Posts Tagged ‘David Pyle’

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty. 

In high school, my indefatigable math teacher, Mr. Sycz, informed me and the rest of his unsuspecting students that the majority of adult life is spent at work. As such, he wisely advised us to choose our careers carefully. What he failed to mention was that all those hours at work will be spent with other people. Regrettably, there is no way to select our coworkers; the only recourse is to cross your fingers. How fortunate, then, that I love both what I do and the people with whom I work.

I’ve always liked working cooperatively with others, a natural result of growing up with six siblings. At every job I’ve had in my 25 years of RMUILsealwork (Cowgill Printing, McDonald’s, Dimitri’s Restaurant, Mr. Todd’s Cleaners, Royalview Manor, First Community Village, The Courtyard, Country Counter, Dick’s Last Resort, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Grafton Street Pub, Lakeland Community College, Academy at the Lakes, Hillsborough Community College, Harold Washington College, Columbia College, and RMU), I’ve met and worked with fantastic people who’ve helped make any work less tiresome. The same is true here at good ol’ RMU, where I have worked since arriving in Chicago in 2007.

My RMU colleagues are tremendous people, and we know each other incredibly well. Since my coworkers are diligent and dedicated teachers, I am already predisposed to like them and admire their efforts. They are all CLAwonderfully smart, too, of course, each in his or her unique way. Everyone I work with will stop to help a fellow teacher or student. Everyone will devote his or her expertise to our shared purpose: the endlessly worthwhile endeavor of education.

Most importantly, my co-workers at RMU, specifically the CLA members (many of them Turtle writers, too) are generous and thoughtful. What follows is just a small sampling of the everyday—but in no way ordinary—kindnesses my colleagues show to one another.

Paula provides lunch when Fridays involve the dreaded all-day meetings.

If there are cookies next to the coffee pot, they are probably courtesy of Turtle father Michael.

Jenny supplies us all with fresh vegetables from her considerable garden.

Pyle created the “cabinet of wonders,” a repository of free books, Cd’s, and DVD’s to share.

I’d be surprised to find a more sympathetic listener than Ellen.

Cynthia keeps the refrigerator stocked with fancy flavored creams to augment the free coffee.

Pat McNicholas brings homemade fudge every finals week.

Paul jots down the best zingers on his whiteboard to highlight the general goofiness in the CLA suite.

If Peter does anything, you can bet it will be done with “alacrity and aplomb.”

Like any good family, we endure each other’s idiosyncrasies, often turning flaws into perfections of a different kind. Mick tells the same Irish jokes every St. Patrick’s Day, year after year: how excruciatingly wonderful.

When my colleagues aren’t busy conducting research, planning curriculum, teaching classes, grading papers, or attending meetings, we can be found in the CLA office giggling like teenagers. We pretend that we are in a workplace sitcom called “RMU Kiddin’ Me.” We’re all certain the show would be hilarious, of course, which illustrates my good fortune in both terms of my job and my coworkers.

There is nothing quite as delightful as laughing at work, something I enjoy every single day. The funniest line or exchange will be added to Paul’szipper white board. If a joke is too inappropriate, it is designated as “Invisible Whiteboard” material and will remain a joke amongst ourselves.


Paul, “I’ll send you the ZIP file.”

Me, “I can never remember how to unzip things.”

Paul, “Then how do you get dressed in the morning?”

Insert the cutesy sitcom title here.


By Paul Gaszak, English Faculty

I was sabotaged yesterday.

This week, I have been visiting the Introduction to Communications courses at Robert Morris University to sell freshmen on taking my News Writing course next term. My colleagues have been generous in allowing me to steal some of their class time so I can make my pitch like an old-timey Miracle Tonic grifter.


And then there was Mr. David Pyle, the wiley saboteur.

Mr. Pyle is a comedy ninja. He waits silently in the shadows during office hours and meetings until the opportunity presents itself, then he leaps into the light, dropkicks you in the face with a brilliant joke, throws down a smoke bomb, and vanishes. He is effective and efficient. This may be because he trained with the League of Shadows’ little-known, yet highly successful Stand-up Comedy program.

