Lion Food ✍ Sex With Old Women ✍ Better Than Sneezing ✍ $2 Million Will Stranded With Hamlet ✍ Hawaiian

Drag Queens ✍ Spring Break Survival (maybe)

“Mrs. Kerr, you’re trying to seduce me.”

Collegian
Volume 17 Number 5 April 2006

The

Manifest
Will Bruce

3 Stream of Consciousness: Easter 4 Africa Abroad
Val Larson

Features

8 Lessons in Danish
Kate Amann

11 On the Uses of Dead Livestock
Val Larson

The Collegian is published monthly by and for the students at Washington College, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, Maryland 21620. Local correspondence can be sent through campus mail. E-mail collegian_editor@washcoll. edu or visit http://collegian.washcoll.edu. The Collegian is designed on Macintosh computers using Adobe InDesign and is printed at Chesapeake Publishing House in Elkton, Maryland. The Collegian does not discriminate on any basis. We reserve the right to edit submitted material as we deem necessary. Monkey, you can talk? I taught myself to talk! This is incredibly odd. I know. Let’s fight!

...on the cover

April 2006 Volume 17, Number 5

Photo by Kaitlin Wedge

13 Sophie Kerr Special
Edited by Peter W. Knox Including a short story by Michael McGrath

Departments
Round Robin: Round 2
Reilly Jorret

6 7 11 10 17 20 24

And excerpts from fiction by Cindy Brown Will Grofic Capella Meurer Juliana Converse

Concert Reveiw: Mogwai
Johanna Schaeffer

Review: The Neti Pot
Renée Farrah

Comics: Theology 101
Jackson Ferrell

19 BusHitler: Being Diplomatic
Wes Schantz

Sophie Lives:
The first annual Sophie Kerr section

Review: Mexico East
Megan Walburn

Poetry
Erin Thorp, Will Grofic

22 Spring Break Snippets
The

Endgame
Peter W. Knox

Edited by Johanna Schaeffer

Collegian
Peter W. Knox Editor-in-Chief Kate Amann Layout Editor Lindsay Bergman Assistant Layout Editor Molly E. Weeks Will Grofic Features Editors

Kaitlin Wedge Photography Editor Johanna Schaeffer Megan Walburn Copy Editors Molly E. Weeks Business Manager Reilly Joret Distribution Manager

Additional Contributors Renée Farrah Wes Schantz Jackson Ferrell Will Bruce Val Larson Michael McGrath Cindy Brown Capella Meurer Juliana Converse Erin Thorp

Issue Photo Credits: Kaitlin Wedge, Val Larson, Renée Farrah, Lindsay Bregman, danhostel.com, dansk-deli-houston. com, frenettik.com, answers.com, washcoll.edu, gettyimages.com, google images

Stream of Consciousness: Easter
Will Bruce

D

eadline? 21st. Today’s Date? 18th. Creative Motivation: not much. Apply that formula to all article possibilities and the only feasible one is the seasonally-themed Easter Article. And here I am on an 18 hour bus ride back from Florida with the women’s crew team and a notebook. I didn’t really pick the Easter Themed Article, it was just the inevitable result of a number of variables. When I think about Easter, the first thing that pops into my head, for whatever reason, is a concert I went to one Easter after church was over – it was the Unicorns and a bunch of other Canadian bands (the Arcade Fire, at the time, was just some other Canadian band), and my mom had to come along, because that’s the way things were back then. It was in the basement of a Unitarian Church. After a set which opened half an hour late with the song “Hey guys, we’re going to leave and go get some beer, mmkay?” and then actually opened another halfhour later, the Unicorns closed with a great rendition of their theme song during which they invited everyone in the audience up on stage for an Easter egg hunt. They had hidden some of those little foil-wrapped chocolate eggs everywhere. It was pretty great. I had fun. I’m not going to be able to read this to type it up when I get back home… my handwriting is me scribbling while I think, and the bus is bouncing around…like an Easter bunny. Ha. That’s thematic. Or like a toddler needing a piss. Ha. That’s just funny. Funnier. Toddler Jim, I have bad news for you – we are now four hours into an 18-hour trip, and Tom Murray is in charge of the bathroom back there on the coach, and I’m not sure he wants to let you pee and possibly miss and add bad smells to his list of reasons he doesn’t want to be on the bus. So you’re going to have to sit tight. 18 hours. Well, 14. 14 hours, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is what Easter is about. Christ, what day is Easter even

