Monthly Archives: September 1994

I Can Explain

Dear Future Employer,

I am enclosing my transcript, as per your request. However, I think it is important for you to realize that these grades tell only half the story. For I have led a college career full of adversity. Treacherous obstacles have continually blocked my trajectory to the top. But I have overcome them. If you’re looking for fancy majors, “suma cum” whatevers, or any other bells and whistles, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re looking for grit, for pure determination in the face of constant hardship, I’m your man, baby.

My story begins in high school. When I was in twelfth grade, my mother bought a soft gray convertible couch and put it in my room. Only a few weeks later, this couch set out on its evil plot to ruin my academic career. Soon I did nothing but lie on it, under a striped down comforter, sometimes listening to Danzig on headphones. Because of the couch I slept 20-23 hours a day. On several occasions, I even folded it out into a bed. My relationship with the couch continued until the following August, when, despite my many tears, my parents would not let me bring it to school. I was so blind.

With the couch safely in the distance, my parents thought my academics would improve in college. They were wrong. Dead wrong. Because before they knew it, I was sleeping with not one, not two, but three pillows. How could I have known that the more pillows I had, the less likely I was to get out of bed? And not only was I completely corrupted by the comfort of my bed, but my alarm clock, the device that was supposed to be the safety net, had a button on it that let me doze for an extra nine minutes! What with the pillows and the snooze button, I couldn’t possibly get to classes.

But there were other dangerous obstacles attempting to pry me away from the success I so clearly deserved. One came in the guise of a mild-mannered woman named “Susan,” who, claiming to be my “friend,” kept passing me notes during my fascinating geology lectures. I tried to ignore her, I tried to explain that I was trying to learn, but she persevered nonetheless. Soon she had pulled me into her spiral of decadence to the point where I didn’t even go on the field trips and failed the mineral identification test. She—and the pillows and alarm clock—are the reasons I struggled freshman year.

Sophomore year, I lived with three deviants who continually forced me to drink alcohol and do other terrible things. Whenever I gathered my books and explained that I was going to the library for a night of wholesome studying, they almost literally threw me onto the couch and forced me to listen to very unsettling, drug-influenced music while pouring shots of tequila down my throat. In the meantime, I still had the same alarm clock and three pillows, but now I also had flannel sheets and a bedroom that was quite dark, so it was even harder to get up in the morning to go to class. To make matters worse, my textbooks were getting very heavy and it was becoming increasingly difficult to carry them around; eventually, due simply to their sheer weight, I had to stop using them.

By my junior year, these various conspiracies had prevented me from earning anything higher than a B- on my report cards. But I was convinced that by finally deciding on pursuing the English major, my academic scope would improve as it became more focused. Once again I was wrong. I couldn’t go to English lectures because of the early-morning thing and because of the heavy books thing, as well as because the lectures were always in the YUAG, which is a very uncomfortable room to sit in because there’s nowhere to put your feet. I couldn’t go to English seminars because of the heavy books thing and also because sometimes there were annoying people there.

And then, blast my fate, Main Garden entered my life and my academic prospects just flew out the window. Late at night, just as I was curling up with a nice copy of Lacan, I would start craving the sweet and sour chicken w/grape soda combo—and the next thing I’d know I’d be sitting, bloated, in front of Jay Leno, completely unable to move. And of course all this time I was still living with the same deviants who kept doing those awful things to me.

Now I’m a senior and I cannot predict what awful hurdles shall block me. The sinister Refrigerator Ball, a game I invented in which I throw a ball at my refrigerator, has already occupied a disproportionate amount of my time, as have Sega, Steve McQueen movies, and thinking about how I don’t have a girlfriend. I now have an evil window seat (with its own pillow; the bed still has three) which I sit on all the time. I also have yet to buy any course packets because they are too expensive. But I am strong. I can do it. I will persevere. I’m going to Naples now.

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The Lost Appendix

Appendix G: Further Uses for Your Book of Undergraduate Regulations. 

