"In vacant or in pensive mood..." I am: Bekah; 24; Law Student / Favorite Things: Carbs (so there!), Johnny Damon, Smiling at babies, Grilled cheese, Comfortable silence / Favorite Supreme Court Justice: Brennan / Favorite Wilson: Owen by an inch / Today's Special: Song: Elliott Smith, "Bled White"; Quote: "You know, there's like a butt-load of gangs at this school. This one gang kept wanting me to join because I'm pretty good with a bowstaff." Please love me: email@example.com
February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 September 2005
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
To: Law professors
From: Your conscience (remember me?)
Re: Emulating Satan is not friendly
Dear Law professors:
I know you are not, for the most part, inherently evil individuals. My father is one of your kind, and he is a good man. But for the love of God, take one moment to look at yourselves. Look at what you've become. Are you a short man? If so, please don't take it out on your students. Do not attempt to be entertaining when writing exam questions. Do not use "silly" names (e.g., Kirk and Picard, har har) or the names of your students. Do not provide bizarre fact patterns with "amply bosomed" women or horse copulation patterns. Exams are not funny. Chances are, neither are you. Do not give 1000 multiple choice questions in 30 minutes. Do not write an impossibly difficult exam for the express purpose of making students feel so horrible about their performance that they'll be happy with whatever grade they receive and won't come complain to you. (I know some of you do this, my dad told on you). Do not minimize the horror, anguish, fear, self-loathing, or despair that some students feel during exams. Do not forget that good students can make mistakes and become paralyzed by the pressure of the exam situation. Try to understand the gravity of the fact that your exam is the one and only chance your students get to show you what they know. That's all. Now I must go prepare for an exam which will likely disregard everything I've requested or suggested.
Monday, April 28, 2003
I was told before coming to law school that English and Philosophy were great preparatory majors. I will admit that both subjects teach you how to write and think critically and how to analyze what you read, etc. But while these skills are of course valuable in an abstract sense, it is a dirty lie to say they're the best prep for law school. I would say history, government, or business top the list. Hell, even chemistry or math. Something--anything--that will familiarize you with the ever-elusive "real world" where people buy goods, write wills, and work for corporations. The real world is not a place where people learn about iambic pentameter and contemplate brains in vats. Now when I tell other law students what I studied in college they act like I just lost a close relative. "Oh, ooh, English, huh? Sorry about that." Yeah, thanks. At least I have a soul!
I'm doing some final studying for my first exam right now, the girl at the table next to me sounds like she's hacking up a lung and maybe a few ribs. She needs to get that cough under control if she's going to be in a room filled with undernourished and overextended law students taking one exam representative of 4 months of hard labor. I'm going to pray for her. And for my own deliverance from Contracts II.
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Ah, again, I have to write about some law school related things that will make absolutely no sense to normal people, so I apologize if you are in that class. (Class. That reminds me of a class action suit, which reminds me of the justiciability doctrine of mootness, which reminds me that I have to look in my Con Law book and remember what case that was, excuse me one moment...ah yes, Geraghty, with the guy on parole, which reminds me of the parol evidence rule at section 2-202 of the UCC, which reminds me of lawyer's professional duties as to real evidence, which reminds me of burying your client's gun in someone's backyard, which reminds me of trespass to land, which reminds me of adverse possession...). Law school has completely commandeered my thought processes. I can't function in the world. World, world...that sounds familiar. I'm pretty sure it's a place larger than the coffeehouse, but I think it has disappeared. Today I was listening to a cd, (Elliott, False Cathedrals, new obsession), and I swear I heard the line, "You are the perfect tender, for all the goods I render." What the hell! The Reasonable Man, nonconformities, unforseen supervening contingencies, natural and foreign substances (there was a piece of red yarn in my salad yesterday; Whole Foods better check themselves and their particular purpose), prima facie unconscionability...these things are all accosting me 24 hours a day. The Reasonable Man is being especially feisty lately. I think we need to have a chat, one on one. I'm going to advise him that he should lighten up a little. No one is reasonable ALL of the time. In fact, I think the Reasonable Man and I are going to go crack a Miller Light (yes, the one that's been chillin' in the fridge with the mustard since December) and watch a little TV.
