March 16, 2010

That Really Grinded My Gears

Print More

I remember when I first came here, I tried getting with some girl in Collegetown on the first day of orientation. My attempt failed, naturally, as I was a freshman and she was a grad student. Also, I was wasted from one can of Miller Lite. Our conversation deteriorated to me asking which way leads back to North, and she said something along the lines of, “Up the hill. You always want to go up the hill.”

You would be mistaken if you thought that this column writes itself. There’s a very complicated process involved. First, the column selection committee convenes to select a single idea from my idea journal. In the case of a split vote, I write about Obama. Then there is a two week process of rumination where I spend hours in graduate lounges brainstorming my argument. After that, I spend another two weeks crafting and revising, drafting and re-drafting. I paint pictures and make layouts. I fill whiteboards with concepts that I cross out one by one. I talk to myself. I do math. I wake up in the middle of the night with chills. Not the chills of fear, but the chills of a line so clever that I find it hard to believe it hasn’t been said before. I crumple papers and throw them across the room, aiming carefully so as not to spill any styrofoam cups of coffee that have certainly accumulated by that point. I cry, I pray, I beg for inspiration. I ask friends and family members for their opinions. And when the final copy is ready to go, I throw it out and start fresh. You can always do better.

In actuality, it would please you and probably not surprise you to know that most of my columns were written half drunk and totally nude at 3 a.m. on a Friday night. Yes, there is a “creative rumination,” but it consists of me sitting on my ass, eating wings, not shaving, watching TV and telling people who try to call me that I am busy “creating.” Honest to God, I don’t even have spell-check installed on this pirated copy of Microsoft Wrod.

I’ve long maintained that no Cornell Sun column is successful unless it’s lying somewhere in Oakenshields with spicy noodles all over the author’s face or byline. Disgusting as that sounds, each time I’ve seen a glob of food on my portrait, I muttered a soft thank you. And yes, I’ve gotten my fair share of criticism. But I don’t care what you say about me, just leave my column out of it. I feel remorse for some things, but I regret nothing and take responsibility for everything. A single person telling me that they laughed their ass off on a day when they had two prelims makes every single other type of feedback completely irrelevant. For me, at least.

There are some columns I wish I had time to write. Something about hipsters. You know that would have been pretty hilarious. I was going to bitch about the cancellation of Veronica Mars. It’s been a while since it got canned, but damn, that was a great show. And of course, I wanted to write a column about how we must all be living in the Matrix because it is very likely that someone will invent the Matrix in the future so unless we are not in the futu…

Well, maybe it’s for the best that this is coming to an end now, actually. Those ideas are atrocious.

To all of you that I have touched, be it physically or emotionally, I am either sorry or “you’re welcome.” I have tried to make you laugh or cry, to inspire you, or maybe even make you think. But at the very least I hope that I have given you something different, and that of the 25,000 or so words I have written you have enjoyed at least a couple. And if I have ever made a fool of myself, I have usually done it on purpose.

Freshmen: enjoy your time here. You know that when the most cynical person on campus is telling you to make the best of it, you should probably do it. Hell, that goes for all of you, even me.

Last column tradition means I am supposed to devote a hearty paragraph or three to an explanation of how I came up with my column title and its secret meaning. I ripped it off of Family Guy, who themselves ripped it off of an actual columnist. There.

Mom, dad, grampa, gramma, grampa, gramma – this one’s for you.

As for shoutouts, I would first like to acknowledge some of my favorite columnists in my four years at Cornell. I always loved The Sun, you see, from the first day that I got here, and I looked up to the people who got to write these. So me getting to write my own column was a lot like a 50 year old pervert being invited to a pajama party — I got to live the dream. My favorites, of those that I can remember: Rob Fishman, who made a lot of sense. Jenna B., who was really just very good. And Nikki N., who showed us that columnists can be sexy.

I’d like to say thanks to my editors here: David Wittenberg, Sammy Perlmutter and Tony Manfred. Thanks to Deirdre, my biggest fan. I would also like to say thanks and “wassup” to my long-standing roommate David Lotterer, who I would wake up in the middle of the night before a column was due to ask if something was funny or stupid. Enjoy the apartment buddy, you have it all to yourself. And do me a favor, take out the trash I left.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I really loved doing this. It might not be much, but it’s without a doubt the greatest thing I have done in my life, and one of the few that I am proud of. So may The Sun always rise — five times a week, two semesters a year.

And to every Cornellian out there, wherever you might find yourself, go up that hill. Always go up that hill.

Yevgeniy Feldman recently graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at yfeldman@cornell­ That Really Grinds My Gears appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.

Original Author: Yevgeniy Feldman