Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


An anniversary I missed

Mia turns three today. How excellent. If you're interested, here's a post about her party, and here's a post about being a parent. Just, you know, in case you like that sort of stuff.

I missed an anniversary last Friday, the 26th of August. Nothing that would get Krys mad at me, so don't fret. Last Friday was the thirteenth anniversary of the day I met Krys. Yes, I remember stuff like that. I'm going to tell you about that day, and you're going to like it!¹

It was the first day of the Fall 1992 semester at Penn State University, the finest institute of higher learning in this land of ours. I was taking a poetry class (I was an English major, don't you know, which meant I had no particular job skills when I got out of college, but while I was in college I got to read and write and sit around bars with my English major colleagues and discuss sex in literature) and arrived late to class. Everyone was already there, squeezed into a classroom that was little bigger than a closet. The teacher had yet to arrive, however, so everyone was sitting around chatting. I looked around for a seat, but there was only one chair in the room, and it was not pulled up to the table. Therefore, I had to choose where I could sit. What to do? What to do?????

Okay, so my fate would be decided on that day. I surveyed the room. Being a pig, I decided to sit next to the most attractive girl in the class. That girl, if you're paying attention, was Krys. Yes, I am in a fantastic marriage because I'm a pig. See? Being a pig works!

Okay, that wasn't the only reason I sat there. For one, Krys's roommate was also in the class, and she was pretty attractive, too. Not as attractive as Krys (although she thought she was), but still - they were far and away the best looking people in the room. As I am dazzlingly attractive, I figured we all needed to be sitting together. Also, they were talking to each other and they seemed friendly, so I figured that would be a good place to sit. But there was another reason I sat there, one only slightly less important than the pig-like one.

At the opposite end of the room from Krys and her roommate sat a girl. I knew this girl. She had been in one of my poetry classes from the year before. This girl, without putting too fine a point on it, was one of the most horrible people I had ever met. She was actually asked to drop the poetry class I had been in the year earlier by the teacher. Why? Well, she completely ripped apart any other poem that was submitted to the class. I'm not talking about the ones by bad poets who wrote about the time their rabbit died and they were sad (Krys actually got a poem like that in another poetry class she took). I'm talking about every single poem that was submitted, regardless of quality. Not only that, but she thought she was the greatest poet ever. Sexton? Bishop? Dickinson? Angelou? Amateurs! If you dared criticize her poetry, she might call you, among other things, a sexist, a racist, or (horrors!) a Republican. Seriously. She was the kind of weird person you meet on college campuses who never seem to leave, even after they graduate. Everything was political with her, and anyone who was not with her was evil. Not to continue to be a pig, but she was also weird-looking. She cultivated that "poet" look that you also only find on people on college campuses and in coffeehouses plotting revolution over tiny cups of black coffee. She wore a knitted "rasta" hat (you know the kind) all the time (needless to say, she was white), if she knew what a comb was it was as a strange, abstract concept, like calculus or limited government spending, she stank of patchouli (whenever we watch High Fidelity and Cusack tells Robbins to get his patchouli stink out of his store, we think of her), and she was hairy. I'm sorry, but hair in weird places is kind of gross on guys (I'm not really a moustache kind of guy), and on women - ugh. Anyway, the physical appearance wasn't the biggest reason I hated her. Like I said, she was a ridiculously unpleasant person.

Anyway, she was sitting at the other end of the room ranting about something. She had taken it on herself to declaim lengthily and pompously about some topic about which she was the sole expert. The people who had the misfortune to sit close to her were staring, glassy-eyed, somewhere other than at her. I decided, quickly, on a course of action:

Sit as far away from that girl as possible;
Sit near the hot girls.

Kismet! Krys and her roommate were actually considering dropping the class because they, in the few minutes they had been there, had realized how horrible she was. I sat down with them and instantly began talking poorly about the girl. My sharp wit and sarcastic attitude endeared me to my future wife (as she is even wittier and more sarcastic than I am), and she decided to keep the class. The rest is history.

