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'Michael Tanner: The Song'

(As sung by Dick Jensen, Nancy Loshkajian, and Paul Whitworth at celebration in Michael Tanner's honor)

Part One: Tanner - The Youth

So bright was the babe Michael Tanner
A prodigy, destined to win:
I had talent galore, good looks and what's more
A boyish and Pepsodent grin. I surpassed all my peers in the sandbox
Wore a genuine Decoder Ring
With which I could translate Ma Goose and
At the drop of a hat I would sing
At the top, of my lungs!
I was fluent at birth in fourteen foreign tongues!

My brain was like magic, the kids found it tragic
I thought in math-matics, alas!
And I hit a nerve when I shattered the curve
In my second grade calculus class.
But, oh what is worse is I'd done it in verse
At once both exquisite and somewhat perverse
My pappy was quite happy
My mamma just thought me divine
They nurtured and praised me, so carefully raised me
By methods approved at the time.

When twelve, I was still wearing knee pants,
But to Stanford I went with no qualm
It doesn't seem right but I was so bright
They practically gave me the farm
I learned all about engineering
Applied myself both day and night
But though it was invigorating
I knew something wasn't quite right
Packed my bag, and guitar
And found what I'd missed with my feet in the Loire!

Oo la la! I soon cried with Eileen by my side
My language skills reaching new heights,
My time has been wasted, adventure untasted
I'll live here the rest of my life
I'll eat escargot and I'll call water "eau"
And speak in a string of beaux jestes and bons mots
Engineering's not endearing
When compared with baguettes and berets
And bohemian nights are replete with delights
That rival bohemian days.

Part Two: R. Roscoe Tanner

Whenever I go to the office
I sport a conservative tie
A suit and gray socks, a plastic lunch box
Containing some lunch meat on rye
I carefully drive to the campus
The very first one to arrive
Then prudently cover my Nissan
Until I drive homeward at five
What a life! What a bore!
But if you watch closely you'll see something more!

Beneath all that gray, tennis whites gleam away
They're just waiting till they can appear
And under my jacket a splendid new racket
Is making a bulge in the rear
I slip by the floor with my name on the door
And escape to the courts from 8:30 to 4:00
My service makes men nervous
And my bankhand just puts them to flight
At the net I'm sublime, it's six-love every time
Whenever I don tennis whites!

Part Three: What do you think I am - a bank?

When EVC Tanner took office
The deans came requesting more cash.
They said, "What a shame, and we think you're to blame
We must have more money and fast!"
I resisted their pressure and told them,
"It's not quite so simple, you see.
You've got to manage your budgets
And find other means besides me.
Don't you know? Times are tight.
There isn't more money, there's no change in sight."

They acted so tragic. They wanted some magic,
But no silver bullet was there.
Said one dean with glee, "I need more FTE
Or my NRC ranking won't fare!"
"You must understand, I use no sleight of hand
I don't have resources, and so you must plan
To raise money. T'would be sunny
If you found a donor or two.
There's no easy magic, stop looking so tragic.
I know there's much more you can do."

The deans quickly took up the challenge.
The stock market rose to its best.
The dollar grew strong and it wasn't too long
'Til donors coughed up with more zest.
With challenges met, I considered
The pleasures of scholarly thought
Back to my research and teaching,
Combined with devotion to sport.
Don't you think it sounds grand
To leave all those headaches and financial plans?

They acted so tragic, I wanted some magic
More freedom and fun in my life
Said MRCG, "Please remain EVC."
And I said, "But the time, is just right!"
I knew there was more; yes! That knock at my door!
I remembered a promise I'd made years before
To the theater. Nothing sweeter:
A chance to break out of my cage.
And how Michael's story transformed into glory,
We'll reveal when we next take the stage.

Part Four: The Next Chapter

One day, it was back in the eighties
A knocking was heard at my door
Opportunity came, Audrey Stanley by name
To ask me if I'd tread the boards!
I said I was frankly delighted
My ego was ready to burst
But then I collected my reason:
Of course I would need to rehearse.
Eighteen years! That's a lot!
But when my debut came, mon dieu, was I HOT!

I acted so tragic the house rose like magic
They thought my Macbeth was sublime
To honor my knowledge, they gave me Cowell College
They threw it one brick at a time
Then old Lady Maccers who really was crackers
Removed every stitch and appalled all the backers
The curtain was now certain
And I was not e'en out of breath
They threw eggs and potatoes, organic tomatoes
The night I appeared as Macbeth.

I rented a hall on Pacific
Invited my colleagues and friends
I worked pretty hard at decoding the bard
Embracing post-modernist trends
I added some jokes in the middle
A scene where I play the guitar
I rewrote a much snappier ending
To teach at my next seminar
Poor old Bill. Couldn't write.
But now that I've fixed it he'll sound pretty bright.

I acted so tragic the house rose like magic I wished Patrick Stewart could see
But he's out in space and then someone quite base
Suggested that's where I should be
A man said "I'm blessed if he isn't crossed dressed
Oh give us a break and give gender a rest"
With a bodice like a goddess
And a boa that choked me to death
In my shimmering gown, four inch heels and a crown
Zut Alors! I excelled as Macbeth!

The planning committee for the Michael Tanner roast was chaired by Leslie Sunell, and committee members were Judi Hance, Kate Hawley, Ernie Hudson, Liz Irwin, Dick Jensen, Nancy Loshkajian, Jeff Rockwell, and Paul Whitworth. Song lyrics were written largely by Kate Hawley, with various contributions from Leslie Sunell, Nancy Loshkajian, and other members of the committee.

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