Fred Daniels was released from his position as a custodian at MIT last week because of his inability to solve an extremely complicated equation that one of the professors had posted on a board outside his classroom.
“I don’t really understand what happened,” says Daniels. “I’ve had this job for 25 years, and nobody ever complained. Then this guy opens up a Netflix account, rents some movie about hunting, and the next thing I know he’s calling me Will and demanding that I answer this weird-ass equation.”
“How do you get “Will’ from Fred?” Daniels added. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
The “guy” Daniels mentions is the acclaimed Professor Walter Coke, a man whose genius is unparalleled in the math community, but whose grasp on reality has always been tenuous at best. According to one colleague, Coke has had similar problems in the past. Coke rushed from a Christmas party in 1993, convinced that he had left his son Kevin home by himself. (Coke does not have a son.) And in 2006, Coke fled to Asia to have Liam Neeson train him in martial arts, claiming that he “needed to avenge the deaths of his millionaire parents,” and telling everyone to “leave all messages with [his] butler, Alfred. (His parents are still alive and living in Orlando, Florida. He does, though, have a butler named Alfred.)
In this instance, Coke was “forced” to complain about Daniels “not only because of his ineptitude when it comes to understanding complex formulas,” but also because “he had been causing difficulties for Robin Williams, his psychiatrist.”
After being let go by MIT, Daniels was forced out of his home and has since been living out of his car. He is currently petitioning MIT Dean Daniel Hastings to reemploy him, and Hastings is looking into Coke’s reasoning for complaining about Daniels’ performance. However, Coke is not confident in Hastings’ ability to remain unbiased in this situation.
Said Coke, “That Dean has had it in for all of us at Delta House since we got here. John Belushi and I are not going to let him get away with this.”