Friday, January 20, 2006

Lectern Lojack

Where do lecterns go?

Every semester, I get multiple exasperated calls from faculty, asking where the lecterns have gone. They seem to think that I keep a secret stash in my office. (It’s probably in the secret vault they think I have, where I apparently keep all the secret money for my secret nefarious projects. That’s also where I store my secret plans for world domination. But I digress.)

Is there a black market in lecterns? Do people fence them for drugs? Can you get high by inhaling the smoke from a burning lectern? Are there gray-market stores in Nearby Big City offering lecterns that fell off the backs of trucks? Do students take lecterns home to make art out of them? I’m perplexed.

This happens every semester.

I’m thinking of springing for lojack for the lecterns. I want to know where they’re going, and some sort of electronic tracing device seems the best way. Your tax dollars at work!

These aren’t even especially attractive lecterns. They’re basically beige or black sheet metal, some foldable but most not. They rest on the tables in the front of classrooms. We’re not talking about mahogany here.

Maybe lecterns go to chop shops, where they’re disassembled and resold as, uh, new lecterns? Maybe lecterns that have been through too many classes commit suicide, walking to a nearby hill and jumping off (though, strangely, we’ve never found their carcasses)? Maybe gang members make off with them and use them as weapons; that would account for all of those lectern-related fatalities you hear so much about.

Does this happen anywhere else? Has anyone solved the mystery of the vanishing lecterns?