Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Lies! All Lies!

It's slowly dawning on me that just about everything that my teachers have told me is nothing but lies, hokum, and flim-flam. Like my seventh grade social studies teacher, Mrs. Selesner, who, on sweltering May afternoons, wouldn't let us fan ourselves because, she claimed, "it would only make us hotter." So, now, nine years later, I came across this article, which not only contradicts Mrs. Selesner but also includes a lot of math, thus giving it credibility that my ex-social studies teacher lacked.

Okay, so it's not exactly a lie on the magnitude of "Saddam is hoarding weapons of mass destruction" or "America is safer now thanks to George Bush's leadership," but sheesh, she's a teacher for Christ's sake. She's in a very powerful position, filling young tabulas rasas with whatever horseflop comes into her uninformed head. Now I've got to call into question everything she's ever taught me, like whether the Missouri Compromise really happened and whether Parliament really passed the Declaratory Acts. (We already know that the whole "No taxation without representation thing" was a bald-faced lie.) Because honestly, we were in seventh grade — the hell do we know? She could tell us that the Pilgrims came from Mars on the U.S.S. Enterprise and we'd believe her.

Maybe I'm being unduly harsh on Mrs. Selesner; I still nurse a grudge against her for putting Dave Loewinger, Kevin Grinberg, and me in a group with Phil Trout because quote that's what the Japanese do. (She meant that Japanese mega-corporations evidently group their disinterested, troublemaking burnouts with honor students in order to reduce overall productivity.) How much of an education do you really need to be a seventh-grade social studies teacher? Prolly none — all you do is read from the teacher's copy of the textbook with all the answers in it and hand out dittos. Besides, from what I heard, the other social studies teacher was worse.

Monday, July 26, 2004

You know what would be awesome? A Kerry-Edwards vs. Bush-Cheney tag-team cage match. They could call it the "Altercation for the Fate of the Nation," or I suppose they could have Don King get out his rhyming dictionary and come up with a name that's actually half decent. Now, I see several advantages to holding this once-in-a-lifetime event:

  1. It would be a lot more fun to watch than the conventions, and it would get wrestling fans excited about the electoral process.
  2. Good odds on John Edwards kicking Dick Cheney's ass. Better odds on Cheney having a heart attack before the fight even starts, which means Kerry and Edwards can gang up on Bush, two against one.
  3. Condy Rice can be the ring girl. Or we can scrap Dr. Rice and have Bush's two hot daughters as the ring girls instead.
  4. Colin Powell could wear the striped "Foot Locker" polo shirt and referee. He could also provide the pre-show entertainment.
  5. We broadcast the fight on Pay-Per-View and use the profits to pay off the national debt. I mean, even I'd pay $24.95 to watch Kerry beat Bush over the head with a folding chair.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Found the following in the New York Times Job market:

Full time position for statistician, or social scientist with superior methodological & statistical skills, supporting a joint JBFCS/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine program of research & treatment on traumatized young children. The candidate will: design databases, participate in designing analytic strategies, conduct analyses & prepare draft results reports. Participation in designing research studies, preparing funding proposals & preparation of papers for publication included. Contact: Robert Abramovitz, M.D., Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, Center for Trauma Program Innovation, 120 West 57th Street-9th Fl, New York, NY, 10019. Fax: (212) 307-7896
Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V
Only opening for a statistician in the entire newspaper. And I thought my job prospects sucked...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Job interview today; first in two years. Don't tell Mom, who thinks I've been going to interviews and applying for temp jobs for the past two months.

So, once again, the parents insist I get all dressed up for the interview. This is because they're old fashioned: Dad gets dressed up, not only for the courtroom, but for meeting clients, working alone in the office, and going to the movies. Mom's not as bad, but she believes that my wardrobe is responsible for me not getting the imaginary jobs I pretended to apply to. She thinks I should've worn a suit and tie and, uh, not worn shorts.

