I Love Clocks

Volume XLVIII Issue XI

BY ROBERT “BOB” BARCHI

Barchi embracing his grandfather clock.
Barchi embracing his grandfather clock.

I recently came out to the public about my love of clocks. While it wasn’t exactly a secret, it wasn’t very obvious how much I love them unless I had you as a houseguest. But now, in front of the whole university, I must declare my love of clocks.

I love all kinds of clocks. Big clocks, black clocks, hard clocks made of wood. I love grandfather clocks and children’s’ clocks alike; I don’t discriminate against a good clock.

At night, I dream of a valley filled with large, majestic clocks towering high above the mountains. As soon as the time is right, all of the big, luxurious clocks come to life and surround me. I touch each clock, running my hands down the length of it’s shaft, until I reach the base. These dreams carry me softly until morning, when I am gently poked awake by the sound of my own clock.

I didn’t always love clocks. When I was a young lad, my father gave me his clock. I was confused at first; it wasn’t a very special clock, and he said my mother never used it anymore. But I grew to love my father’s crooked old clock. Eventually I discovered my own clock, and began to pursue the clocks of others. Oh, the time I would spend at the store, just glancing at the beautiful clocks twirling in synchrony. When I was 19, I had the opportunity to study abroad London and see Big Ben, the largest, most famous clock in the world. I spent many days admiring that great clock. Sometimes I’d visit the history museum to see the ancient clocks of yore. At night, I’d sneak glances at my roommate’s clock while he was asleep.

After completing my MD at the University of Pennsylvania, I was offered an adjunct professorship at Columbia. On the way into New York, the train stopped in New Brunswick. And there I saw it: the Rutgers Clock, high above the station. It was not the biggest clock, nor was it the prettiest clock, but something about the Rutgers Clock was comforting. I knew that this would be the clock I’d spend every day looking at, caring for, and showing off to the world. The Rutgers Clock would be my clock.

And that’s how I came to be president of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Students have been asking why I’ve been away this semester. And the answer? I’m touring the country, visiting the other Big Ten schools. Some may criticize me, but I say that if we want to stay in this new athletic conference, Rutgers has to prepare itself to receive some pretty big clocks.

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