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Sleeping through history class

March 3, 2010

My friend Edward Portobello saw my recent post on While Washington Slept Here and couldn’t resist telling me this story about the book’s author, Prof. Eugenia Ball. Full disclosure here, Portobello is also a history prof and is also a George Washington expert. Portobello teaches at Custis College in Va. (I seem to remember something about Edward and Eugenia being involved at some point, but I can’t remember exactly. But that’s just gossip and not fit material for a high-toned blog such as this) [Although now I do recall some story about her tossing all his things onto the muddy front lawn of the Custis president’s house when they broke up. But maybe that was an old girlfriend of mine or maybe my uncle told me that story the night we were lost in Tegucigalpa.]

Portobello’s story:

“…soon after Eugenia’s book was published, she walked into class and all her students were stretched out on the floor asleep. She was taken aback by this, suspecting at first some type of sexual cult then perhaps that terrorists had unleashed sleeping gas into the school’s air system. So Eugenia donned the gas mask she keeps in her desk for just such an occasion. The students, seeing her standing on her desk in her gas mask could maintain their composure no longer. They burst out laughing. When Eugenia asked them why they were all sleeping when she came in, they reported they were conducting dream research. One said he was reconstructing the dreams of Andrew Jackson, while another reported she had intercepted all the dreams of the Marquis de Sade and offered to relate them in detail to the class. Eugenia turned beet red and ran from the room still wearing the gas mask. Later, she threatened to flunk them all unless they each bought a copy of her book. So the book’s sales figures are a little inflated.”

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From → culture, jests

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