I did have a momentary non-law school thought today. I remembered the opening lines of Wordsworth's Intimations Ode (ah, the fruits of a liberal arts education): "There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, the earth and every common sight to me did seem apparelled in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath been of yore, turn wheresoer I may, by night or day, the things which I have seen, I now can see no more." I feel ya, Billy.
Saturday, April 26, 2003
I was talking with my friend Greg about the Commerce Clause yesterday. In case you a) are a supremely lucky individual and are not in law school, or b) somehow haven't gotten to chance to brush up on your knowledge of the Constitution lately (why ever not?), the Commerce Clause is a provision in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate commerce. (Damn, that's a lot of C's. That makes me think of consonance and poetry and nice, pretty things I used to be able to read before the Uniform Commercial Code and Estates in Land decided to take over. Why can't I go back to a time when I could just read Middlemarch and call it a day?) Anyway, I will only subject you to one piece of information about the Commerce Clause so that I can tell my story. It's short and painless: one of the Supreme Court's early interpretations of "commerce" was "commercial intercourse." So back to the story, I was talking to Greg and he said that every Con Law issue looks like the Commerce Clause to him. And then the male psyche became so clear to me. I breathed an exasperated sigh and explained, "It's not all about intercourse, Greg."
Friday, April 25, 2003
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
I know, I'm big on the lists lately, but it's just because they allow me to say a lot of short, unrelated things without having to draw them together in any coherent way. So here's a list from the past few days. Wait, I'll justify the list: Its randomness represents my state of mind during exams. There, see, I'm not slacking.
1. Today at the coffeehouse (and by "today," I do mean the full 24 hours), I made small talk with a boy who had a fantastic hipster combover. I was wearing one of my Beck t-shirts that says "The Beck," and he asked, while handing me my coffee, "what's 'The Beck'?" Thrilled that he spoke to me, I smiled nervously and answered, "It's just Beck referring to himself in the third person because he's that cool. And my name is Rebekah, so it's kind of a double meaning. Hehe." He seemed pleased. I looked around to make sure people had seen the interaction. It was a moment of vindication for me because I'm usually really intimidated by the people who work at the coffeehouse. They wear vintage jeans and old Velvet Underground shirts. They have jackets with 1950's political buttons and ones that say things like "God is for wimps" and "I love Joey Ramone." They do not bathe often, because they are above such things. And one of them actually spoke to me. My hipster level is rapidly increasing by association.
2. I was talking to one of my friends yesterday about how my mom is in Oxford writing a book and my dad is a law professor, and how I sometimes feel (slightly) inferior. He said, "Oh, I'm sure they live just to look at you." By far the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I'm still smiling today at the thought.
3. I saw a boy today and knew something was strange about his appearance. Then I realized that he was walking without swinging his arms naturally by his sides. This gave him a very evil automaton-like aspect, as if he were on a mission to eradicate the human race. The look of distant determination in his eyes also suggested that he was trying to keep his arms still as part of some sort of sick experiment. In a moment of intense psychological insight, I decided that he must have been one of those kids who worked tirelessly day after day at recess trying to jump on the shadow of his head, or bite his own ear, or to perform other sundry tasks that are not humanly possible. Then one day, entirely by chance, he discovered the stiff-armed walk and was able to defy natural human behavior in a way he couldn’t before. Additionally, I concluded that he has trouble interacting normally in social settings, suffers from feelings of inadequacy, and likely has unresolved issues with his mother. Some people are so easy to read.
Monday, April 21, 2003
The weight of exams is descending. I only have time for a few thoughts today:
1. I was walking behind two law students this morning, and they both stopped dead in their tracks at a "don't walk" sign, despite the fact that the streets were deserted. I deftly circumvented them and continued on my way. That experience illustrates a lot of things, but I'm too tired to go into the details. Feel free to draw your own conclusions. What really pisses me off is that those two are probably going to kick my ass on the Contracts exam. Something is just not right.
