The Secret Life Of John J. Marchaunt.

As part of its ongoing "Eye To Eye" series, this week the Pantomime Horse brings you a special guest column, written by Mr. John J. Marchaunt, a 38 year old mid-level bureaucrat at the Boston University Office For Making Things Difficult. The Pantomime Horse hopes you enjoy Mr. Marchaunt's perspective on the Boston University Community as much as it enjoys getting funding from the NEA for this, and that you may also now, indeed, see "Eye To Eye."

Hello, everyone. My name is John, and I work at your school. Most of the day, I used to just sit around filing carbon copies of guest forms, and once in a while I'd make a quick trip to the water cooler. Don't tell anyone, but sometimes, when the boss was out to lunch, I played hearts on my computer! Scandalous, I know!

In an attempt to have more direct contact with our student body, President Westling recently added a University Complaint Department, and I was thrilled to be asked to head this prestigious new branch of the University's ever-stretching arm. Someday, I hope to be a high-level bureaucrat, but for now, I love my new job, mainly because I get to interact with the Boston University students on a daily basis. I've always thought of children to be our national treasure, and you lovely students are no exception. You kids really warm my heart.

On my very first day on the job, a young man came up to me. "Mr. Merchaunt," he said, "I wish to register a complaint. I want to complain about this sexual orientation clause thing. I mean, all it would take is a few little words added, and it would make so many people so happy …"

"Well," I began, "the problem here is that if we protect gays from discrimination, then we also leave the doors wide open for - oh my God! Look at that!" I pointed at the door, and when the student's back was turned, I taped a "kick me" sign to his jacket and hid behind my desk. When he turned around again, I made cricket noises so he'd think no one was around. My job is fun AND rewarding.

Oh, I just remembered another good day! Last week, this group of maybe five or six people came in wanting to complain. This one girl comes up and slams her fist down on the counter, trying to be all tough, but I keep my cool as she says, "Something has got to be done about campus unity! We all go to the same school, but no one knows about anything that goes on around campus!"

"Here," I said. "Have a BUnited button." She tried to give it back to me so she could start whining again, but I just said, "Look. It's right there. BUnited. It's like saying 'be united,' get it? That's unity." Then I pretended to talk to someone standing next to me, even though I was the only one in the office. It was hard not to laugh, but I did debate in high school, so I know how to control my image. They left in a huff, and that's when I knew I was really making a difference on campus.

So I was building a little castle with those leftover BUnited pins when this girl comes in, all properly dressed and stuff, and she comes up to my counter. "I have a problem with Boston University's guest policy," she began. I knew this one was going to be good. "I consider myself to be a responsible adult, and I think an important part of college life is learning how to live on my own. I pay a lot to go to school here, and I want to be able to have my friends over whenever I want. Can you tell me how I'm supposed to learn to be independent at college with an overbearingly dominant administration attempting to control my every motion?"

I paused for a moment, then said, "Miss … I'd like to answer that question with a blast from my novelty air horn." Then I pulled out said air horn and gave her a loud shot of HONK in the face.

She tried to say something about the Student Union's three-pronged attack plan, but I said, "I've got a three pronged attack of my own, you fornicator! It goes like this:" HONK! HONK! HONK! Zap! Right in the kisser! Then she ran out the door crying.

It's days like those that make it worth coming in in the mornings. I just had my first performance review, and President Westling himself said that I was doing a "bang up job communicating the administration's position toward our students." I'm telling you - it doesn't get much better than this … except for Thursdays, when I volunteer at the local Salvation Army.

Man, those needy kids are a laugh and a half.