Pyle Ninja

I am fortunate to work with lots of funny people, and Mr. Pyle may be the funniest of them all, in part because he isn’t one of those obnoxious people who spends all day trying to be funny. Like me.

Which brings us to yesterday when I visited his class during my promotional tour. He stepped in front of class and introduced me by stating that, in the past couple years, he has been forced to relinquish his title as funniest person at RMU to me.

You may think he offered me a great compliment.



Pyle returned to the lectern, leaving me adrift in a sea of silence on stage. When I glanced over at him, his expression said, “Try and make ‘em giggle now, you fat-headed jokester!”

In that moment, given the hype, I had to immediately say something hilarious to retain this title that was thrust upon me. It couldn’t be “lol” funny, or “LOL” or even “LMAO.” It had to be full-on ROTFLMAO.

So, I looked at the class and fired my best material:

Which of course means I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. I think I may have hiccuped, or sniffled, but that’s about it.

Pyle was victorious. He drank my milkshake. He sank my battleship. He shake and baked my title as comedy king, and I helped.

And that means that, once again, the Crowned King of Comedy at RMU is one Mr. David Pyle.

It is hard for anyone, in any field, to live up to lofty expectations. Pyle pushed me up onto the pedestal and I tumbled. I believe this was premeditated, that crafty saboteur. Now he can rest easy after knocking down his competition. Before, I may have been considered mildly funny, but now my comedic worth has fallen so far that I am going to start a support group with Andrew Dice Clay and Dane Cook.


Though I failed, I believe Mr. Pyle is funny enough to live up to the lofty comedy expectations, or even surpass them. He’s just that funny.

For example, he would still be funny if someone wrote a post on the internet about how funny he is.

Or if a colleague started a Facebook fan page that asks people to “LIKE” if Pyle is funny.

Or if that same colleague bought the domain name “” for a comedy tribute website. Or to sell to him if he becomes a dentist or the CEO of Orbit gum.

Yes, expectations can be rough. But Mr. Pyle’s got this! Just you wait and see. He will respond to this post with the funniest thing you’ve read this week, or maybe this month, or maybe EVER!

(This post was not endorsed by Mr. David Pyle or his representatives. Portions of this post may be exaggerated, or outright false. But it’s mostly true. Maybe. God Bless America.)

By David Pyle, English Faculty. 

    I’m accustomed to waking up to my old-school Tick-Tocking clock, but, unfortunately, my early morning began with a tick. And then another one. And a third.

Size of a deer tick.

And, these weren’t clocks. They’re ticks, actual ticks, that are trying to live and eat rent-free on my body. All over my body (yes, in that area. Yes, in that other area, too). My girlfriend, Jennifer, along with Sophie the dog and I had spent the previous Memorial Day holiday exploring around and camping in Southern Illinois at the Shawnee National Forest. The $8.00 a night campsite offered a nice glimpse of wildlife: deer, a few raccoons, a variety of birds, and lots of ticks.

     There’s two types currently residing in the tree branches and leaves just south of Carbondale: deer ticks and Lone Star ticks (as the name suggests, they’re big, carry weapons, and are most likely Republicans).

Lone Star ticks are easy to identify, as they’re about as big as a small raisin. They have a distinct white dot on their backs, not that this info would be a factor in one’s decision to allow them to remain on you, or not. These ticks, who, according to USDA Shawnee National Forest website, can spot a host, i.e. me, from 20 feet away. They hunker down in grass, positioning themselves in an advantageous spot with a goal of reaching your pant legs. Also, they hang out in taller bushes and short trees, dropping down onto unsuspecting, or, for that matter, suspecting, victims. They’re hari-kari Nuttalliella namaqua.