on this year? Is it the same every year? Is Easter in March? Since coming to college I haven’t been very in touch with the things the real world places weight on. Real world is absolutely the right word to use here. College is a half-truth… perhaps growing more and more truthful as the years go on… As a freshman I couldn’t know… but yes. It is a place where people are stitched together into patterns that are real and beautiful, but get all their source material

from umbilical cords attached to much larger quilts of experience that lay draped over beds that parents continue to dust off until their travelers return to sit around sluggish in the sticky summer sun trying to explain what they saw in dream-land. College is one long speech, and you always have to have a thesis, and prove it. You can’t just let things dangle. But you know what? Dangling?

Dangling is life. Life, thoughts, actions, whatever– in one way everything is permanent once you do it, because that’s the way things work… done is done. But there is a tome of apologetics that goes along with every thought or decision in which rests the thoughts about the decision or thought before, during, and after that thought or decision has been thought or done. The “after” part especially… that part is updated years after what’s done is done. Sometimes to some effect, because the afterthought becomes a new forethought, but sometimes to an effect that only the person… well, gee, this paragraph has become convoluted and navel-gazing- and I haven’t discussed Easter at all. What is an Easter Themed Article anyway? The History of Easter Throughout The Ages? A religious debate? Should I write an exposé of the Christian conspiracy? I hear that sells. I’m a Christian. I’m not sure that I can write any sort of exposé, because I’ve never been tricked by my faith. I grew up Christian, and I used to wonder whether it was true or not, but I don’t do that anymore. It’s been too real for me for too long to be anything but true to me. I’ve closed my eyes and directed body, soul, heart, dreams, pain, hopes, hurt, joy, and breath skyward with shattering force and felt myself emptied and lifted and changed. There is a very large part of me that can look at the things that I ask people to swallow when I tell them I’m a Christian. I mean, I know it looks bad. I know it looks stupid. In a few places in the New Testament, Paul acknowledges that it looks stupid. Easter looks stupid – on this day, you’re supposed to believe that a man, who was also God, and God’s son, rose from the dead after three days. And that this is important for some reason. That’s a lot to swallow. But you know… college is a lot to swallow. Feelings are a lot to swallow. This is the most thinking I’ve done about Easter… or God… in about a month. It’s almost Spring. It’s almost Summer. I haven’t talked to God in a long time. I think everyone should talk to God. I think it’s beautiful when the air is just right, and then that little breeze makes it just a tad too cold, and then it’s just right again, and the trees are blossoming, and the bees start. Buzz buzz love buzz.

Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

3

Africa Abroad
Val Larson

I

t was funny to watch people’s faces when I told them I was going to South Africa for a semester. First there’d be this kind of happy expression, because people are generally happy when you tell them you’re going abroad, either because they know it will be a healthy experience for you, or because they simply want you out of the country. Then the smile would fade and the forehead would wrinkle into a look of concern, as they began to remember all the things they’d heard about S.A. And then, finally, the face would resolve itself into a look of

confusion. “South Africa? Cool. Wow. Um...why South Africa?” By the time I was ready to leave, I had encountered this reaction so much that I had a whole list of reasons ready to whip out at a moment’s notice. Because it’s warm there. Because they have giraffes. Because of the nifty drama program. Because the government won’t let me access my secret Swiss bank account from here. Because I said I would. Because it’s different. Because it’s important. Because I can.

All of which were actual reasons, to some extent. The process of choosing S.A. was me deciding I wanted to travel to a different hemisphere from Ireland. Japan was too expensive, Australia was too cliché, Thailand’s program was nonexistent, China didn’t cater to either of my majors, and South Africa had none of those problems. If I were to break it down to one reason, though, it would have to be Nikki’s picture. Nikki Tripp went to Africa last year, and came back with amazing stories, telling anyone who would listen that this program was absolutely life changing, that she hadn’t wanted to come back. Plus, she had this picture. It was of her petting a cheetah and smiling at the camera. The cheetah looked pretty chill, too. And I saw this picture and that to myself, “That is so cool. I want to do that.” So now I am. But I hadn’t really sat down and asked myself why, why, why South Africa. Why thirdworld South Africa, with all its problems and scariness and instability? It took until I was on the plane on the way to the Cape Verde islands that the all the questions that “cheetah picture” didn’t cover finally presented themselves all at once. There I was, halfway to Johannesburg, asking myself why I was going to South Africa. I drew a complete blank. That’s not fun to do whilst flying over a vast blue ocean of nothing much. Of course, at that point I was tired and stressed and dirty, in the middle of two straight days

