The pair from Shook University are a duo straight out of Guy Ritchie’s world. Those two you know who are so aloof, that had they been immoral, they would surely be one of the many to die before the film’s end. But they aren’t immoral. You can tell that wholesome hearts beat within their lean, young torsos. Or at least that’s how it appears to me as I watch their interaction within the cafe line.
I picked them up outside Schumann Hall of Shook University. After a quick lunch, we headed to a Aux Delices Normands, or as the locals call it just ‘Normands’, to begin our formal interview. Gerry Baker — pronounced like Jerry Seinfeld — and Duke McFarlane — pronounced like the university or your neighbor’s dog — are both what they call post-bac researchers within the physiology department. They graduated as undergrads from SU but stayed to continue their research. They plan on applying for grad schools next year.
They don’t notice that I’m observing their ‘argument’ over who will pay for the drinks: two large, black coffees. Either prove too polite and unassuming to think that I, or the paper, will take the bill. I had been just about to inform them of such, but held my tongue so I could continue to observe. The insights from their innocent interaction is, for a journalist such as myself, priceless: an argumentative yet loving pair who have obviously selected the wrong profession. I am again imagining them in Guy Ritchie’s cruel world . If I were a hardened criminal seeking overdue payment for the boss, this would be where I begin rolling my eyes and shaking my head. However, as an ivory tower journalist, their argument amuses me. As Duke and Gerry raise their hands to shove their credit cards at the greasy barista, I finally raise my hand softly to add another black coffee to the bill before letting them know that “I got it.”
Duke and Gerry might initially come off aloof and distracted, this was certainly my first impression, but then again my perspective is that of a posh journalist who prides himself on things they might consider trivial. These two young men might be ignorant to the etiqeuttes required in my profession or the creative, professional world in general, but it’s clear that they aren’t dumb or stupid. Any word semantically near either word would prove unfit.
You can tell in the way the talk. Not that any one thing they say is brilliant, or that they demonstrate how well-read they are by citing off a myriad of facts and quotes. But it’s in how they respond to each other, respond to me. And in fact not only in the responses, but in the way they listen. When one person is speaking, the other is listening, actually listening. This might seem contrary to the opening scene at the cafe counter, but it’s true. When Duke and Gerry have moved beyond trivialities like who’s turn it is to pay for the other, and whether a beer is worth the same as a whiskey or a coffee when bought for the other, they are in fact sharp as Wusthof knives.