengths to support each other, cheer each other on, and stick themselves out there in the hopes of creating an environment where people can be their genuine selves. That’s a vanishing thing these days. I sometimes feel like this is a lighting-in-a-bottle period of time for us.

And of course the wheels fell off at some point. They are bound to when you combine farce with self-deprecation and maybe a drink or two. But again, it was all good natured and for a good cause. If anyone of us had political aspirations, there is probably enough digital material to derail those plans quickly. Though who can say, really? We may get to a point where an embarrassing YouTube video makes people more relatable when election season rolls around.

As for me, I was the runner-up. I lost to a man who went the extra mile and deserved his title. I mean, a speedo with suspenders and less body fat than me? How do I compete with that? I don’t. I just cheer loudly for him and enjoy the night with my friends. Back in the library tomorrow.



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© 2020 by Mark Konold