The Perfessor

While we were standing around Jackson Square, looking at maps and trying to decide what to do next, a kindly white-haired gentleman approached us and asked whether we needed any help.

"My wife doesn't like it when I go up and talk to strangers," he said. "So I'll answer just three of y'all's questions.  But no more'n three, y'understand, 'cause more than that and yuh've got yuhself a

We looked at each other for a few moments.  Dan asked the first question: "When does Pete Fountain play at his club?"

"Well, I'll tell yuh, he's here, and he's gone.  And when he's here, he's here, and when he's gone, he's gone, that's how it is with him."

He went on to talk about the eighteen years that he's lived in New Orleans.  He asked where we were from; we told him we were from Canada. He told us he could relate to our sort of weather, as he had been a Communications professor at a college somewhere in the northern United States, and told us a couple of stories about his academic career.

"Then one day, I got into my car and just started driving south.  And every couple hundred miles, I'd stop and ask someone, 'How much snow do y'all get around here?'  And when I got the answer, 'What's snow?' I stopped."

Well, we tried to think what we should ask for our second question, but we couldn't really think of anything worth asking on the spot like that. Of course, since we knew that we didn't know what to ask, we made our second question: "What should our third question be?"

The Professor laughed, and said, "I can see that y'all're intelligent folk.  Are y'all college kids?"  We shook our heads.  "Gonna be?"  We politely explained that we once were, but we'd all graduated some time ago.

He went on to tell us about when he was in the Navy, and was addressing a group of new recruits.

" 'I know what your first question is gonna be, so let's get that out of the way right now,' I told them.  'And what question's that?' one of them asked.  'Your first question is, "where are the girls," and the answer is about fifty miles north of here, in Baton Rouge.'

"The next recruit asked me, 'Am I gonna get in trouble because my shirt and my pants don't match?'  I told him, 'Son, they make the pants in Kentucky, and the shirts over in New York, and ain't none of 'em knows what colour Navy Blue is.

"Then another recruit asks me, 'Can I get a venereal disease sitting on a toilet seat?'  Well, I look behind me to the company doctor, whose lecture is next, and he's shaking his head at me.  So I turn back to the recruit and tell him, 'Boy, I'll tell yuh, you sure can get a venereal disease from a toilet seat.  But it's a hell of a place to bring a girl.'"