2. If I see or hear about another med student who smokes like a chimney, I am going to pull my hair out. I already think smoking is, hands down, the dumbest thing a person can do. Tied with drunk driving, maybe. But a med student who smokes is just the last straw. I think they actually light up as their looking at overhead projections of blackened lungs and cancer of the mouth. ("Yes, (cough, cough), his throat is quite (cough) red and inflamed.") Maybe they know something I don't.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
I really really hate having to order things with cheesy names. I also hate the fact that employees at places like Smoothie King actually enjoy watching the poor customers squirm as they make their orders. Today, I wanted a pineapple smoothie. But could I order a "Pineapple Smoothie"? Oh, no. That would make too much sense. No, at Smoothie King, one must order a "Pinapple Pleasure." I think it's obvious that there is something fundamentally wrong with having to utter the word "pleasure" in a Smoothie King, especially to a greasy man with a ponytail who has protein powder on his shirt. I also find it offensive that I am required to refer to a simple blended beverage in such a fancy way. I get upset about having to do it, and then I get nervous and flustered. Today, I tried to rebel. "I'd like a small pineapple please." "Is that a pineapple pleasure?" "Yes. Yes, that's right," I grumbled. Like he didn't know. Smug bastard.
Friday, April 18, 2003
An Unsavory Client
As a prospective lawyer, it’s important for me to be able to make tough arguments. Regardless of the situation, a good lawyer can bend and manipulate the facts, deftly molding them to her will. In this advocatory spirit, I was planning to mount one of the most difficult defenses in the history of lawyering: Representation of the gefilte fish. For some entirely unknown reason, I’ve always liked the stuff. I’ve been subjected to merciless ridicule by my peers for this affinity, and I wanted finally to defend gefilte fish with the loyalty, zeal, and diligence required of the members of my noble profession. I wasn’t going to rest until justice was no longer maligned. But sadly, I came to a harsh realization. Gefilte fish is indefensible.
We’ve all heard the common accusations: “It looks gross;” “It’s slimy;” “It tastes like catfood;” “Mom, it’s mutating.” One might even add the following observations to the list: It’s gray. It’s made with a mold (not jell-o). The composition of “gefilte” is unidentifiable. It’s stored in jars with clumps of clear gelatinous material. It’s served in the company of lamb bones. It’s porous. It’s dense. It smells questionable at best. I have to admit, gefilte fish has nothing concrete to recommend it. I can’t refute any of the complaints. I don’t think I could even argue that you can’t prove mutation beyond a reasonable doubt, because I’m sure there have been plenty of eyewitnesses. It comes down to this: I’d have an easier time defending a Carrot Top look-alike serial killer who tortures puppies in his spare time.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Shard Day’s Night
I’ve had to deal with a variety of rude awakenings in my life. When I was a camp counselor, packs of hyper preadolescent girls shook and squealed me awake on a daily basis. In high school, my Dad often blasted me awake with high-volume Sgt. Pepper. (Somehow “Good Morning, Good Morning,” while undoubtedly a classic, loses some of its appeal first thing in the morning. I think it was specifically the clanging and rooster noises that made me want beat Sgt. Pepper about the head with his own shoulder pads and draw and quarter the Lonely Hearts Club Band). In college, I sometimes awoke to the melodious sound of someone vomiting in the bathroom across the hall. Given this vast experience, I thought I’d had the worst of it. Now I’m not so sure.
Until yesterday, I kept a small (though quite heavy), stained-glass lamp on the windowsill above my bed. I used it as a reading light, in order to eliminate the need to get out of bed at night and walk two feet to flip the light switch. (Note to self: Sloth really is a deadly sin). Last night, in my agitated dream state (I must have been dreaming of Jon Stewart), I turned, pulled the lamp cord, and caused the lamp, complete with glass lampshade, to descend onto my head.
Recall how annoyed you feel when your alarm goes off in the morning. Now couple that annoyance with searing pain and multicolored shards of glass embedded in your hair, and you might begin to appreciate my state of mind. I would describe it as exasperated anguish. I lay there dazed, coming to terms with the following facts: a) I was lying in a pile of glass, b) what was left of the lamp was still resting on my face, c) I lacked the motivation to remove it, and d) the ringing in my ear was not the telephone.
Oh, my futon! My steadfast friend and safe haven! From this day forth you will herald unspeakable trauma! After such betrayal, can I ever learn to love again? And more important, must I forever suffer from an unholy fear of table lamps? Please God, give me the strength to heal.
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
I walked into the reading room this morning and was shocked to see that it was completely empty. I got the rush you get when you and your friend are the only ones in the movie theater. There is something empowering about being by yourself in a public place. I wanted to sing and do cartwheels just to exploit my aloneness. But then, as I walked more completely into the room, I noticed a girl sitting in the corner, buried in a book. We looked at each other and shared a knowing smile. “Feel free to run around and scream if you want,” she said. I told her I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing cartwheels now. She seemed to understand.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
May It Please the Court?