APPLESAUCE CATAPULT. While food-throwing is obviously forbidden in the dining halls (see Chapter V, section K.1, ANNOYANCES), students who wish to use their copies of the Undergraduate Regulations as applesauce catapults outside the dining halls are encouraged to do so.

AS A CHEAP HIGH. It should be addressed, however, that inhaling fumes from the binding glue of the Undergraduate Regulations, freebasing the back cover, or rolling “joints” with its pages is inconsistent with the volume’s packaging and is therefore obviously forbidden. See Chapter I, SECTION K, DRUGS.

AS A WEAPON. Unless the Undergraduate Regulations are rolled up and employed in a “good-natured spanking,” they are not intended to be utilized as a weapon. It should be added that the University can obviously accept no liability for papercuts.

DRESSING UP LIKE A PIRATE. Students are allowed to use their copies of the Undergraduate Regulations to dress up like a pirate. A corner of a page may be used as a makeshift eyepatch, and the volume itself can be rolled into a make-believe telescope.

FREE-FORM POETRY FOR A BEATNIK GATHERING. Students may read passages of the Undergraduate Regulations aloud in a jazz-poetic style only if bongo accompaniment ceases by 11:00 P.M. on Sunday through Thursday nights and 1:00 A.M. on Friday and Saturday nights.

HATS AND BOATS. Students may make hats and boats out of the pages of the Undergraduate Regulations. They may also make, but are not limited to making, fortune-tellers, Moebius strips, flying cuffs, Pi bombers, airplanes, water balloons, megaphones, and origami boulders.

PANTS-PACKER. Students may roll their copies of the Undergraduate Regulations into a cylinder and insert it into their trousers or brassieres. Comments such as “How’s this for a Yale endowment, baby,” however, are considered inappropriate under Chapter XI, SECTION D, COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

PET. Lonely students looking for a low-maintenance pet are encouraged to name their copy of the Undergraduate Regulations, get to know it, and provide it with a clean, well-lit, and ventilated cage.

PROPPING UP WOBBLY THINGS. The Undergraduate Regulations may be used to prop up wobbly things, such as a three-legged refrigerator or loose window. “Wobbly things” does not apply to undergraduates themselves, and the University assumes no liability if a wobbly student supported by a copy of this publication falls over and is injured.

REALLY CHEAP INCENSE. Copies of the Undergraduate Regulations were pre-treated with Indonesian Nag Champa incense and may be lit in a well-ventilated area.

SHOE MOISTURE ABSORBER. Pages from this publication may be torn out, balled up, and inserted into damp shoes to absorb excess moisture.

SNO-CONE HOLDER. Students vending Sno-Cones, Slush Puppies, and the like may use the rolled-up pages and cover of the Undergraduate Regulations to hold their iced confections.

TARGET PRACTICE FOR STICKY HAND GAME. In the event that a student possesses a supermarket-variety, rubber sticky paper-retrieving “hand,” the pages of the Undergraduate Regulations may be torn out and lined up for target practice.

TEXT FOR RANSOM NOTES. Students involved in hostage situations may cut and paste typeface from the Undergraduate Regulations (set in AGaramond 11-point) to create ransom notes. Useful words include “convoked” (p. 106), “firearms” (p. 26), and “defacing or mutilating” (p. 96).

TOILET PAPER. In the case that a student deems the pages of the Undergraduate Regulations softer and/or more absorbent than the current University-provided toilet tissue, this publication may be used for that purpose, unless the use is inconsistent with Chapter IV, SECTION B, part 4, FIRECRACKERS.

WALLPAPER. The 114 pages of the Undergraduate Regulations may be used to wallpaper approximately 57 feet of wallspace, but students will be charged at the end of the year for the cost of repairs if the walls are not repainted in the official University color.

Thank you to Scott Hutson, Collin Eyre, and Zach Scheiner for all your help. This tagline is consistent with APPENDIX F, SECTION E, FORMS OF CITATION.


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