It’s been a long, strange year for Weiss-A-Roni. The fact that I even started this column at all was a fluke, beginning with a series of horrible, painful mistakes that one could either pinpoint to when I started editorial compet at the Sun, my unfortunate agreement to accept admission at Cornell University or the moment that the sperm and the egg came together to form what would turn out to be the fetus and later baby Weiss-A-Roni. There are any number of potential starting points for this series of rants you’ve been dutifully reading for the past year. Let’s explore.
As you could tell from last week, I’m on a reflecting bender, which is something I like to call a reflender. But this week it’s turned into a productive exercise in my literacy. I did it. I read Things Fall Apart. I chillaxed with Okonkwo, finished up my Freshman Reading Project, only, approximately, 1369 days late, give or take. Again, since I’m on a roll in the spirit of reflending, Okonkwo and I have decided to tell the story of how things fell apart in my life, also known as “Freshman Fall.” We shall tell this story through a series of quotations that I found particularly illustrative from the book, quotations that did not make me sad when I hadn’t read the book before, because, in fact, it is the worst book ever written.
Embarking on my potentially final freedom summer (if you will) of life, unless I become a teacher, (which seems unlikely considering the criminal record I plan to accrue), I have begun to reflect upon the parallel time of my life. This post-college summer may or may not mirror the summer of 2005, right after I was finally unshackled from the emotional and physical fetters of boarding school and let loose with my middle school homeslices in NorCal, where the possibilities seemed endless and life seemed like it was really getting into gear …
It was all the simple things back then: Just me, my friends and a giant cup.
A few nights ago, as I sat watching Cornell Design League’s 25th Anniversary show, I had two thoughts circulating around my cerebellum. The first: “Wow, if I was anorexic at Cornell, and I wasn’t asked to be in the show, I would be super offended.” But I was also mostly reminiscing to myself about an experience I had last February, when I scored three press passes for the Cornell Daily Sun to cover New York Fashion Week.
Therapy. There are oh so many reasons why I’m heading your way.
When I was six, my father came into my new bedroom to tuck me in. I had just moved from sharing a room with my brother to my own room after my sister vacated it to take over the playroom. After he put me under the covers, he went over to the drapes and let them down. “What do you do that for?” I asked.
“Well, darling daughter number two,” he responded. “We pull down the shades so the robber outside can’t see your daddy standing here with a gun.”
“Do you have a gun?”
“Nope. Night night.” He turned off the lights and I stared at the dark ceiling in a cold sweat for the next 10 years.
I was but 11 years young that night when five wholesome hooligans first sung and danced their way into my heart, or when I first saw the Disney Channel special where ’N Sync performed at Disney World. I was immediately enchanted, and when my mom took me to Target the next day to buy some socks to send me in future care packages at camp or boarding school, I made her buy me the tape of ’N Sync’s eponymous album. She protested, mostly because people didn’t buy tapes by the year 1998, but I came out of the store victorious, anachronistic audiocassette in toe-thumbed hand.
Last Saturday I squeezed ten mostly unrelated friends into my tiny studio apartment. They drank my drinks, they annoyingly touched my things, the usual. But as they sat on my bed, my desk, my counter and a rogue table which usually holds up several tons of not-quite-dirty clothes from the abyss of the floor, they complained about the lack of ergonomically correct devices they referred to as “chairs.”
Every summer my parents sent us to summer camp in Bumfuck, CA, in the central valley. No man’s land, if you will, where a crisp 104 degrees is just how the malaria-carrying insects like it. I would write home every day in the stationery they gave me to plead with them to bring me home. When that didn’t work, they certainly regretted giving me my grandparents’ addresses. My nearly-90 year old grandfather barged into their living room one Saturday in early July demanding to know why they sent me to a place where they made me eat spiders.
The first time I came home the 3,000 miles from boarding school for Thanksgiving in 2001, I couldn’t hold in my glee. My mom parents drove me straight to In-N-Out Burger, then one of my best friends surprised me in my living room with several movies and an impromptu sleepover. I missed her so much and I couldn’t wait to duke it out with pillows at the jammie jam while we gossiped about old flames and Justin Timberlake. It was such a relief to be home and out of the grind. Everything was looking up.
And then our family’s dishwasher exploded.
This goes out to Peter Davis ’09, a fellow Glen Altschuler protégé, who both champions all of my column victories and also mostly just thinks I’m an idiot.
This is a piece of writing that is subversive. I want to tell you all a little fable about the little genius that could, but wouldn’t anymore. Maybe, you, then, Cornell masses, will mutiny and realize that you’re actually in COLLEGE. The land of beer and honeys. Stop crying to your dad on your cell phone in Olin café, vaguely trying to obscure your face with a copy of this fine publication. You do actually still get a degree from Cornell if you get B’s. Even C’s. Pull yourself together.