Where’s my spot in the new arena?

Dear Wisconsin politicians,

Thank you for your wonderful work in keeping our state’s priorities straight in these difficult End Times. Few understand the need for a new professional basketball arena and helping those who can’t help themselves, but your tenacity has helped fight off greedy teachers, parents and others who would divert our critical public dollars into frivolous indulgences like education.

Now that we’ve taken $250 million in state funding out of the UW System and invested that exact amount into the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, I was wondering if you would help me reserve my spot in the new arena as my reward for supporting this public-private partnership. Even though, as a faculty member in the system, I am a pig in the public pantry, I’ve seen the light.  I want you to know what I’m willing to do before I become homeless.

Look, you and I know that when it comes to disasters, Wisconsin’s woes aren’t quite the same as Katrina was for New Orleans — after all, Louisiana will recover some day.  So your strategy is a good one; why not spend what we’ve got on good, wholesome fun while we wait for the apocalypse?

As you already realize, many faculty are already jumping ship while the rest of the state is just trying to tread water in a whirlpool. You, on the other hand, have sagely provided us with a spanking new arena at the bottom of the drain, and that’s good enough for me.

Despite your tacit admission that Wisconsin will be toast in a few years, I’m sure that you guys, as responsible stewards of our public finances, have an appropriate exit strategy with the Bucks and the NBA.  I bet you have a strategic community-relations plan that includes contingencies for opening the arena to victims of catastrophes.  Stuff like floods, tornados, or an unprepared workforce that will devastate our state’s economy and hasten mass homelessness.

Yeah, I realize the last one is my fault for not being able to conduct more and improved workforce preparation with less, but 60 or 70 hours a week of planning, lecturing, grading, advising, researching, shared governance, community service and lack of sleep ain’t what they used to be.

I hope you understand that this is why I’m writing.  I am willing to accept the blame and want you to know I’m promising to do my part. Beyond the furloughs and the benefit cuts, I mean.

(By the way, thanks for the 1 percent raise a couple of years ago.  It took that cold slap in the face to make me realize what a lout I’ve been; sometimes you just have to insult people to make them listen. Nice symbolism on the $250 million, by the way.)

Sorry.  I’m rambling.  Back to my request and offer.

I realize the Bucks probably won’t want any eggheads or poors in the luxury boxes during times of emergency, but when the bust comes, could I at least have a seat for sleeping in a nosebleed section? As a gesture of good faith, I’m withdrawing my childrens’ college funds from their accounts to purchase a season ticket in a similar section of the existing arena for next year.

I wish I could buy tickets for a couple of years, but you know how it is.  I”m going to need to eat at least three or four full meals next year, and I’m planning to spend what I have left in your nearby businesses to support the Milwaukee economy.  I’m not buying for a single moment the research that contradicts arguments about sports facilities’ economic impact.  I mean, really … why would I spend my money in my own Wisconsin community instead?

Anyway, the guy who wrote that malarkey was a professor.  Can’t trust him!  We all know that the Bucks are bringing in the real basketball fans (and their money!) from Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan. Good thing there are no NBA teams in Detroit, Chicago or the Twin Cities to siphon off Wisconsin money like we rake in theirs!

Just to clarify some earlier comments:  I’m not complaining about not being paid more, because I know I don’t deserve it.  I’m perfectly happy in Wisconsin, especially after the Bucks broke their four-year streak of losing seasons.   41 wins and 41 losses, baby!  That makes three .500 seasons and two winning seasons in the last 14 years!

It really is like they say.  Who needs money when you’ve got the Bucks?

Please let me know about my seat, and whether I’ve shown proper enthusiasm through excessive use of exclamation points.  Also, don’t worry about arena space for my family.  I dropped them off at the Canadian border a couple of days ago.


A sheepish professor and loyal NBA fan

P.S. I promise I won’t ask you for space to park my bike. I’m sure there’s really great public transportation to take me to the arena, right?   Right?

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