We didn't hook up right away. We became friends first, but then I realized I dug her more than that. The story of our courtship is one for another day. This is the story of our first meeting. It was cool. It turned out to be a great class. I met another long-time friend, John, there. Hi John! He shows up here occasionally.

As for the poetess goddess, well, she told Krys that my future wife was anti-Semitic because she wrote a poem about her aunt, who married a Jewish man (not sure how that could be anti-Semitic, since it, you know, actually happened); told Krys's roommate that she was racist because she wrote a poem about seeing a Mexican on the road in California once (she objected to the term "Mexican" even though the guy was, you know, from Mexico); she said I was sexist because I wrote a poem about violent sex (okay, she may have had me there, but not really, since both the man and the woman in the poem enjoyed the violent sex, and the woman initiated some of it). I'm dying to know what happened to her. She probably teaches at a small liberal arts college and tells all her female students that men suck.

For my birthday, my best friend (except for Krys, of course) sent me a card that reads: "Much unhappiness has come into the world because of things left unsaid." It's by Dostoevsky. I like that quote a lot. I could have kept my mouth shut, and I would be poorer for it. Tell someone you love that you love them today. It can't hurt. Do it for Mia's birthday!

Okay, enough sappiness. Tomorrow I will be more caustic, I promise!

¹ I'm sorry for being short with you. Please stay! I need you to validate me!


Blogger Francesca said...

I love "how it all began stories." This is a particularly nice one. Or maybe they're all particularly nice. Hmmm. Happy anniversary.

30/8/05 5:18 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thank you, Stuntmother. I hope you'll be back.

30/8/05 5:53 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

great footnote!

30/8/05 6:07 PM  
Blogger fdfs said...

What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

It's weird when you encounter real, living stereotypes, isn't it? Yet they do exist...

31/8/05 6:09 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

She was a weird one, Nick. It was like she tried really hard to conform to the stereotype. Strange. That's why I wonder where she is today. That's one of the reasons I love college - all those people who can't possibly exist in the real world thrive there. It's fun.

31/8/05 6:22 AM  
Blogger Krys said...

Awww..I'm blushing.

What made Gwynn's "racist" comment even worse was that the poem Jo wrote was about a friend of her's who had come to the USA illegally--it was the story of his arduous border crossing. All she did was say something like.."Jose, and 6 other Mexicans..." Damn rascist!

31/8/05 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The friend that sent you that birthday card sounds AWESOME!!!! Handsome too!

31/8/05 11:42 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Greg, you should move to Seattle. Isn't Phoenix hot all year long?

31/8/05 12:16 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Sorry, "Anonymous," but he's covered with boils and he is a member of the Klan and he's a pedophile. And he loves George Bush. And sushi. Just a reprehensible human being, all in all. That's why he's my best friend!

I would love to move to Seattle, Thomas. It's pretty expensive to live there, though, and we are poor. So sad.

I hope everyone caught how I was avoiding using the girl's name, and then Krys went and gave it away. That's my woman!

31/8/05 3:21 PM  
Blogger Krys said...

Oh, like I care what that annoying, patchouli-reeking cliche thinks of me! I'm pretty sure she realized we all hated her!

You forgot to mention your best friend's hobby of puppy killing. It's tough to squeeze it in beiween the Klan meetings & pro-Bush rallies, but somehow he manages.

You should really get him to teach you some of his time management skills.

1/9/05 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That friend sounds even hotter than ever, Krys!! You sure you can't pass along his info to me?

2/9/05 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive me for noticing something, but HATE brought you together?

I suppose I am the only person who finds it easy to pity this Gwynn person and find it disgusting that you would be so ugly as to bond with others by slandering this girl.

Being in the minority, I suppose, I find it easy to loath every poet you mention, find it easily conceivable that even an amateur could do better, and the topic of violent sex is not one that I find endearing in a poet, either.

My favourite poet is Gaius Lucilius, just to give you ammunition.