I disagree. My very first job interview, at the United States Small Business Administration, I got all dolled up on my parents' advice — slacks and dress shoes, a suit and tie, I might have even been carrying a leather attache. I hadn't worn a suit since my confirmation, and apparently, I'd grown a bit since then. And the tie... it serves no freaking purpose whatsoever other than choking me!!!! Damn, that's a lot of exclamation points. And because it was a good hundred degrees in downtown Manhattan, I came into this interview nervous, uncomfortable, and sticky — the perfect candidate. Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I blamed the tie.

When the interviewer tells you that you look a bit uncomfortable, that's when it's pretty much time to walk out the door.

After that fun, fun day, I decided that from now on, I'm making the fashion decisions on interview days. (I make the fashion decisions on non-interview days, too.... Ever since I turned fourteen.) I got my job offers at Sparknotes and the New York Times (Digital) wearing jeans and a standard Jay Harris pullover t-shirt. I'm going with a white button-down shirt and khaki pants — my semi-formal couture — and I brought a pre-tied tie just in case inspiration strikes. It didn't.

Thing is, even with the light summer look, I was still every interviewer's dream: a sweaty mess. Maybe next interview, I'll take a mister with me too, and retouch my make-up right before the big moment. (Thanks to Sylvia for that last tip.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Adventures in Cooking

Funny story about lamb... I found a recipie for broiled butterflied leg of lamb in coconut milk with Asian spices, and since I adore cute barnyard animals, I just had to try making it. Now, it turns out that lamb is not the easiest animal to get your hands on, and that lamb appendages are the hardest part of the lamb to find. I went to three supermarkets, finding lamb shoulder, lamb shank, lamb ribs, even lamb neck, but no leg of lamb. So finally, I gave up, I went to Joe's Meat Market, and I learned a little something...

See, growing up in the suburbs prepares you for practically nothing in life. In particular, it leaves you unprepared for those moments in life when you'll have to hack an animal to bits in order to drown its meat in coconut milk and tumeric and have a delicious meal. All I knew about the ovine species is what I saw of those Claymation sheep on the mattress commercial. Turns out that real lambs are a little bit larger than that. Seven pounds and $24.50 larger, in fact. To put that in some sort of perspective, remember in the opening to The Flintstones, how they go to that prehistoric drive-thru and order a rack of mammoth or something that causes their car to topple over? Well, that's how big this lamb's leg was.

Point is, now we're going to be eating nothing but lamb for the next month or so. So, is anybody hungry?

Friday, July 16, 2004

Martha, Martha, Martha

I'm outside the federal courthouse in New York City, along with a zillion news crews waiting to find out Martha Stewart's fate. Personally, I hope the bitch fries. (And I think, from now on, I should end all of my posts with "I hope the bitch fries.") But not only that; I'm absolutely sick of Martha's defenders with their signs and decorating tips and conspiracy theories — "She's only being prosecuted because she's a celebrity." "She's only being prosecuted because she's a powerful woman." Bullshit. She's being prosecuted because she's a criminal, moron.

I can't even comprehend where all this munificence toward Martha is coming from. If you walked out of K-Mart carrying sixty-thousand dollars worth of Martha Steward Living Easthampton-style linens under your shirt, you'd be arrested and you'd go to jail, and you wouldn't see Martha coming to the courthouse, filing an amicus brief in your defense. She'd probably pop a cap in your ass and then go back to P. Diddy's bling-bling party.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Wouldn't it be nice if the TV weatherman could be a little less, I don't know, apocalyptic? It seems like the only weather forecasters out there who don't get their jollies scaring meteorologically ignorant people into stocking up on batteries and bottled water are Al Roker and Willard Scott, both of whom are way too saccharine to wake up to at seven in the morning. There could be a hail of fire falling upon Rockefeller Center, and Al Roker would still be out there talking to tourists holding up signs (which would most likely be burning up in the fire-hail). Apparently, the weather has become too controversial a topic for Willard; he spends his time on-air congratulating people who should be dead by now on continuing their long and pointless existences, which is even more depressing than floods, tornadoes, and tsunamis combined.