As you might imagine, trudging through case after case of reading in law school can get a little monotonous. Luckily, every once in a while the wayward law student will come across a case that manages to lighten things up a little. In the course of my studies, I’ve noticed two general types of case law humor, both of which are pretty damn hilarious compared to the usual crap I have to read. Keep in mind, of course, that it’s all relative.
The first type of case law humor occurs when the Judge consciously tries to be funny by coming up with some sort of “hip and happening” pun. (Kind of like when you’re walking in the zoo and your Dad says, “Look at the owls Bekah! Those are the holiest birds around. They’re birds of Pray.”) Judges, like Dads, love a good corny play on words, and they’re not afraid to show off their skills at the expense of the decorum of the court. For example, in his searing dissent in a high profile case about baitfish, Justice Stevens quips, “There is something fishy about this case.” Oh Justice Stevens, you old stinker! You absolutely slay me! That was a good one. But Justice Blackmun really takes it up a notch in the old favorite, Lester Baldwin v. Fish and Game Commission of Montana. Blackmun whips out our dear friend sarcasm and lets her rip: “Equality in access to Montana elk is not basic to the maintenance or well-being of the Union.” Thank you, Justice Blackman. Could you be any more condescending to recreational elk hunters? And really, I don’t think it’s such a good idea to piss those people off.
The other kind of humor occurs when the Judge isn’t even trying to be funny. It comes up when the case is kind of recent, and the Judge is speaking about some “newfangled” thing with which we are now all too familiar. For example, in a Criminal Law case I read last semester from the early 90’s, the Judge was very particular about describing a strange new thing called the INTERNET (yes, it was in all CAPS) which allows companies and universities to COMMUNICATE through a complex network of SUPERCOMPUTERS. A 1972 case I just read for Con Law was equally amusing. In it, the honorable Justice Powell writes, “The Center embodies a relatively new concept in shopping center design. The stores are all located within a single large, multi-level building complex sometimes referred to as the ‘Mall.’” Doesn’t reading that kind of feel like the scene in Back to the Future when the saleslady explains to Marty what a Dustbuster is? Yeah, it’s stuff like this that gets me through the day. I seriously need to get out more.
Monday, April 14, 2003
The following conversation is a metaphor for my relationship with the opposite sex, and kind of for the human condition as I see it right now. In response to several inquiries, I will assure you: it is technically fictional.
Other: Hello? Is someone there?
Bekah: Yes. I'm standing right here.
Other: Oh, hi. Didn't see you there.
Bekah: So, how are you?
Bekah: (Waits for reciprocal "How are you." Doesn't receive it.) I see you're wearing a Bob Dylan T-shirt. That's awesome.
Other: What's awsome about it? I've never heard of him. I got it at Thrift City.
Bekah: Oh, so you're wearing it to be ironic?
Other: What's ironic?
Bekah: This conversation, in some ways. But anyway, I guess I should go to class now.
Other: You should get a flask?
Bekah: No, class.
Other: Oh, whatever. I like fruit sometimes.
Bekah: Class at the law school. I go to law school. What do you do?
Other: My mom says I don't eat healthy enough, but I tell her, "I eat bananas sometimes. With peanut butter." That's good shit. And bananas are a type of fruit.
Bekah: Yeah, my cleaning lady used to make me peanut butter and banana sandwiches when I was little. I love that memory.
Other: But about that flask, you should get it engraved with something cool.
Bekah: She usually made them for me when I was home sick from school. It's so interesting what memories stay with you. That was over 15 years ago.
Other: My brother has one that says "2 Cool 4 U." So you can't use that. It's taken.
Bekah: I wish I could stay home sick from law school.
Other: Once we got trashed outside of the Winn Dixie with that flask. Those were fun times.
Bekah: But I guess I'm in it for the long haul now. Which is why I have to go study.
Other: Whatever, bitch.