Just to get it out of the way, before I get slandered: I am an Olympic level amateur weightlifter whose day job is providing home care for the disabled, much like your daughter Mia.

There are better ways of building relationships than by tearing other people down.

I'm glad your daughter had a good birthday party, she shares the same birthday as I do, but this is one story I could have well done without.

5/9/05 9:36 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Hi Anonymous. I don't think you understand how hateful this girl was. I am not exaggerating anything about her. During the class we tried (the whole class, not just us) to understand her point of view and critique her poetry honestly, but she never gave us a chance. But I suppose you're right - hate did bring us together. It's worked for 13 years, so I guess it's okay.

Are you telling me you have never, ever, ever said bad things about someone? Ever? And pitying this girl is just as bad as hating her. And even if you don't like the poets I mentioned (that's cool), what if Gwyn thought she was superior in every way to Gaius Lucilius (whom I've never read, by the way) and wouldn't even consider that she could learn from him? And, I might add scorned you in every way possible because you liked him? Would that make a difference? Just wondering.

I'm sorry you didn't like my story.

5/9/05 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be honest, no. I've never said anything hurtful about anyone. I've thought things, sure.

I suppose I've often taken a different route. Usually if I find someone distasteful I ignore them and divert my focus to other people, and from the experiences that this behavior has produced it seems to be far more devastating, to the point in one case where a girl started trash talking me and became hateful even to her own friends, and in another case became violently depressed, quit her job and attempted suicide.

In neither case did I slander either girl or do anything malicious, I just ceased to find them in any way useful and they became aware of that fact.

"Revenge" and other nonsense was avoided and if left alone hateful people do far more damage to themselves.

And not liking Lucilius is cool; I have not yet run into anyone else, apart from Encyclopedias and published authors who specialize in the time period, who has ever even heard of him.

5/9/05 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, that sounded a bit like bragging, and really, I'd like it to be truer to reality which was a bit greyer and bloodless.

In ignoring the individuals I mentioned I assumed no hostility, nor was I agressively against them. I simply went about my day as if they weren't there and we had never been friends. The abrupt break left each of these people alone. I did not provide them with an enemy and in both cases they reacted the way they knew how: they attacked themselves.

I have only had that happen in two cases. Most of the time when you simply move away from certain people it's nothing major, they just realize you aren't friends, and it's simply a courtesy not to involve yourself in each other's business and no one gets hurt.

I think this is a preferrable option to openly denigrating someone else and becoming symbiotically attached to them as a declared enemy, where you define yourself in opposition to whatever position they choose.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather participate than react, I'd rather be free to be myself rather than be a slave to my own anger.

5/9/05 6:50 PM  
Blogger Krys said...

I wouldn't say our relationship was built on making fun of that girl--making fun of her was just an ice-breaker. Really, our relationship was built on 'Starblazers' (Greg being the only other person I'd met that had heard of it, much less loved it as much as I did).

Seriously, though Anonymous, to know this girl was to loathe her. She was impossible to ignore, because she made sure no one ignored her. She routinely acted like a pompous ass, and tore apart the works of others as complete shit, rather than offering constructive criticism (the whole purpose of the class). Because of her hateful attitude, no one in the class could stand her, although we all politely critiqued her poetry in the honest manner befitting the class.

I don't feel sorry for her. I'm sure she wasn't friendless. I'm sure she got together with others of her ilk in some dim coffeehouse to discuss Proust, smoke clove cigarettes, and talk about what untalented morons we all were.

I also would have never considered her "an enemy", as you suggest, or say that she really ever made us "angry". She was just a really annoying person who sticks out in our memories for that reason. I wouldn't say we wasted much time on her other than counter-bashing the routinely scathing reviews she gave us all--& by "all" I mean the entire class. In her mind she was the only talented person there.

Really, neither of us is the type to waste much time on someone we have no use for. The only reason she is remembered by us at all, is for the part she unwittingly played in bringing our little group of friends closer together.

6/9/05 10:59 AM  

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