I had a big boss once, way up the academic hierarchy, who was not much of a people person. He liked the solitude of spreadsheets: crunching numbers was his main jam, and putting faces to names did not help his job at all. On the contrary, it seemed to hinder it since mostly his job was to find slack in the system, and to find legal ways to reduce that slack. I waited for him to stop by and say hello, at first, but soon enough I figured it out: he was a big man and I was just a cheap-ass term professor. I wasn’t worth taking the time to know. No one was. Professors were things to him, not people.
My immediate boss, the middle manager separating me from the big honcho, had it in for him. Big League. Our mutual big boss had been the head of the union before crossing the aisle and joining administration. To my immediate boss, also an active officer in the same union, this was unforgivable. How do you go from protecting vulnerable professors to helping senior executives axe them? To show her displeasure, her solidarity with the union, she made up a secret nickname for him. My big boss had, in her estimation, an uncanny resemblance to a famous magician. Behind his back, she referred to him only and always as “Reveen.” She put so much scorn into the word when she used it. “God, we’ll have to ask Reveen, I guess.”
A couple of years later, my immediate boss entered the much higher-paying world of administration. Solidarity is fine and all that but family vacations to Paris cost more money than unionism can safely provide. She is now the right-hand of Reveen. They are a team. I’m guessing she is a lot more careful about using that word now than she was before.
Hypnotist Peter Reveen was Australian, but he made his fame and fortune in Canada. Reveen was a household name, a legend. The jingle, "The man they call Reveen," has been stuck in my head since the early 1980s thanks to the ubiquity of ads such as this.