Maybe it's the way we treat the weathermen that turns them into prophets of doom, how we blame them when the weather's bad or when the Doppler radar gets the prediction wrong, how the other anchors ask them inane questions that have nothing to do with the weather and then don't bother to listen to the weatherguy's answer. How, as weatherdude interns, they have to go out to the beach in the middle of the freaking hurricane wearing the official Channel 7 weather poncho, as if we wouldn't believe that there's a hurricane if we didn't see cars and trees and unsecured lawn furniture flying around the poor guy.

"...And as you can see, Chuck, the wind is really picking up out here, the tide is at least twenty feet above the dunes, and I nearly got swept out to sea twice. Town officials are warning everybody to stay inside until the storm blows over, and while there's theoretically no reason I myself couldn't heed that advice and give the exact same report from the studio, I'm risking my life to come to you, live from Sea Girt, in hopes that one day it will be me standing in front of the green screen, doing the national weather forecast."

Monday, July 12, 2004

I'm sure these companies are just trying to be difficult when they ask me how much I want to get paid. Sure, they put it in nice euphemisms — "salary requirements" — but they're really asking for a valuation of how much I think I'm worth. And then, they'll tell me that I'm wrong. I mean, no matter what, the prospective employee gets screwed — either you ask for less than you're worth and the Man snickers as he underpays you, or you ask for more than you're worth and the executives call you a greedy, egomaniacal jerk who'll never land a job with those kind of expectations.

So from this point on, I'm going to be honest. I'm looking for a job that pays fifteen million dollars. An hour. Also, I want benefits, a 401K, and a flat-screen plasma TV in my office. But I'm willing to negotiate.

A Picture is Worth...

Boy, do I envy people who photograph well. Whenever someone takes a picture of me, I invariably look hung over, with my face flushed and fake smile askew. It is, to be honest, mortifying... which is why you won't see any of these photo gems posted on my blog. (Of course, I don't seem to have a problem posting a picture of me wearing a dickish swim cap on my blog, but bad lighting — that's another issue entirely.)

It's been a problem plaguing me pretty much from birth and ignored by my parents because they thought I was always "so cute." At least if you're an ugly kid — and your parents aren't in denial about it — the parents can work to make you a little more attractive, using, say, makeup or hair product or plastic surgery. But when your parents honestly, truly, naively believe that you'd be eye candy for any girl, that's when you're screwed. For reasons unknown, from the moment I had hair, my mother insisted that I have bangs down to my eyebrows and a fuzzy coif that could double as a feather-duster in an emergency. (In the summer after sixth grade, my family took me on a six-week trip to Italy — the only cool thing I've ever done with them — and, to my mom's horror, I had my haircutter shear off six weeks worth of hair and I never looked back. Now if only they could take some of that hair they cut off and glue it to my chest...)

As you can tell from my swimcap mugshot, I also got the corrective lenses gene, and Mom and Dad thought I was too irresponsible — what with my straight A's and spending hours a day in the library reading the encyclopedia — to get contacts as a young'un. They're like Spanish: either you learn 'em young when you don't mind poking yourself in the eye, or you don't learn 'em at all. I spent many years thinking acne scars were beauty marks, and, just to top off the selective-breeding-gone-wrong dweebishness that was my countenance, I was an orthidonture victim from fifth grade, when braces were cool, until tenth grade, when they were way beyond passe. All the time, Mom reminded me that I was cute, rather than the Frankenstein's monster that I was.