Saturday, April 12, 2003
Things Are Getting Ugly, In More Ways Than One
Warning: The following opinions are not those of the author. They are of the author’s fictional alter-ego who says and thinks not so nice things sometimes. Especially when it’s a Saturday night, she's studying for exams, and the only items in the fridge are mustard, a bottle of Miller High Life, and a jar of rasberry preserves (true story). The author apologizes in advance for any offense taken. She is disappointed in herself too.
I (that is, my fictional alter-ego) was watching The Learning Channel a few weeks ago, and I saw part of a special program about something called Facial Distortion Syndrome or something like that. I can’t remember the exact name. But basically, it’s a “disease” that makes people think they are physically repulsive. They hate looking in the mirror and are afraid to go outside and be seen in public. (At first I thought these people might just be on their periods, but then I noticed it was a male ailment as well). The program had experts explaining the various symptoms of the disease, how debilitating it is, etc. And then they showed some people who had it. And here’s the thing: they really WERE ugly! I don’t just mean homely. I mean good old-fashioned ugly stepsister hideous. They all suffered from various combinations of mullets, leather skin, hairy moles, wall-eyes, and (at least for the women) moustaches. I don’t call these people sick; I call them ultra perceptive! Not to mention really considerate of other people, seeing as they choose not to leave their homes very often. Maybe they should pass their heightened self knowledge on to the old men who insist on wearing Speedos on the banks of the Dead Sea. I mean really, now they're trying to say ugly people have a clinical disease? I'm already skeptical enough of "ADHD," also known in a majority of cases as "DEWO (damn easy way out)" or, "NOSIT (I don't like sitting still too much; please drug me so you don't have to discipline me, ever)."
(Imagine that I’m Jon Stewart right now. I have his “I’m really sorry that a basically nice person like me said something like that, but it had to be done” look on my face. Very sheepish. Now I’m going to go say 10 Hail Marys (can Jews do that? It couldn’t hurt), help an old lady cross the street, and adopt 14 starving orphans).
Friday, April 11, 2003
Ode to a Notebook
I am a sick individual. Buying new school supplies is an experience that changes my entire outlook on the world. When I feel as though I can’t go on, buying a new notebook with brightly colored dividers actually makes me want to learn again. Like most people, I traditionally do my school shopping at the start of the semester. But I think I have discovered the key to overcoming end-of-the-semester apathy. It’s so simple, a child could have thought of it: get supplementary school supplies in the final weeks before exams! I bought a new notebook on Wednesday, and some tabs and gold metallic paperclips, and I hopped out of bed Thursday morning with a charisma I haven’t felt in months. Why? Because I knew brightly-colored tabs were waiting to be meticulously placed in my Con Law book! And why is that exciting? Because if I’m organizing my notes and tabbing my books, I have achieved what is, for me, a zen-like state of existence: I can be productive without actually doing anything! Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go attack my Property book with post-its and fluorescent stickies, and punch holes in all of my handouts.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Marbles, Minds, and Other Lost Objects
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my recent reversion to infancy. Now I must tell you that the situation is even worse than I thought. I have officially lost all cognitive capability. And it’s not even exam time yet. The following is a completely honest account of the past few days’ activities:
1. Put mouthwash on a cotton ball; discovered it was not, in fact, astringent.
2. Almost cried when my car didn’t move after turning the key in the ignition. Then remembered to shift out of park.
3. Washed my hair with bodywash; learned that my budgetary requirements will not involve cutting out shampoo.
4. Left my windshield wipers on high for the entire drive home from school, despite the fact that it was not raining. Didn’t notice until I pulled into my driveway.
5. Panicked when the woman issuing me my passport at the post office asked me to raise my right hand in order to take an oath. Looked down to find the “L” that my left hand makes. Was confused.
6. Contemplated how funny the word “owl” is. Ha. Owl.
7. Considered eating cold vegetable soup for dinner, out of a can; miraculously thought better of it (but only after tasting it).
8. Argued with my Con Law professor about the “Platonic Goodness” of Washington Apples. In class.
9. Slept on my futon without sheets for two nights without noticing their absence until I got cold and missed the covers.
10. Had a staring contest with the psychotic cat that set up camp outside my door. Lost.
11. Admitted numbers 1-10 to the general public.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Today I have a special treat for the Marathon. My friend Micah was nice enough to recruit me to help him with his weekly online sports column. Check it out: "Battle of the Sexes" at www.fantasydaily.com.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
I am incompetent and just deleted my last post while writing another one. Sorry for the mistake...I just don't have the energy to write it again. But here's a new one.