4

The Collegian

April 2006

of traveling, in my tenth hour on a plane with ten more to look forward to. I had just finished reviewing my little info packet’s section on the AIDS epidemic, and it was beginning to dawn on me that considering the mad dash through the Atlanta terminal to the connecting flight, my luggage had probably never made it onto the plane to South Africa. Being back at home in Pennsylvania, or even better, back at WAC (with all the domestic comforts, without the jet lag) was looking very attractive, in the way that things do when they are unattainable. Or I could have just gone back to Ireland. That would have been nice. Ireland was easy. Ireland had just one climate, which it did and did well, all year round. Ireland was full of locales that I knew and loved. Ireland had places it was okay to walk through alone at 2am. Ireland included friends, and cheap flights to the rest of Europe. And in addition to being a mere seven hour flight away, Ireland was home to people whose accents I could understand. Also, I was right about the luggage. I was—and still am—scared of Africa. Hey, I’d read The Hot Zone. I knew the statistics on AIDS and TB and murder and rape. I knew about the struggles since apartheid ended. I’d read the accounts of the street children and violence and rings of prostitution, too often in conjunction. I was familiar with the names of diseases like yellow fever, cholera, and malaria, which had formerly affected only characters on the Oregon Trail. In the face of all of this, the colors of Nikki’s picture began to fade and dull—as, throughout the course of a devilishly long flight, did my enthusiasm. It was only having arrived in Africa and encountered the challenges of lost luggage and jet lag, the realities of beggars and street kids, and just the incredible culture shock that hits at unexpected moments, like the first time you realize the toilet flushes in the opposite direction, that I realized the real reason why I came. Without the opportunity of this program, without the cushion of Rhodes University, without the peer support of the fellow WACos in this with me, I never would have come to Africa on my own. Ever. Are you kidding me? It’s a huge country, with lions and tigers and bears, oh my, and deserts and rainforests à la Joseph Conrad’s worst nightmares, and apartheid remnants and poverty and devastating disease. Yes, that’s right: I came because I never would have come otherwise, because to be honest, this place scares the shit out of me. I really need to think my reasoning through more thoroughly before I get on a plane. Ever so ironically, the first ebbing of that fear came when we ventured—in a car—into the townships. I saw stretches of small ramshackle houses, patched together out of scrap metal and pieces of wood, or with mud plastered onto timber frames, just holding together enough to qualify as rough dwellings the size of dorm rooms, but housing entire families. Goats, chickens, and cows wandered through the street, which I at first thought was adorable, until I realized that these animals are food sources, or that they’re there because the idea of bride-price still exists, or until I began to recognize the places

where ritual sacrifice happened. Poverty preserves tradition in these places steeped with unemployment and desperate boredom. A 90% unemployment rate meant that these people couldn’t get jobs if they wanted to. Sometimes we came upon stretches of government-funded housing—acres of land filled with hundreds of small, rectangular houses, crammed together to fit as many dwellings as possible in an allocated space. Places where it’s skeletally obvious how much these people need housing. These places aren’t where you would choose to live. It’s where you go when there’s nowhere else. It was on that first trip there that fear faded and was replaced by something else. It wasn’t precisely sorrow, or pity, or great sadness. No condescension or guilt. Not anger. More an amalgamation of these that seethed into this calm and iron-wrought determination. I am here. I can do something.

There is a power in that. In this place of so much poverty and misery, I am neither impoverished nor miserable. Therefore I can help those who are. In the midst of weakness and tangible sadness, I am strong and can step into places that others can’t climb out of. I can help. That’s new. And it’s a good feeling. In a place where the only things they have an abundance of are pineapples and poverty, I can do something about it. I can volunteer. I can meet the denizens of these townships without fear; they are people. And people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. We could have pineapple together, or something. I still don’t know what to expect, aside from the eventual arrival of my luggage. But I’m learning to look forward to it. ✍

