One professor of the ol' philosophy class at UofT was an extreme Diogenes fan. At least during my time there he was. He could now be a Mike Myers fan for all I know. He used to love quoting Diogenes, and his favourite question was this: "Are you an honest man?" He cocked an eyebrow and grinned everytime he asked that question. It was very strange when he posed that question to the girls. Back then the war between man and woman was the latest craze, but prof Parrish didn't give a rip. One day he asked Jennifer Trimble if she were an honest man. She flipped. She just lost in on him. Jennifer was a new initiate in the gender wars, and the Joan of Arc thing was more than a lifestyle for her. She stormed out of the room and went complaining to the dean. The dean must have said something to Parrish, because I never heard him ask that question again, though heaven knows I saw him on the verge of asking it so many times after that. His facial expression would be all ready for it, then suddenly some sort of a gauge in his head would go bonkers and the question never got asked.
Jennifer Trimble now works for Air Miles as a statistician, last I heard.
Parrish was a good guy. I liked his style. He used metaphors that went over everyone's head. The students must have spent days trying to extract meanings of sentences he threw around so casually. None of the girls liked him. He wasn't fashionable, never shaved, always looked right into people's eyes when talking to them, listened to Hendrix and the Doors, and drank pints of beer at Mick Finn's during lunch hour. In the early nineties, beer, beards and the Doors were really out. Bright cold hard drinks, shaved everything and mosh pits were in.
During my last year there, long after we were finished with Parrish and the Greeks, someone got him in trouble. There were rumours that he was a member of some cult. As the rumours usually have it, no mention of what sort of cult it was, but of course it was plausible as it related to Parrish, him being a philosophy professor and all. You teach philosophy to 20-year olds, chances are that you may be in a cult if it were ever brought up... and in the early nineties, the moment the word cult was uttered anywhere in Toronto, someone tied it in with Wolfgang Droege and the Zundel neo-nazis, who at the time had toll-free phone lines designed to hook kids into the white supremacy thing through biblical quotes, fashion statements, sensational cartel conspiracy jive, and all that jazz aimed at kids with a lot of energy and no idea what to do with it. So when the rumours started surfacing about Parrish, it was just a cult thing that nibbed the curiosity a bit, but a couple weeks later, it was rumoured that Parrish was a neo-nazi and one of Droege's main spokesmen. That was very strange because Parrish was a black guy, and it's hard to picture a black guy advocating white supremacy. But then again, when this question was asked, the rationale in the answer was that Parrish was probably the only black guy to ever fancy listening to the Doors, so anything was possible. Jokes flew around campus about how UofT had its own Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson was the proverbial wannabe-white black guy for a decade or so then.
I was too busy to check anything out at the time. Had the thesis to worry about and just didn't have a free moment to find out the truth of what happened. Each of my friends told a different story. Some said that it was all bullshit, some said that Parrish was actually the guy who scripted the lines for the brainwash machines that the kids dialed into, some said that it was all the doing of the second year girls of the philo class, and some went as far as tying Parrish back to the Black Panthers of way-back-when New York. Didn't know who to believe, and it didn't matter anyhow. Parrish resigned. A month later the word spread that he left town and went to Edmonton.