Thus the memories: me as a kid who couldn't get it together. Nowadays, I think I do a little better with the look on a moment to moment basis, but the photographs, like I said, don't tell the same story. Which I find frustrating on several counts. Aside from appearing in the background of random Japanese tourists' home videos, I don't find myself the subject of a photo all that often, so when I do have the good fortune to be recorded for posterity, I'd like to look, uh, not retarded if that's at all possible. Not only is it disappointing on its own to see myself in a moment not knowing how to smile, but I realize that, thanks to the digital age, other people also have copies of me at my most mediocre. Who knows... I may even be someone's desktop wallpaper, or they might be distributing pictures of me like its the Paris Hilton sex tape. (That's two too many Paris Hilton references in a week.) I can't even Photoshop the shame of my dour image away.

All I want is to preserve myself at my best, and I think that's going to take some practice posing in front of the mirror in order to get it right.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Massive Inner Squirming

Grandma and I are sitting on the couch, staring, doing nothing. She, because she's old, and me, because I'm just plain dull. Mom is in the other room.

Jay: Mom! I'm bored!

Grandma: You should get a girlfriend.

Apparently, the concept of a non-sequitur is unfamiliar to Grandma.

Grandma: Why don't you go find yourself a nice girl? You know some girls, right?

This, unfortunately, was not the first time Grandma's hinted that she wants to see me married off. I guess it was my sophomore year of high school, before I met Anne, and my cousin Lexy and her mom were over at Grandma's house. Lexy is my age, and I guess the grown-ups thought it would be really cute to leave us alone together, watching TV, and let nature and hormones take their course. (By the way, Lexy is my cousin by marriage, so we're not like some inbred Alabama family. Nevertheless, Grandma often suggests going to a family reunion to meet girls, which I believe is on Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck" list.) Nothing happened between Lexy and me; I believe a proved myself to be a total faggot by watching Oprah or something with her in utter, nerve-wrenching silence.

Nuttin attracts dem girls like dat tere Oprah Winfrey...

It's just that as if the dating world wasn't awkward enough, being a three in a world of eights and nines, Grandma's got to push her agenda through committee too. Not that I can really blame her; she's old and she might not have that much time left to see her only grandson get paired up. But sheesh.... she's my grandmother. And I don't see her getting dressed up, doing her make-up, and slutting around at the senior citizens center. (Thank God, now that I've got that image in my mind.) I hate to disappoint the woman, but I just can't imagine the whole two-by-two thing working out the way she expects. "What, you're not gonna hold the door open? A gentleman always holds the door open..."

Or, "Back in those days, the gentleman always paid. Not like they do today, today they split everything." And there's the music, and the "I don't like this kind of show" TV shows, and the way the kids wear their fucking pants around their ankles so you can see their underwear. (Gotta agree with Grandma on the last one there.) My grandfather, her husband, actually had to ask her dad before — not before he could propose — but before he could just take her to the movies. And this was the forties, so it's not like they had make-out flicks back then... all they had were black-and-white movies of people spontaneously tap-dancing, and you can't make out to that. And she had to be back home by eleven. (At night, I think...) And Grandpa "checked my coat..."

Jay: Wait, they had a coat check at the movie theater?

Grandma: Well, sure, it's not like today where they just throw everything anywhere, and get their soda and popcorn and blah blah blah...

Friday, July 9, 2004

I think I bring out the bipolar in people. Like pheremones, only in reverse.

I'm so thrilled about the Freaks and Geeks DVD set, I don't know where to begin. I've been watching the first two discs pretty much non-stop today, and I've still got about six or seven hours of material to go through. A geek's paradise of commentary tracks and deleted scenes.

Thing is, even though I totally sympathize with the Weir youngsters, my own high school days were never anywhere near the typical freak or geek experience. Mine were anticlimactic, four years of essentially nothing, waiting to party or get picked on or for Melissa to grasp what a great catch I'd be. (It never happened. Too bad, it was her loss.) But the one thing that still shines through the high school years, and the college years, for that matter, was the utter helplessness — being at the mercy of all these icky, slimy grown-ups, ignorant and convinced of their own wisdom, like anti-Socrates demagogues, and not being able to say no.