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The Collegian 5

Vol. 17, Issue 5

T Round 2
Reilly Joret

Round Robin
6

he door stuck a little, holding close to the jamb as if it was locked from the other side, but there was certainly no lock on this side of the door. He let go of the knob and took a few steps back, but his determination to uncover the truth about the door made him remove his coat and set his umbrella to the side. He grabbed the dented knob with both hands and placed one foot on the wall beside the door. He put his weight on his leg and yanked with all of his might; he felt as though he had not exerted himself so much in years...maybe since college. God, had it been that long? Finally, the door gave way, flying open with a loud popping sound, throwing Charles back. He landed with a perfect view of the white ceiling of his flat. A second later, Charles realized that the popping sound had not come from the door, but rather, from somewhere in his lower back; a shooting pain followed that left him laying in agony. He looked up over his stomach and over the tops of his shoes and saw what was behind the door, ending the mystery that had been haunting him since the appearance of the door. Beyond the threshold of the unexplainable door, there was a dim Lshaped room, barely outlined by light. Charles slowly managed to get into a kneeling position, carefully bracing himself up on a chair and a small table that were nearby. As he kneeled, he noticed a smell that had not been in his flat before. It was a pungent, sicklysweet aroma, almost visible in the air. Long curls of smoke began to emerge from the room like arms stretching out into many motioning fingers. Charles sniffed the animated air. It was an enchanting odor, something he had never smelled before. It did not belong to the smoke of the cigarettes he smelled when passing by strangers on the streets, nor did it remind him of the smell that came from many of the unwelcoming rooms in his college dormitory. This was something much different. Charles grabbed his umbrella and, using it as a crutch, slowly got up from his crouched position. He carefully poked his head through the doorway. It looked as though it had been sealed for quite some time. There were fresh chips and cracks in the paint from where he had forced the door open, and the inside of the doorway seemed to have been sealed with some sort of thick, black tar. But Charles did not notice any of this; he was too intrigued by what was beyond the doorway. He thought about how he had taken the trash out countless times to the dumpster behind his building, and yet...here was this room. The room looked old—perhaps decrepit is a better word—as if it hadn’t been cared for, or even cleaned, in years. Around the bend in the L at the back of the room, old divans and couches with burn holes and patchwork stains crowded around a large, low coffee table. Several men dressed in tattered dress clothes sat, leaning in around the table that was covered in tin foil, long glass tubes, and Zippo lighters. They didn’t seem to notice that the door had been opened, nor that Charles had entered and

was peering around the corner. One man leaned in and picked up a glass tube. He pushed his long hair from his face, securing it behind his ear, and began to smoke. The sweet, strong aroma Charles had smelled coming from the doorway once again filled his nostrils. The other men reclined and stroked their unshaven faces. The smoking man finished and set his pipe and lighter back down on the table. He sat back and began to nod his head as if drifting off to sleep; very quietly, he said, “Nicely done, Chef.” One of the other men, a heavyset man with a sallow face acknowledged the compliment and continued sipping from his mug. Charles stood motionless leaning on his umbrella, as he had been for the past five minutes. Carefully, trying to be as silent as possible, he inched a little farther from the doorway to get a better look at what else was in the room. A fireplace burned slowly, the flames rising and falling on one nearly

extinguished log. Several small lamps barely touched the room with light from underneath yellowed shades cross-stitched with orange and black butterflies. On the walls hung limp and dusty arabesque tapestries that may have been beautiful once, but now were dull and faded. Many of them were covered over with tattered pages from newspapers, torn and smeared as napkins, the stories and headlines only barely visible. Conversation began between the men; it was low and steady, and for the first time since he opened the door, Charles felt like an intruder. At first, his instinctive curiosity had provided a reason for entering and exploring, but now it became quite clear to Charles that he was imposing upon a world that he was quite unfamiliar with, and not sure that he wanted to know. Slowly and silently, he crept back from where he came, back into the reassuring familiarity of his flat and shut the door as firmly as he could without making too much noise. He dropped his umbrella by the door and sat leaning against the wall, pulling his knees in tightly to his chest. He tried to forget about what he had seen inside that room— he wasn’t even sure if he really had seen it. But the part of him that had driven him to open the door in the first place kept wondering: if he opened that red door again, would that room still be there; and in the morning, would the door even be there at all? ✍

