By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 13 – December 8, 2002
Here at the University of Victoria, it's Pick Emmanuel Apart Week, a festive time of year where people of all ages, races and major genders come together to throw things at me and generally make me feel like a sack of crap. This is, like virtually all unpleasant things on the planet including the Irish Troubles, entirely my fault. As such, this edition of Text-Heavy is my way of saying ‘I'm sorry' while immolating myself in my own funeral pyre. It also includes some random thoughts about nomenclature and Santa Clause. Read on. Here's what happened:
-Not that I was keeping it a secret, but my friends at university found out about this newsletter. To say they were unimpressed would be an understatement. Q: How do you feel your treatment thus far has been, fairness-wise? A: The Salem Witch Trials would seem like standard judicial process by comparison. I keep expecting an angry, torch-wielding mob to show up at my door and demand to see if I can float on water. And then I'd mention that that was Jesus, not witches. And then someone would bring up the fact that that's way off topic, and then they'd burn me. I've got it all planned out.
-I guess it's not important, but the original version of the intro had ‘Spanish Inquisition' in lieu of ‘Irish Troubles'. However, I realized that there was no way of mentioning the Inquisition without people thinking of Monty Python, especially when I talk about burning witches in the very next paragraph. And that's kind of sad. Thank goodness for the Irish, with their never-ending fountain of comedic potential. Those wacky Brits.
-Near as I can reckon, the biggest problem people had with this newsletter was how I propagate lies about my friends while at the same time making them out to look like fools, tramps, etc. I'd like it noted that this was about as far from my intent as possible. However, I do understand their feelings, and as such I will from here on in use pseudonyms and try to make anecdotal stories more closely approximate the truth, humor be damned. See? You thought I was going to have a joke here, didn't you? Aren't true stories hilarious?
-Three things I've learned from this experience: #1) I am the world's most terrible person and I will burn in the pits of Hell for all eternity, if I'm lucky (this, by the way, is not news. I've been saying that for years.) #2) Somewhere along the way, I misspelled ‘pajamas'. #3) If Tiffany ever sees me, she's going to kick me somewhere that will make it so I can never be a father. Shoot, I meant Francine. This pseudonym stuff is hard to get used to.
-Now Playing: “Displaced” by Azure Ray. A song to say I'm sorry by, if there ever was one. Now, I'm not, as one reader believed, in any way suggesting that anyone reading this participate in illegal mp3 action. Remember: Every time you download an illegal mp3, God kills a kitten. Or an angel loses her wings. Or something. It's bad, don't do it.
-I went over to my friend's dorm room the other day and discovered that a large section of wall space was occupied by an organ. Now, I always knew he was eccentric, but I never knew this guy was crazy. I can just imagine him pushing this abortion of a musical instrument up 3 flights of stairs, navigating tight corners and finally squeezing it into a room that rivals, in terms of cubic footage, my jumbo box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The best part is he has no idea how to play the organ. He can learn, he says. I don't know, that's what I used to think about his ability to not be weird.
-When I think of all the people in the world who desperately need organs to live, and how there's one just sitting in a dorm room unused, I want to cry. (Ha ha, a pun.)
-With regular classes over for the semester, the dorms have implemented strict 24-hour quiet hours, clearly violating one's right to atonally play the organ. So people have been coming over to my house so they can be as loud as they want. Apparently, this is the college student's dream. It's not about being drunk, or being high, or getting laid. It's about being loud. At least this explains why everyone I know always seems to have a sore throat and inner ear damage.
-I had my first exam this week. The night before, I desperately called everyone else in the class, since none of us had the foresight to take any notes. It took me until 11:00pm, but I finally got my hands on some smart girl's class notes, so I rushed over to my house to study, by which I mean play Playstation games until 2. Then I made garlic bread and watched TV, to get into ‘learning mode'. Then I promptly fell asleep and got to the exam a half-hour late. I think I did alright, though. I mean, not everyone in the class had notes as complete as these from which to study.
-Some professors you just want to run up to and hug. My Christmas reading list included “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. I figured I'd save lots of time if I just rented the movie instead, but then I accidentally went to the entirely wrong kind of video store. I never knew that learning could be so much fun. Hooray for gynecological detail.
-Boolean operators confound me. Why is there no word for ‘and/or'? You'd think Merriam-Webster would be all over this. I mean, we use the term all the time, and it sounds so stupid with that forwardslash in there. I was thinking sbout some easy-to-remember world like ‘rand' to replace it. Everyone would know what it meant, and just think of all those precious seconds of typing you'd save. That's it, I'm writing an angry letter. “Dear Sir rand Madam…”
-I know a guy who wanted to, as a Christmas present, mail some magical mushrooms to his friend overseas. Thing is, I'd never seen someone so paranoid about things like metal detectors, mail traces, drug dogs and the evil man at customs who wants us all dead. If I didn't know him so well, I would have sworn that it was my FRIEND who was shrooming. Then again, that would explain the organ in his room.
-It's Christmas shopping time again. A popular gift item this holiday season is the University of Victoria sweatshirt. This handsome piece would make a delightful gift for any friend or family who lacks even the smallest shred of taste. I mean, come on, purple on grey? Ewww… Also, ringing in at nearly sixty dollars after taxes, this may well be the biggest ripoff in the history of time (and I include the invasion of Normandy in that statement). Seriously, folks. The potential recipient of this gift would probably be happier with a bag of sand.
-I'm a terrible Jew. I forgot it was Hannukah. One of my Jewish friends reminded me about 2 days in. See, she's a good Jew: She had the candles and everything. Of course, you're not allowed to light candles in dormitory rooms, so you can either have the world's saddest Hannukah by staring at a bunch of unlit candles for an hour, or you can light them up in secret and try to blow smoke out the window so it doesn't set off the fire alarm. Let's look on the bright side: If the RAs get mad we can accuse them of hate crimes, and that's always a lot of fun.
-I remember when I was a little boy, I would stay up all night on Hannukah waiting for the great Hannuklause to come down from the chimney and leave presents under the menorah. He never did, though, that cheap bastard. Also, I'm pretty sure he peed in the tsimmis.
-Well, this week hasn't been entirely about me apologizing for my sins. I also got the phone call of my dreams when I was offered a room in residence for next semester. I told my roommates I was moving out, expecting a heartfelt goodbye. Instead I got this week's Sentimental Quote of the Moment: “Can we keep your bed?” Sure. While you're at it why don't you take my soul, too?
-Here's the best part, as I see it, of moving into residence in January: Everyone else is already friends. I get to spend the next four months as an even bigger pariah than I already am. Maybe, if I'm really lucky, I'll get to eat at the cafeteria all by myself. Now that's what I call a good time. I don't see any point in doing something if you're not gonna do it kicking and screaming.
-I'm going to be living with a roommate. I don't know who he is, but he must be a real lunatic if his former roommate had to move out halfway through the year. That's why I've already begun preparing witty, off-the-cuff retorts to anything my future roommate might say or do to piss me off. Here's what I've got so far: “No, YOU shut up.” “Oh, yeah? Well you're hogging all the STUPID.” And, my personal favorite: “I'll cut you, bitch.” Residence, here I come.
-And, finally, if I could be any superhero in the world right now, I wouldn't choose Superman or Batman or Spiderman or anything. I'd choose to be the one who's really sorry for angering and offending his friends by way of this newsletter, and who has the power to make them forgive him. Or Aquaman, because he's really cool.