Even now, I go back to the high school (well, I've decided to stop re-visiting the high school — I don't think it's all the healthy psychologically, and besides, most of the cool teachers are gone) and I smile and shake Ms. Karanik's hand like I'm happy to see that emasculating bitch again. Seriously...

Ms. Karanik: Feel better, Jay.

Jay: Okay, thanks.

About five minutes later...

Jay: Wait a second, I'm feeling fine.

And that's what I do. I write in this blog. Passive-aggressive like.

Final note: Back in the eighties, I looked exactly like Sam Weir did...

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Republicans Eat Babies

Hmmm... maybe that title won't help Kerry and Edwards get elected in November. But it's still true.

I worried for about three or four days that Kerry would pick Dick Gephardt or Tom Vilsack as his running mate instead of Edwards, and it would've been a political disaster. Not that I have anything against Dick or Tom, but we democrats need someone running who's charismatic enough to counterbalance Bush's lowest-common-denominator correct-pronunciation-is-for-academic-pussies folksiness that appeals to Americans who beat up members of the chess club back in high school.

All that being said, I really think it would be cool for America to have a non-gazillionaire president and veep, but we all know that I've got a better chance at winning the White House than Nader does, and I'm not even old enough to be president. It just stings a little bit. It's not that I don't believe Kerry and Edwards sympathize with my middle-class white-guy plight, but it just seems tacky for the less-fortunate masses to elect someone whose gets Robin Leach narrating their biography. It's like voting Paris Hilton for senator or somtehing. (And while we're on the topic, if Bush is that desparate for my vote, he can win it by imprisoning Robin in a Scrooge McDuck style vault so the rest of us can live in peace without Leach's painfully loooooong vowel sounds.)

Relief nonetheless. When I heard the announcement, I was swept up in Edwards's charisma, just like every other well-behaved Democrat. Repressed soccer moms, and even some drunken NASCAR dads, were putting Edwards pin-ups on their bedroom walls. (Nader-freak stoner dudes were putting pin-ups of Edwards hot daughter on their bedroom walls.) I forgot all about the facts that John McCain would've made a mind-blowing vice presidential candidate, that Teresa Heinz Kerry lives on a ninety-acre ranch and I'm so poor I've gotta live with my parents, that the Dems are closing forty miles of highways in Boston this August. For a few shining moments, until the words "trial lawyer" came out of some Republican devil's mouth, all was right with the world.

Monday, July 5, 2004

So Disillusioning...

I found the following classified ad on mediabistro.com. It's for a Life & Medical Sciences Book Editor/Senior Editor position at John Wiley & Sons, which is a publishing company & evidently the ampersand capital of the world.

You will be responsible for the development and implementation of the strategic publishing plan in the life and medical sciences ensuring the effective management of the publishing program, including the acquisition, development and profitable publication of books and products in other delivery formats. You will manage the backlist to develop revisions, negotiate terms of publishing agreements, manage the pre-production development, develop sales forecasts and participate in selecting, coaching, developing and appraising editorial support staff.

Candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the editorial job, and proven expertise in acquiring and developing projects and successfully managing and expanding program. Excellent analytical skills and judgment, negotiation skills, strong interpersonal skills and financial management skills required. To be considered, candidates must have 3 to 5 years experience in acquisitions editorial area and possess a BA or BS; PhD preferred.

We offer a competitive salary, bonus potential and a comprehensive benefits package.
You'll notice how often the actual task of editing appears in the job description — not freaking once! Okay, it says candidates need in-depth knowledge of the editorial job (incorrect use of the definite article there, by the way), but the entire position is devoted managing and negotiating and generally avoiding the written word save for those showing up in contracts. Now, call me old-fashioned, but the reason I got into this business that I haven't quite finagled my way into yet is because I like writing! I like ideas, I like words, I like language, and I like reading what others have written. (Not as much I like having others read what I've written though...)