The Collegian

April 2006

arch 6th, five thirty in the evening. I have slept nearly eight hours in the past two days. Am approaching a dull kind of insanity. Five thirty in the evening, two of my buddies ask me if I want a ride. “To where?” “Sonar. The Mogwai concert. The one you bought a ticket for two days ago.” What day is today? I recall buying the ticket some span of time ago, but have no concept of the passage of time in terms of 24-hour increments. “Yeah, I want a ride.” We leave forty-five minutes later, five of us squished in a little Corolla. I remember that I used to have a Corolla. It was midnight blue with brown plastic wood on the dash. The horn had a chipper sort of beep to it. We listen to some Mogwai, then, having whetted our appetites for their sound, put on Coheed and Cambria. The new album sounded like Rush meets Metallica meets every emo band you’ve ever listened to. Rating: grumble. We arrive at Sonar. It’s right across the street from a dirty little diner with murals on the outside walls: Hollywood Diner. Sign says something to the effect of “Dinner and a Movie.” Clever, I guess. The club is also next to the UTZ potato chip factory. The neon lights in the little girl-logo’s hair have gone out; all that remains are her round, red cheeks. They look like eyes. A demon is snacking on Grandma’s Kettle Cooked. We enter the club. Nothing is happening yet. People are already collected near the front of the stage; others wander in small groups or huddle by the bars or by the t-shirt-and-LP table. My buddy and I pay four-fifty each for a beer. I tip the guy a dollar, my standard tip for one drink regardless of how much it costs. I find out that some group called Growing is opening. I assume the music would be somewhat in the style of Mogwai, but not as well-constructed. I count on the music being electronic and instrumental. I get electronic, I get instrumental, but I also get a lot of noise. Two guitars: a blonde, thin man in a baseball cap on the first and a short man with long curly brown hair on the second. I’m given hope when the second man begins to play a mad sort of Irish lullaby while the first man pounds out a dirty beat below it, but abandons it when the first man loses his rhythm. He stops playing, leaving his compatriot on his own for a while, then, once he thinks he’s found his beat (he hasn’t), begins again. At one point he makes a strumming motion over the guitar strings, but nothing is coming out. I wondered if this was some kind of avant-garde, John Tesh-ish statement. I decide it is simply lousy music. I witness a badly executed jam session by what could only be classified as a noise band. The rest of the forty-five minute, breakless session is cacophonous. My neck and feet begin to ache from standing in such a crowded space at the front of the room. The tight-packed crowd begins to grow restless. During the (infrequent) quieter parts of Growing’s set, I can hear people talking

M

Review
Concert: Mogwai
Johanna Schaeffer
to each other, commenting on how bad these guys are. I think we all clap at the end because it is over. Mogwai takes an unreasonably long time to set up. “This is the hard anticipation, right here,” said the burly man who had just cut in front of my buddies and me, blocking a large portion of our vied-for view. We wait. Eventually people begin to chant. And Mogwai takes the stage. There is no longwinded introduction, no showboating or crowdmilking. There is no need. The audience screams as the band casually takes up their instruments. variations, and then eventually come back, full circle, to the beginning. The variations, rather than being the traditional melodic variations held together with a consistent rhythm used by classical composers, involves complex changes in both meter and in tune. At one point, the synthesized piano keeps both the rhythm and the melody, as zinging, distorted guitars rise off it while the drums are silent. At the times when the rhythm would completely change, these changes are usually gradual and prefaced with a drum-free guitar-and-synth exchange. Sometimes though, as with the first song, the changes will be dramatic. Usually this works, though it does throw off the bobbers in the audience. One would imagine that such music would be hard to enjoy, hard to even bob to. But the crowd is held in a trance, alternately lifted up and brought down again. There is no real crowd bonding at this show- Mogwai fosters contemplation rather than companionship. Mogwai sometimes rocks hard, and sometimes presents beautiful, slow melodies. The great thing about them is that they do both these things in one song. This is music to be experienced. They play for about an hour, during which time they manipulate the crowd like a wizard would his enchanted princess. The last song is fast-moving with a heavy drumbeat. We are into it. It is catchy and loud with many layers. Vibrations from the speakers make our very legs shake. Suddenly, with a final roar, the music stops abruptly. We emerge from our trances, dropped roughly from our private clouds of enjoyment. We all want more, even as Mogwai, still aloof, slouch from the stage. We chant, clap for about five minutes. They can’t leave us like this. We aren’t finished. And neither are they. Their spell is not complete. There are two more songs. The final one ends on a tremendous note that goes on forever, held by the amplifiers as Mogwai leaves the stage for the final time. Intense. We gather ourselves, locate our lost buddy. On the way home, I drink a 20-oz cup of coffee and eat some cheese and pepperoni. This is the first time in my life I have had to “come down” from music. ✍

