November 6, 2001

Dear Diary

Dear Diary

(1) Well, it's Monday night. I'm not going to lie to you again. Nothing has changed in the last seven days. And if anything had changed, this would not be the place to read about it. I have a paper to write. So I figure there are three things I could be doing right now. I can never make up my mind about stuff like this. So I figure it will be more fun if you play along with me in this choose-your-own-adventure-styley thing. Please do. It took me the better part of a half-hour to write this.

(2) Option One I could go to the library and get the books I need to write my paper and then sit down and read the books and then at some undetermined point in between now and Wednesday afternoon, I would use the knowledge that I have been bequeathed by the aforementioned books (from the library) to write the paper. Then I would give this paper to my professor and he would be satisfied, until he decided to demand something else from me.

(3) Pros: Professor may be pleased, at least until he reads paper. May result in passing class.

(4) Cons: Plan includes going to library, which means I will get anthrax and die. This is actually a pro nested inside a con. Because at this point, I am not strictly opposed to dying from anthrax. But if I have to go to the Reg to contract anthrax, well, fuck that. Now, that might change in the next two days. In fact, I am willing to wager that by Wednesday morning, I'll be banging down the doors of the Reg to get at that anthrax. The news section is informing me that there is not actually anthrax in the Reg. First, they are lying. Second, if there's no anthrax in the Reg, why did someone tell me there was? People don't just make stuff up or embellish things to the point of distorting reality. I firmly believe that there is anthrax in the Reg. Anyway, I'm not going to the Reg.

If you choose Option One, skip ahead to ¶#15.

(5) Option Two I could not go to the library and not write my paper until Wednesday morning. Instead of going to the library, I will stay here, at the newspaper, and do what I am told is my job, overseeing the production of what is alleged to be an arts & entertainment section for the Chicago Maroon.

(6) Pros: I can smoke here, and there is free Diet Coke. Although I am informed that the Pub has run out of Nibblers brought to here from das Vaterland by the singing gnomes of the Hanover Snyders. Mach schnell mit das Nibblers, bitte. Taag.

(7) Cons: Have to spend up to four hours with "newspaper cretins" and their ghoulish empty eyes devouring my poor Catholic self with their no-Popery bloodlust. I feel no shame in my Popishness. Murderous Sassenachs! Also, paper will be less a sober academic effort and more a testament to what might have happened if you were to mash feces into a keyboard to the tune of "Blue Moon."

If you choose Option Two, skip ahead to ¶#13.

(8) Option Three I could smash a bunch of bottles on the floor and proceed to roll around in broken glass until I die or come close enough to dying for the purposes of this exercise in sophistry.

(9) Pros: Condenses systematic self-torture that I will invariably be experiencing over next two days into a brief, more readily digested kernel. Saves time, energy and gives me handy excuse for why I am turning in a laserdisc copy of the 1985 Al Pacino-Donald Sutherland feature Revolution instead of 10 pages about Bacon's Rebellion. The excuse also explains why I am covered in small cuts and bleeding profusely.

(10) Cons: None that I can see.

If you choose Option Three, skip ahead to ¶ #11.

(11) Your plan works! You roll around in broken glass for a couple hours, until some of your concerned colleagues at the newspaper decide you were probably doing yourself more harm than good and call an ambulance. The ambulance takes you to the hospital, where they give you Demerol. Then your professor comes by and offers to forget about the paper, just so long as you get him some Demerol. Then you go to Atlantic City to play in this big pool tournament. But on the train this crazy bitch who was going to shoot the Whammer shoots you instead, ending your promising baseball career. Or so we are made to think! Sixteen years later, you reappear as a 35-year-old virgin prowling for ass at the housewares section of the Ford City Target, when you are mistaken for a shoplifter and viciously beaten about the head and neck with mops until you repent for your sins.

(12)My dad would like to clarify that the foul ball of several columns past came to him not directly from the bat of George Bell but from that bat to the hands of one Mr. Carmen Castillo, who then tossed the ball to my dad. Tames, don't think this absolves you of anything.

(13) Bad news! While you're lurking around the Maroon office waiting for someone to talk to you, a Landcrawler full of Jawas comes by. Uncle Owen decides that we need some new droids for the west ridge and buys a shiny gold protocol bitch and a little R2 unit, who is also a bitch. And it turns out these droids were part of the Rebellion and then Old Ben Kenobi tells you the truth about Dad, not without a bit of homoeroticism. Then Skip passes over your turn in the rotation because Harris has a little more experience and a bit better record against the Yankees. But don't read anything into it; you're one of the guys who got us here, Rick. Then this kid Zach punches you in the neck.

(14) RIP Steve Olin 1965-1993 and to a lesser extent RIP Tim Crews 1961-1993. No one talks about the fact that the best young closer in the AL and one of his less talented teammates were decapitated by a DOCK resulting from drunken boating. Fucking leftist boarding school elitist Eastern Seaboard media monopoly be damned, my story will be told.

(15) You chose to go to the Reg and write your paper instead of going to the newspaper or rolling around in broken glass. This was the wrong choice. You head off to the Reg and get the books you need, and the paper comes off surprisingly well. You hand it in, and at the next class meeting, the professor takes you aside and tells you how pleased he is with your work, considering the fact that you are batting approximately .215 in terms of class attendance. Everything's going great, until you die of anthrax sometime in the next 12 to 15 business days.

(16) This gesture kind of loses its impact when transmogrified into newsprint, but I am wagging a loosely made fist back an' forth in a fashion meant to resemble masturbation. It's unclear who or what this gesture is meant for.

Pictures, from top right clockwise:

The author, circa 1984, attending The New Yorker's annual staff softball game.

Also the author, circa 1985, attending the Confirmation of JFK Jr. Pictured with him is Jackie Kennedy.

Also the author, circa 1977. He is the gold robot.

Also the author, circa 1989.