Gary Derr, revealed


The words resounded harshly against the sterile, eggshell-colored walls of the laboratory. Gary Derr shoved various half-empty alembics to the side and scribbled feverishly into the scrap ledgers of his UVM brand, recycled, one-subject notebook. After years of research in the sub-basement of Angell Hall, he’d finally found the chemical compound to prevent ageing.

“I told those administrators this wasn’t a waste of space,” he mumbled to himself. The area was previously a sort of dungeon used to punish intro chemistry students, but upon the hiring of Erik Ruggles, the chamber felt a tad lacking and redundant.

All at once, visions of fortune and fame inundated his imagination. “I could keep this to myself and become a king, or even better, the next University of Vermont president.”

“But no, I can’t. The students need to know!” He swiveled hastily over to his computer station and brought up the “UVM Announcements and Events” draft. Upon typing the final word, his finger hovered over the mouse. The power of the situation gripped him tightly, yet with tremulous hands he clicked “send.”

The computer howled with strain as it always did. Despite being made of all famously powerful pieces; the CPU of Deep Blue, the motherboard of IBM’s Watson and the florescent red eye of HAL, emailing the entirety of the student population was a borderline Sisyphean task even with the fastest of processers.

As the whirring faded to a soft hum, his brain followed suit and he drifted off to sleep with his forehead smashed into the keyboard. Derr awoke suddenly the next afternoon for reasons unknown. A single tear rolled down his cheek as he refreshed his email – what he gazed upon twisted his heart and wrenched his mind.

Zero new messages, zero read messages. Once again just like every week, not a single student cared to peruse his weekly update. “Why live forever when you can only live alone?” Derr choked out, ruddy and indented head in his hands.

And with that he crumpled the formula page up and tossed it into the trash bin. Then decidedly removed it and correctly placed it in the recycling.