Two guitars begin a whale-song duet that is perfectly matched in rhythm and in tune. The third guitar chimes in, playing behind the duet, distorted but in key. The crowd is mesmerized for nearly a minute, then, the drummer kicks in with a great beat which rattled my eyelids and caused me to blink at each hit of the bass drum. The crowd convulses, like a man in the throes of a powerful orgasm, and responds with cheers and body-rocking bobbing to the air-shaking beat. Then, the song rises up from the depths without warning. It is exhilaratingly jarring. And that is the first song. Unlike the auditorally offensive Growing, Mogwai’s songs have a perceptible beginning, middle, and end. The band is reminiscent of Godspeed, You Black Emperor (and every classical composer) in that they generally start with an opening theme, present

Vol. 17, Issue 5

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Lessons in Danish
Kate Amann

T

here’s an unwritten law of the universe somewhere that says the more control you try to exert over something, the more likely it is to sooner or later implode spectacularly in your face—and always when you least expect it. As a self-proclaimed control freak, I have, of course, spent my life trying to disprove the existence of this law. To control it, even. I am the most prompt, often over-prepared person I know. I expect things to run smoothly. I expect events to The hostel I did not get to stay in. Looks nice, huh? unfold according to plans I’ve checked over and over. and everything. I left Copenhagen in the morning And yet sometimes, well, shit happens. and caught a train up to Elsinore after checking out Regardless of the fact that my inner wiring of the Danhostel Bellahøj and picking up one last may be perfect when it comes to planning, technology scrumptious cinnamon roll at a local bakery I’d has its flaws. Flaws that cause one to be stranded in adopted as my own for the previous 3 days. (By the the land of Hamlet with a botched reservation, an way, forget Cinnabon; go to Denmark. I mean, these hourly train that one has just missed, and a particularly people invented the Danish. I swear they put drugs in ominous-looking cloud cover. Something rotten in them.) The ride took about an hour, and to be honest, the state of Denmark, indeed. I don’t really remember most of it. It was raining off All of this happened to me a mere four days and on and I probably spent the time as I tend to on into my first foray into solo backpacking through the most trains: mesmerized by the passing countryside. European yonder, a trip I had planned and booked to The train pulled into the station in Elsinore the very last detail so that I wouldn’t have anything and I went across the street to the tourist office to find to worry about while I was doing it—in order to out which bus to take to the hostel. I was in luck, the allow myself the luxury of spontaneity, of course. woman said (and probably for the only time that day). In any case, I think the gods of travel were trying The hourly bus that went right where I was headed to tell me that I couldn’t control everything or the would be leaving from the bus stop right across the trip may never get interesting enough to warrant me street not ten minutes from now. So, armed with a scribbling furiously about it in my notebook. They Danish name of a stop to ask the driver for, I crossed were probably right, but we’ll get to that. the street repeating it over and over in my head hoping The second scheduled stop on my trip I would not forget it—or worse, mispronounce it. I was Helsingør (or, in the English-speaking world, certainly don’t have a mind for foreign languages. Elsinore), Denmark. More famously known as the The only word of Danish I remember even now is location of Shakespeare’s brooding, angsty prince’s ‘tak’ for ‘thank you.’ At least my mother’s message castle. Incidentally, also some pretty nice beaches. I that manners are important sunk in diversely. I must had booked what looked to be a fantastic, relaxing have managed not to butcher the street name too hostel on the coast. It had its own private beach badly because I got to where I was going soon enough