Deer ticks are a bit harder to spot. In fact, you feel their prescience first. They’re super-tiny, about the size of a pinhead. These blood-sucka’s crawl around on grass and leaves, looking for opportunities to climb up hosts’ legs. In both cases, once these critters get ta’ biting, you usually know that they’re there. You can also feel them walking around your body—say, if you’re sleeping, for example— searching for the optimal spot to hide-n-bite. They’ve been on your person for a while, making the long journey from your foot zone to your armpit, behind-the-knee, or waistband zones. At least 15 times each night during our 3-night stay, the other 2 warm bodies in the tent would hear a jolt (“Oh, sh*t—is that a tick?!), followed by the clumsy search for the trusty flashlight, followed by a rustling search for, in my case, eyeglasses, followed by a click of the light and a few minutes of floor-to-ceiling body inspection (stare at the mole, see if it moves).

The larger Lone Star tick is easily pulled right out of your skin; the deer tick, sans tweezers, has to be pinched out with the very end of your fingers (don’t forget to sacrifice 4-5 leg hairs while you’re at it). The final sound is the unzipping of the tent’s door (only two inches—don’t let any more in…) to drop the tick back into its own territory. Now sigh heavily—you’ve won this round. Then, try—just try—to go back to sleep without the paranoia of the mass of lying-in-wait ticks, who somehow are smart enough to know to wait a good 20 minutes, when you’re only dreaming of the tick attacks,  before again advancing to plasma-town.

Result of tick sucking.

If you’ve never had a tick suck on you, let me describe it for you. If you are luckily enough to be awake to watch this thing bite you, you’ll feel an instant pinch on your skin, delicately balanced with a persistent itch (learn to love it; you’ll have a full 7 days to embrace this hellish ying-yang of strange feelings: itch itch itch, scratch scratch scratch, burn burn burn, curse curse curse). It attaches only with the mouth, hoping to feed for the required 6 – 10 days before dropping off and laying 4,000 – 6,000 eggs. Yes, 4-6k eggs per tick. Good news, though…once a tiny, tiny deer tick gulps on ya’ for 3-4 days, it becomes almost big enough to reveal itself as a tick, and not just another scabby remnant of past scrap- and-destroy missions.

Right now, I have 20 – 30 “tickies” (tick hickies), some of which can be publically displayed, some I could never show, to anyone. Some welts are large (pinky-finger tip) and some are small (mosquito bite), all are red and itch like the devil’s business. Most I removed at the campground, using tweezers that we were forced to buy from Wal-Mart (talk about an ethical dilemma…but, we caved, sad to have supported the MTFs—the Malaysian Tweezer Factories), but even with much visual reconnaissance, these buggers hitch a ride back to good ol’ Chicago. I’m not sure where they’re hiding out, but they still showing up, days later, allowing me to experience a bit of nature indoors.

Sophie the dog, affectionately nicknames “Lil’ Sophie Tick-head,” fared much worse, being so low to the ground and all. Over the course of a week, we’ll mine at least 50 ticks off her (sometimes a soft “click” sound, accompanied with the sight of a small nugget of inner-ear flesh, echoes around the room). Jennifer and I have different disposal methods, mine being the sensitive “I’m not going to kill you, but am going to place you outside where you’ll have to Darwinize yourself to some other sucker, sucker.” Jennifer prefers the Charles Bronson-revenge type style, fiendishly smiling as she walks towards the toilet bowl (“Dead tick walkin’…). In the out-of-doors, she’ll “pull and drop,” but inside, she’s got quite the Michael Corleone attitude, during the scene where machine gun bullets are sprayed around his bedroom by Johnny Ola’s hitmen. She screams to the tick, “You see what’s happening in my home. Where my life-partner and dog sleep?! In my home…” Then, she gives them a flush that they can’t refuse (except for their jaws and un-squishable skin/bodies, they are pretty vulnerable…).

In my many years of camping, I’ve probably pulled 200 ticks of me. But, in only 4 days, I pulled off almost a good 100 (plus, at least 30 from an earlier trip to Nebraska this spring). Why so many? Warm winter. The mild winter allowed an inordinate number of ticks to survive. This gave them more time to, shall we say, get biz-ay. And now, these creatures are hungry—fightin’ to bite.

In my prediction, it’s the first of many “seemingly small changes” that rear their ugly heads, as drastic shifts in our weather systems will continue to negatively impact our world… Is it too late to reverse? Tick, tock…tick, tock…tick…tick…