Anybody who gets into publishing for any other reason, Dan Weiss, deserves to spend their afterlife in the third circle of hell, with nothing to read but trade magazines and Jackie Collins novels and paperback romances with a shirtless Fabio on the cover. But that's just my opinion.

Lamest Fortune Cookie Ever:

:) You are a hard worker. :)

What, were the fortune cookie muses on strike or something?

My dad, who's happy to eat the cookies but who thinks the fortunes themselves are sophomoric, got "You are an inspiring and exciting person." Maybe today is opposite day.

Sunday, July 4, 2004

You all remember T.G.I. Friday's, right? — That restaurant at the Blue Star shopping center with the nauseatingly perky waitresses where you and your friends would go to eat mainly cause it's the only restaurant in town. Well, I had my Fourth of July brunch :( there with my wild and crazy family, and I'm happy to report that T.G.I. Friday's has a new employee dress code. No more vaudeville-style red-and-white striped vests, like their waiters are walking barber poles; no more cheesy-ass "pieces of flair" (that's stoned-happy talk for pin-on buttons); same saccharine attitude from the staff, meaning it still takes the same amount of self-control not to beat the living shit out of your hostess. Okay, I guess it doesn't take quite as much self-control, considering how I no longer go to school with anybody working at T.G.I. Friday's.

Good news: Palmer Video was showing Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky, which means that the employees there actually have some semblance of taste. I get worried every time I go into that store and see thirty-eight copies of some DVD starring Tara Reid sitting on the shelf, right next to "Cruel Intentions 3."

Bad news: No one was actually in Palmer's at the time, becoming enlightened to Miyazaki's genius.

Friday, July 2, 2004

What I should've said...

Dr. Schlessinger: There's one thing I'm curious about. Why did you decide to use mescaline in your play?

Jay: They say to write about what you know.

Wardrobe Function

For some reason, Mom believes that I've got a job interview today. Maybe it's because I told her last night that I'm going into the city for a job interview, but I don't claim to understand how her mind works. In any case, it's the last time I lie to her about having an interview, because this morning, she went into conniptions when I refused to wear khaki pants to this imaginary interview. The arguing went back and forth...

Mom: You have to wear long pants.

Jay: But it's going to be eighty-seven degrees out!

Mom: You can't go to a job interview in shorts.

Jay: But I don't want to be all sweaty all day long!

Mom: No one else there will be wearing shorts. Some people will even being wearing ties.

Jay: Stop telling me how to dress! You always treat me like a child!

At which point I locked myself in my room and told her, "La la la, I'm not listening to you! You're not the boss of me!" 8-)

Mom points out that there are lots of people, lawyers and CEO's and poor dudes working at the Mens Wearhouse, who have to wear a suit and tie every day, no matter wha t the heat index. I even wore a suit and tie to my first job interview, at the U.S. Small Business Administration. It was approximately a hundred degrees outside and I was being slow-roasted in my own sweat thanks to the wardrobe. Needless to say, I didn't get the job, and I blamed it on the tie. (Honest. The interviewer told me I looked a bit uncomfortable — always a good sign — and I told it was cause of the tie.)

Getting dressed up just seems stupid, and I personally have as little respect for people who wear three-piece suits and ties in the middle of fucking summer as I do for people who go around shirtless in February. Unless they're chicks, in which case they can go shirtless whenever they like, and I won't complain. Mom says, "Well, what would you do if you if you lived in colonial times, when people wore layers and layers, all wool, no matter how hot it was outside?" I'd die of heatstroke, that's what I'd do.

And I'd like to point out to everyone who says people got along fine back in the day, even though they dressed for a blizzard no matter what the season and it was scandalous to show a millimeter of ankle and there was no air conditioning and no electric fans: back in those days, life expectancy was in the late thirties, and people said "thine" and "thee" and "methinks," and there was slavery back then.

There, I said it: suits and ties are racist.