Making the World Better for Our Children, One Word at a Time
You know, I think I’ve been bitten by the teaching bug. Both my parents are professors, and now I have proof that I’ve got their genes.
When I was eighteen months old, my parents thought it would be fun to do a little experiment. They taught me to say “ominous” when it was dark and cloudy outside. So when company was over, they’d point outside and say, “Bekah, look!” And I’d say, “ominous” like a little baby freak of nature. Let me tell you, that was quite a conversation starter.
I was a camp counselor for several summers, and my campers’ favorite thing to do was talk about my funny baby stories. Like how I had two black eyes, a cut on my cheek, and a cone head when I was born because of an unfortunate run-in with some forceps. That’s an old favorite. So of course the “ominous” story was another big hit, except for one thing. I had to explain what “ominous” meant first. And that’s where the teaching came in. I have officially had a definite and meaningful effect on my campers’ lives. See for yourself. The following is a conversation I had tonight with one of my campers:
cbk4732: i heard the weather man say ominous this afternoon
cbk4732: and i knew what it meant!
cbk4732: and when i was driving home and saw the clouds i thought...wow thats ominous
BekahPage: you are so good cind!
cbk4732: all thanks to you!!
You see that? That is making a difference. That is having a positive impact on America’s youth. I think I may very well be pursuing the wrong career.
Monday, April 07, 2003
Yes, fine, let me clear the air. Contrary to my confident predictions, Kansas lost the championship game tonight. But I don't want to dwell on the bad points (aren't free throws supposed to yield at least a few free points? Isn't Hinrich supposed to hit the 3's once in a while?). Instead, I would like to pay tribute to the Jayhawks for winning my heart, even if they did end up breaking it. First of all, I love Roy Williams. Did you hear him say he didn't give a shit about North Carolina tonight? Did you see him make sure McNamara was okay when he plowed into the table? That's what I'm talking about. Pure love of the game and the players makes him the unsurpassed coach he is. Even Syracuse will (and did) admit that he was the stand out coach tonight, giving the players their timeouts when they needed a rest, driving the comeback to within 3 points. I didn't go to a big school, and I really missed out on having a big team to identify with. Kansas gave me that tonight, and I am not going to turn on them now. I think they were fighters in this game, and went up against some eerily on-target perimeter shooting from Syracuse. In this optimistic spirit, here are a few words of consolation for you Jayhawks fans:
1. Hinrich still looks like a British rock star, so he is inherently cooler than anyone else.
2. Orange is still an ugly color, and Orangemen is still the stupidest mascot ever conceived.
3. If a coach is going to win the final four, it's kind of cool that he's Jewish. Maybe Boeheim will make it into Adam Sandler's next Hanukah song?
4. Carmelo Anthony will go pro before the Orange shine of "One Shining Moment" has even begun to dim.
5. The majority of Syracuse fans will wake up tomorrow morning in a Bourbon Street gutter, while KA fans will go home to their loving friends and family. Roy Williams would be proud.
Sunday, April 06, 2003
People who have never been to Bourbon Street probably think anything said or written about it is hyperbole. (Why would so many people really want to eat and drink to excess in a place that reeks of everything—and I mean everything—that the human body expels? Isn’t that like having Thanksgiving dinner in a sewer?) As a Bourbon Street veteran, I can assure you that anything you hear about this den of iniquity is truer than your innocent soul could imagine. It is difficult to put the sights, sounds, and especially smells of Bourbon Streets into words, but I’ll try to hit the high points with my Top 5 Reasons Why I Love to Hate Bourbon Street:
1. Confrontation with Horses’ Asses. Every night, policemen on horseback proudly patrol Bourbon Street, valiantly guarding their fair subjects from dangerous thugs in covered wagons and possible invasion by catapulted boulders. Due to this efficient policing practice, Bourbon Street is the only place I know where you can be confronted by a horse’s ass in your face with absolutely no notice. Generally, if you are reasonably cognizant of your surroundings you have at least a moment’s warning that you are approaching a horse’s ass. But on Bourbon Street, you can be inside a dense crowd one second and inches from a horse’s ass the next without knowing what hit you. On my latest venture to Bourbon, I made this very observation to a group of friends after encountering the ass (and almost the hoof) of a police horse. My friend Micah said something like, “I didn’t realize it offended you so much to run into me!” And then the beauty of Bourbon Street became even more evident: You can run into literal AND figurative horse’s asses without warning, and you might not be able to tell the difference!
