The Three Stooges of My Paths

Between academia, the nonprofit world, and publishing, it’s been a not-so-funny comedy of toxicity, and all the mistakes are mine

Donald Earl Collins
6 min readSep 2, 2021
The Three Stooges at a Bar, accessed September 2, 2021 (

This is the fourth essay in my series arc of More Confessions From an Educated Fool. This one deals with the “cares of this world,” and how I got caught in a web of them, over and over again, like I was prey for a spider to bite and suck the life out of me.

So, a university president, a corporate senior vice president, and nonprofit senior program officer are all sitting at a bar off East 59th Street, after a long decision-day Thursday. Gus, their bartender, asks in his Hollywood-exaggerated New Yorker accent, “Hey jerks, what is it that youse do for a living, anyway?

Damon, the university president says, “I kneel and grovel for money.”

Steve, the senior program officer says, “I do cartwheels, somersaults, and floor exercises for money.”

After a brief pause, Alan, the senior VP says, “I use ads spots to hold up people for money,” while gesturing with his right hand in his blazer pocket. “Now give me your wallets!,” he says.

Gus pulls out his Saturday night special, and points it at the senior VP. “You mean like this?”



Donald Earl Collins

Freelancer via @washingtonpost | @TheAtlantic |@AJEnglish | @Guardian; American Univ. & UMUC history prof. Invite me to write/speak: