Monday, July 25, 2011

Nowhere Man

Jenny,
I am really glad I got to know you this year. I hope you don’t have bad dreams about this class. I’ll see you next year, SENIOR. Have a great summer.
Your friend, Brandon


Brandon,
I’m glad we got to know each other that year, too! I am less glad that I totally don’t remember who you are or what the class was. It’s possible that you were one of two people whose names I don’t remember: the meek sophomore in my physics class who dressed like a skater, spoke like a poet and blushed like a schoolgirl, or the big blonde football player who sat behind me in AP U.S. History and had legs so long I could see his feet under my chair. I’m not sure either one of those guys was even named Brandon, but for some reason they both popped into my head with equal vividness when I read the name Brandon.
I didn’t have bad dreams about either physics or AP U.S. History, but OH MAN did I have a whopper of a nightmare once about my philosophy class freshman year of college! We had just watched the animated movie version of ‘The Allegory of the Cave,’ in which slaves are kept chained in a cave while shadows are projected on the wall in front of them. It had some existential theme, relating to the perception of reality or the comfort of perception, or something esoteric like that. Anyway, that gave me this horrible nightmare about being chained in the philosophy classroom with a knife to my throat, and whenever I moved, an innocent person died. Other than the bit about the chains, there was really no connection to the movie. And I’d actually seen it before, during the Existentialism unit in 10th grade honors English. We had to read a lot of Camus and Kafka and Sartre and basically lose sleep at night thinking about the pointlessness of existence and meaningless of life. I’m happy to say that the panicky fear I felt during that unit has disappeared entirely, and not just because the next unit was the Russian literature unit and I was too busy reading Anna Karenina to wonder why I was on the planet. It made me crave pirogis, like all the time. These days, I'm quite happy with life and less susceptible to existential crises.
Your capitalization of SENIOR made me feel important and fun.
Your friend Jen
P.S. Your comma placement after "your friend" implies, stylistically, that you were my only friend. I grew up to become a magazine editor, so I felt obligated to point that out.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Prudence


My, this blog has gotten dusty. I had an extremely busy first part of the year, then a few weeks of downtime, and things are about to get nutso again. While weekly/daily Thing Doing isn't entirely practical right now, I would like to keep this blog cobweb-free and somewhat interesting.  So I'm going to return to one of my all-time favorite blog projects: High-School Yearbook Signature Replies. It's exactly what it sounds like: I reply to stuff people wrote in my yearbooks in high school. I had such fun writing grown-up replies to all the "dude! Have a bitchen summer"s and "C U @ the beach"es that I decided to do it again. Behold:

Jenny-
Sing until your brains bust
-Erin


Erin,
While I am quite sure that no part of my brain, singular or plural, ever literally busted as a result of melodic refrains, I do often sing in the elevators in my client's building and at home. We're on a high floor, so sometimes my ears pop. That's the best I got.
Jen

Jenny,
Have a neato summer and I'll see you next year. Maybe in the same class.
Michael C [arrow to name] save. will be worth millions.


Michael,
Are you implying that we were both going to fail whatever class we had together? Thanks a lot! Your self-esteem issues are your own, buddy. Don't go dragging me down with you just because you want company! And how could the signature of someone who failed classes in 9th grade possibly be worth so much? Please tell me I'm jumping to conclusions. I remember you as being fairly smart, so every assumption I've made in the last four lines is probably wrong. (How did I not fail that class?) But I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt. So please excuse the brevity of this letter, as I have clicked over to eBay to sell your signature.
Jen