2. Getting Back to Nature. It is an understatement to say that there is something primal about Bourbon Street, given that the typical patron is Cro-Magnon man with beads. Food. Carnal desire. Excrement. Bourbon Street has all of the basics. Beads are really the only thing that separates Bourbon Streeters from the apes. Surprisingly, even in their drunken states, men on Bourbon Street are able to identify “Beads” as a bright, shiny symbol for the greater category of activities related to “Sex.” It is this kind of high-level associative power that makes humans such an impressive species. (A word of advice: Avoid Bourbon Street at all costs if you are prone to do any of the following: despair about the human condition, judge people who urinate in public, scorn projectile vomiting, or smile at people you don’t know, just to be nice).
3. Knowing the Lay of the Land. To an unpracticed visitor, Bourbon Street can be a dangerous and disgusting booby trap (pun clearly intended). It is one long obstacle course, with pitfalls and distractions at every turn. Pools of vomit and piles of fresh horse crap are situated randomly on the ground as a test of agility. Beer waterfalls descend from various balconies without warning. Horrifying flashes of naked flesh pierce the darkness. Three-foot poles blocking cars’ entry onto the street are often obscured by the crowd, and can catch less-attentive Bourbon Streeters right in the groin. Scary men with greasy ponytails beckon to you from the dark recesses of their vile lairs. Fortunately, a veteran like me knows how to avoid all of these traps, and can instead sit back and watch the drunken masses swarm around like mice in a maze. It is amusing and devastatingly depressing at the same time.
4. Disconnection from Oneself. I like to think that I’m a normal person with certain relatively high standards and expectations for myself and others. That’s why going to Bourbon Street presents me with such a quandary. On the one hand, Bourbon Street is gross, and the people there are repulsive, drunken jerks. On the other hand, I go to Bourbon Street. How can I really judge the people if I’m one of them? Am I really one of them if I just go to laugh at their expense? Is there any real distinction?
5. Destination: Nowhere. In this fast paced world, everyone is always focused on where they’re going. If you “go to Bourbon Street,” you’ll realize that it’s not really a destination at all. You walk up the street. You walk down the street. You saunter. You mill about. You congregate in front of one bar for several minutes. People get antsy, and you start walking again. And you always walk very, very fast in order to get nowhere as quickly as possible. Sometimes this lack of purpose confronts me when I’m actually on Bourbon Street, and at that point there is only one thing I can do. Find a Hurricane immediately and silence that silly, uptight voice of reason once and for all.
Friday, April 04, 2003
I’ve never been much of a stickler about not taking the Lord’s name in vain. Despite my personal religious background, I don’t even discriminate among various “Lords." (Sorry if you take offense, but I don’t think I should have to pass up fun expressions just because I’m Jewish). I say the occasional “God damn,” “Christ almighty,” and “Christ on a bike.” I’ve even been known to exclaim “Holy Shi—ite Muslim Temple of God!” when the appropriate circumstances arise. Believe me, I could take this opportunity to launch into a philosophical tirade about the power/arbitrariness of language, but for now let me just say that I have no qualms about breaking this particular commandment on a daily basis. (Please note that I do try to abide by “Thou Shalt Not Kill” a little more stringently).
Regardless of my somewhat questionable piety, I am now convinced that the phrase “Oh My God” can be truly blasphemous. This has nothing to do with “sacrilege,” as the term is used in common parlance. It has everything to do with a girl at the table next to me in the coffeehouse shrilly repeating “Omigod omigod omigod” into a cell phone for a good half hour. Let’s forget for a moment that she used the word “God.” I would venture to say that anyone who repeats anything in that tone for that long is indisputably the antichrist.
After witnessing this horrifying display, I had an uncharacteristic reaction. I turned to prayer. I prayed for ears like Mr. Potato Head’s, which could be removed easily at will. Alas, my prayers were not answered, and my ears are now sore as a result of a failed Van Gogh move involving a butter knife. Okay, that part’s not true, but I did fantasize about it. I looked over at the condiment cart with the plastic utensils and contemplated the sharpness of plastic butter knives. I decided that due to their finely serrated edges, they are probably quite hazardous. I’m keeping a mental note of this in case Omigod girl (a.k.a. Lucifer) starts up again. If she does, my newfound religiosity might be gravely jeopardized.