Thursday, July 1, 2004

I never gave much thought to the dreaded job applicant question until I ran across it filling out an online applicaton yesterday. Describe a time when you worked in a team and your role in the team. I grumbled, longing for the day when the anti-socialites take over the world and reminding your co-workers that there's no 'I' in "team" will be a federal offense. But the more I looked back on it, the more clear it became that I actually went through four years of college not once working with a group of my fellow ego-driven, obsequeious, capitalizing user classmates — er, I mean, a team. No massive projects, no sports, no quiz bowl or Parliamentary debate or planning committees or — what else do people do as a group? — or orgies (damn!) or relays-for-life.

Didn't matter all that much anyway since the job is in Upper Saddle River, wherever that is. Apparently it's quite a hike, and I'm given to daily complaints about the off-hours commute into New York. So, I left the question blank. I told Anne about the questionnaire and my non-answer; she admonished me: "You can't do that," in that tone that tells me she's sick of my indignant impudence. And for my part, it was only an amusing anecdote. I know that I should have a happy teamwork story; that here I was talking to a computer that couldn't care less about, and hell, might possibly share my contempt for my fellow man; that when I'm sitting across a desk from an executive in a tie and he wants to know about a time I worked with a team, it's gotta amount to more than "Can I get another question?" The job market's not looking too good for jaded loners.... Well, maybe the post office is hiring. 8-)

But, for now at least, fuck team playing, fuck extroverts, and, while I'm at it, fuck Mr. Goudy and his sandbox skills. And the truth is, it ain't my fucking fault that I'm cynical!

Lemme tell you a little story about one time I tried accomplishing something with a group of other people.

It was junior year of high school and I was invited to some extracurricular literary-magazine how-to-be-a-humorist program at William Paterson University. For reasons I can only attribute to general asshole-ness of mankind, a mass contingent of retards, slugabeds, and jerks also managed to rummage up invites, as did Ankur, who isn't a retard, slugabed, or jerk, but who fits in with them effortlessly. It was some sort of creative expression program, where the administrative hand divided us into groups of twelve-ish whose goal was to produce a short game show skit and perform it in front of the larger congregation at the end of the day.

I found myself in group ten — and you know it was a incredibly lame experience when you still remember your group number six years later — and group ten didn't have particularly creative members. Or particularly funny ha-ha members either, for that matter. We did, however, have nine members who thought it'd be damn enlightening if we just copied those Celebrity Jeopardy parodies they used to have on Saturday Night Live, down to the fake questions that weren't all that funny when the professionals performed them.

Now, it's late at night, so I don't really have any brilliant game show ideas at this moment. But back then, at eleven in the morning, I had one or two that would've made Merv Griffin himself say, "Gee, I wish I'd thought of that.... Jay, your ideas make Wheel of Fortune look like the intellectual skeeball tournament that it is." My so-called team would have none of it. This color ends in "urple." What is light urple? That's comedy zirconium there.

Making matters worse, I had another brilliant idea that I shared with the group: we should write a script, rather than simply telling our "jokes" to each other and then forgetting them. Somehow, that idea got nixed, too.

Long story short: after lunch, I wandered away from the group and sat outside, writing. Figured that they didn't seem to need me anyway. The adult supervisor freaked, like I was alone in the playground while the killer bee swarm attacked. In fact, I think that bitch would've freaked less were I being attacked by killer bees instead of, uh, writing and not plaigarising. Actually, it took about two hours before anyone even noticed that I was gone — "Hey, wasn't there a kid with glasses here suggesting we write up a script? Our group could use a stenographer..." And the manhunt was on. Eventually, Napor and Aneesa and Jason Meehan came to my rescue and offered me coffee (group four, their group, got the classroom/lounge with the coffeemaker), but I spent the rest of the day moping on a cheap collegiate couch. Why couldn't I get the group with people I liked, why couldn't I get the group with the coffeemaker, why, if I made the world a better place by murdering my nine ex-groupmates with an axe, would I be the one going to jail?

It was the best field trip ever.

Nevertheless, it seems I'm still a bit resentful.