Up the ivy covered wall, teaching on a midwestern campus (as does Mr. McInerny--philosophy--at Notre Deme) is Matthew Rogerson, forty-four, father of three (God forbid four) and abstinent husband of Marge. ""A faint-hearted fouled-up mediocrity undeserving of the epithet failure."" A writer manque, a lapsed Don Juan, sometimes he indulges in the ""Irish weakness."" But then there's the Irish forte--so apparent from Joyce to Donleavy--the high humor which effervesces out of low spirits, the paranoid prankishness, the obstreperous wordmanship. All of this carries, where it does not structure, these annals of the academic life as Matthew decides to ruin himself, scrawls vilifying abuses on the walls, drones dully in the classroom, projects his death while retreating reclusively into austerity (he gives up smoking) until all of this boomerangs in a most unexpected fashion. ""A role in search of a drama""...sometimes a novel in search of a story...but never an author at a loss for words or for that matter semi-serious ideas...an existential roughhouse of considerable humor (color it black) and rampant energy.