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Oh, Sweet Irony
Today, I encountered both of the following:
1. The ROTC marched by a lawn whereon student war protesters had erected sit-in tents. The contrast was striking.
2. An extremely large woman in a tight red top and the tightest of red pants yelled at her small child, "You gonna fix those socks too before we go anywhere!" Her concern with physical appearances was grossly misdirected.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Friends in Sort of High Places
Law students are always scrambling for the right connections, trying to meet that great person who will get them that great job, which will in turn open every door for them in the future. I haven't mastered that precise game yet, but that's not to say my networking muscles have not been well flexed. I'm starting small. I'm starting with frozen yogurt.
Last semester, my friends and I got frozen yogurt at lunch in the University Center on a semi-daily basis. Picking up on my engaging persononality, the frozen yogurt lady immediately began to take a liking to me. We'd chat a little, she'd say "thanks sugar," and I'd be on my way. (Quick tangent: I think the fact that I really enjoy being called "sugar" by the yogurt lady may be a testament to my current need for love and acceptance. My source of validation as a human being probably shouldn't be a purveyor of dairy products, however tasty the products might be. And yet, it seems that the yogurt lady and my futon are still my most steadfast sources of non-familial love and affection. Actually, come to think of it, it really could be worse). Anyway, one day I walked up to the counter and the yogurt lady looked at me and asked, "The usual, honey?" I grinned and said, "Yes, please." I was so flattered I almost blushed. I had a usual! I wasn't just another "sugar" to the yogurt lady. I was Small Vanilla With Heath girl. I could tell that the people in line were jealous. They had "she's such a little teacher's pet" looks on their faces, but I didn't care. The yogurt lady even knew that I liked my topping on the bottom. (The distribution is best achieved that way. If the topping is actually on the top, you eat it all first and then you're left with plain yogurt to deal with. No good).
This semester I've been seriously slacking on the frozen yogurt intake, partly because of scheduling and partly because I was becoming addicted and realized I needed help. The few times I have given in to temptation, the yogurt lady has still remembered me. She asks, like a jilted lover, "Where have you been, sugar?" And I have to scramble around for a good excuse, but end up saying, "I'm sorry! My schedule's different this semester!" She probably hears something like, "It's not you, it's me" or "I think we should slow things down a little; I need some 'me' time." But all things considered, she's taking the separation really well, especially given the fact that just as she's starting to get over it I tend to turn up and reopen old wounds. Recently, Kate and I were having a particularly anti-law school day, and we knew frozen yogurt was the answer. We got to the counter, and there was another yogurt lady taking orders. This being an especially trying day, we decided on "Regular" size. My yogurt lady (who was working the register that day) automatically rung me up for "the usual," and I quickly said, "But I got a Regular today!" She said, "Oh, honey, don't worry about it." She gave Kate the discount too. Thanks to my connections, we each saved 33 cents and got a delicious frozen treat. Beat that with a judicial clerkship, you little social climbers.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
War: Chalk in the Teacher’s Eraser Gone Horribly Wrong?
That George W is a wily one, but I’m finally one step ahead of him. I predict that Georgie will announce today that the War on Iraq is one big “April Fools!” on the world.
Granted, a grave matter of foreign policy and national security wouldn’t usually strike a United States President as a joking matter, but how is W supposed to know that? He thinks being President is like being rush chair at his very own fraternity.
A reliable source overheard Bush late last night on his Playskool walkie-talkie saying, “This is the mother of all pranks! Tony [Blair] and I are gonna do some hard core keg stands when this shit gets over with.” Bush was wearing camouflage boxers at the time, and had a sheet draped around his neck “like a Superman cape.” He was speaking on the walkie-talkie from a “fort” constructed out of oval office furniture and blankets. When asked about the possible repercussions of such a "prank," Bush chugged a Natty Light and responded, "Those Iraqish people need to lighten up. TOGA!"
(These developments may have been discovered sooner if more people knew that George W believed that "regime change" was really "Regine change," referring to the replacement of Kim Fields' character on Living Single, one of the President's favorite television programs).