Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v16n24)
Poetic Thoughts - ALEX - by C.W. Pruitt II
posted: Dec. 06, 2019
Alexandre Agbomi was in no way nervous about his doctoral defense. For this would make his second doctorate in English Literature. His first doctorate was earned at a French university. His second doctorate would be awarded by Ball State University. And I felt honored to be invited to witness him defend his dissertation.
Alex mingled joyfully with friends and professors before his defense. He had us all in stitches as he made his Freudian jokes about his enormous tie, which appeared even longer on his short and stocky frame. We were all used to Alex's outrageous humor, but today he was in a zone.
Alex began his defense by showing a clip from 60 Minutes on the brutal dictator from the Ivory Coast. This was significant because Alex had translated a controversial Ivorian novel into English which portrayed the dictator an a bad light. It roughly chronicled his struggle from idealistic revolutionary to tyrant.
At the end of his defense, Alex's professors showed concern about him going back to teach in the Ivory Coast after translating such an incendiary work. (I don't know if they were aware that his father had been assassinated.) He reassured them profusely.
Later, Alex and I walked out of the room in our elegant suits and Alex in his largest tie. We were cracking up laughing. I think it was our way of celebrating Alex's latest achievement. When we reached the bottom steps of Teachers College, I turned to Alex and said, "Do you think that your life is at risk by going back to the Ivory Coast"
He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "If I have taught you one thing, it is this: If you have nothing worth dying for, then you are not alive at all."
A poetic thought from Alex.
A poetic thought from Double Dr. Alexandre Agbomi.