Church walls of ancient Europe depicted the Dance of Death, a grotesque representation in which the figure of Death takes the lead, followed by dancers of all ages and ranks.
Old chronicles relate that the dancing positions of the skeletons are explained by the fact those who were attacked by the plague ran from their houses, making gigantic effort to restore their rapidly declining strength by all kinds of exaggerated movement.
The University of Kentucky, which has yet to justify its being 139th to some of us, has been on a Dance of Death with Dr. Lee T. Todd Jr. leading. The positions of the skeletons to be found some day, and carbon dating, will fairly well demonstrate when and how the university got the plague, and then tried to cure itself by running around like a head with its chicken cut off.
Carbon dating sometimes ends up in a marriage between carbon and a university, and that is why one of the closest skeletons to the leader of the university will be a carbon guy, also identified by a right pelvis wad of what once was thought of as valuable, but which turned out to be merely green paper. While deemed valuable, that pelvis wad brought down one of the last great rainforest cultures so a substance which is harmful to burn could be burned.
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Others dancing near the leader in the university Dance of Death will be found amid trillions of teeny-tiny wire circuits, choked to death by information, but with wisdom which never got past zeros and ones. These treated information as a commodity to be traded and not thought about, but ended up unable to eat it.
Certain of the university skeletons will be unusually tall. Anthropologists will take centuries to figure out that these tall skeletons ran back and forth on a wooden platform and put a round thing through sort of a circle.
Because of the tall, there will be speculation that these circles were somehow mounted up in the air. If some scientist writes that this game was considered more important than poetry, his paper will not be published.
Some of the skeletons will show traces of being involved in agriculture when hybrid seeds will be dug out near them. Maybe only two or three kinds of seeds, but heck, that's enough if it rains enough and if you put your herbicide, pesticide and sucker control on right and have enough petroleum to farm a couple thousand acres.
Wonder what a shaman skeleton will look like? Will it have a stethoscope around its C-7? Our shaman and shawomen who develop medicines to help you have sex and then new ones to make you want to, shouldn't they call over to the agriculture section and tell them they had better be getting some major food ready? Will we all die because we forgot to ask our doctor if Snotoflex was right for us?
Happily, the skeletons of those who purport to teach others how to teach will litter the Dance. Teaching others how to teach is so inherently dangerous it ought to be outlawed right up there with tobacco.
Where will those university skeletons be who mind the true work of a university? Where will the poets be in the boneyard? Or the teacher who earns one-fortieth of what they pay the guy to teach the tall guys? Near the back, but just as dead.
Any university run by people whose narrow personal interests are at odds with the long-term good of its people is dying, and deserves to. Spending thousands and thousands of public dollars to advertise that a university has a real good president doesn't mean it has one.
Larry Webster is a Pikeville attorney.