To the Honorable Shirley Ann “My Hero” Jackson, I want to thank you for the inspiring story that is yours. I don’t want to take this time to highlight your many accolades and accomplishments, of which are numerous and impressive. I just want to talk about how you, a person of such high status to the point of being seemingly not unrelatable, have touched and inspired a lowly RPI student.
I wake up every morning and stare lovingly at the framed photo I have of you sitting on my desk. You’re in my favorite pant suit of yours. You know, the black one with the burgundy shirt. Just the sight of your charismatic influence causes me to be filled with a warm sense of assurance, and I take on the day the “Shirley Jackson” way, with a pursed smile on my mouth and my body guards flanking me. I dress in a stringent, androgynous pant suit and briskly walk with my copy of this issue of Inside Rensselaer. You’re on the front of it, of course.
During my study hours, I listen to tracks of your lectures. Your soft-spoken, monotone words blur together to this indistinguishable hum that makes for perfect white noise. I pick up on key words: globalization, resilience, and something that sounds like “laymen terms.” Through osmosis, your strong and determined values have been instilled in me. I feel as if I could study forever as long as I have the sweet sound of your voice, perhaps even all summer long!
My only complaint, oh my sweet Dr. Jackson, is that you are so hard to get in touch with. The instances that you are on campus and interacting with students, you are in such unattainable positions: on stage, cutting ribbons, shaking hands. Will you ever notice me? I know you placed that restraining order against me when I sent you my last letter, but you must know now that I am your ever-devoted disciple! I don’t want to just imitate you —I want to be you! Please look over that handmade collage of pictures and quotes I made of you. Excuse me—for you.
Why don’t you respond to my emails? I use all the proper grammar and address you by all your given titles. I even sign “Lovingly, Yours Forever, Ryan Lissabista.” I don’t believe you’ve ever encountered such dedication before. Not even with the Public Safety officers and administration! You say jump, they say how high? You say jump, I say for how long? Because I, too, am dying to operate at your beck and call!