without much confusion on the driver’s part. From the outside, the hostel was every bit as charming as I had imagined it would be judging by the information I’d seen on the Internet. I started getting that good feeling you get when you know you’re about to take off your 5,000 cubic inch capacity backpack, maybe have a drink, and settle in for a while. So you can understand my shock and disdain when the lovely and apologetic woman behind the counter informed me that not only did they not seem to have my reservation that I’d made nearly three months ago and confirmed by e-mail, but the hostel was full, and it was the only hostel in the area. That good, putting-the-backpack-down-andhaving-a-drink feeling? Yeah. That went away. I didn’t panic. In fact, I knew I’d end up somewhere by that evening in some hostel bed. Mostly, I was just incredibly disappointed that it would not be there. The lady was nice enough to start scouring the Danhostel system for available beds in nearby hostels as I sat there at a table in the cute little lobby, looking through the glass counter at things I could buy had I forgotten to pack them in my excitement for my travels. Toothpaste, travel alarm clock, candy bars, the essentials. Eventually, the woman informed me that all of the hostels in the surrounding towns were full. Should she try Copenhagen? Sure, why not? Two more days in a place I’d already been. I was too tired to attempt wrestling my way into another country at that point. Plus, my Copenhagen Card— an all-in-one transportation and attraction pass for thrifty travelers—still had a day left on it. After more scouring, she secured me the only bed left in a Danhostel in Copenhagen, which happened to be the one on the other side of town in Amager. At least there would be something new about my stay. Only thing to do now was get back.

Saved by a pastry!
I was told that I had just missed that hourly bus on its way back to town, but there was an hourly train which was due in about 35 minutes—sooner than the bus, at least. So I got some directions which brought me outside, across the street, through a fairly sizable field, and across the train tracks onto a little, backcountry platform. No one to be seen for what seemed like miles. And to think I didn’t even get to see the beach.

...continued on page 18 April 2006

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The Collegian

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he playful weather toys with us this time of year, with sunny 80 degree days followed by gray days with rain and a high of 40. Naturally once we can wear summer clothes we refuse to wear anything else. The next step is a wave of colds, flu, and allergies brought on by duped flowers that decided to bloom and spread their pollen. Now a majority of the campus is suffering from blocked nasal passages and wear nothing but pajamas. Being caught in this dreadful situation myself, and dangerously close to running out of pajamas, I was introduced by my friend Katherine to a successful homeopathic remedy: The Neti Pot. The Neti Pot is sex for your nose. You put the tip in a nostril, the salty water flows, and it feels so good to get relief. It can be messy and uncomfortable if you’re not sure of what you’re doing on your first time, but with guidance and practice you’ll learn to love it. I had no problem trying it right away and welcomed an audience, while others struggle with the decision. In less metaphorical terms, what the Neti Pot does is “washes away excess mucous, bacteria, pollen, allergens and viruses from the sinuses. There is one main sinus that the Neti pot can reach - the maxillary sinus which is on either side of your nose basically inside the ‘cheek bone’. When they fill with pus or mucous, it hurts” (E-zine Article). To use the Neti Pot, you put about half a teaspoon of salt in warm water in the Neti Pot, which looks like a small teapot. The temperature of the water and the amount of salt is very important. Cold water and too much salt only cause pain and bleeding. Warm and slightly salty is the way to go. You put the tip of the Neti Pot in one nostril and tilt your head so the water flows and goes through your sinuses. Keep holding the Pot in your nostril until the warm salt water makes its way through to the other nostril, where a gentle waterfall escapes. If you’re badly clogged it may take longer for the water to get through, or only drips will fall. Once half of the water in the Neti pot has been used, take it out and blow your nose and repeat on the other side. You’ll hear your ears squeak, feel your sinuses being cleared underneath your skin, and be wowed that you can feel relief making its way through your face. It will also affect your throat. Do not freak out, you are not choking, things are going correctly, it’s helping that annoying Post-Nasal Drip dry up. Obviously if you have allergies to shellfish, don’t use sea salt. Good salt for everyone is one that is non-iodized, and contains no

Review
The Neti Pot:
Renée Farrah
additives. Filtered water is better to use because chlorine burns. If you’re really stuffed up it will take longer for the water to make its journey through your sinuses. You may have to repeat the process in order to get results or tilt your head more. You also do not need to forcibly blow your nose afterward in an attempt to speed up the process, it will happen, give it time. The Neti pot originated in India hundreds of years ago, Advanced users use the Neti Pot with herbal oils, but the simplest and most often use is with warm salt water. People all over the world use Neti Pots, it’s just a natural way of helping your nose filter what goes in your body. I know what you’re thinking—what’s natural about pouring something in your nose? Our bodies already secrete salt water through tears and sweat. It’s water, our body relies on it for survival, our planet is covered in it, and it wasn’t ground down, and compressed into pill form that comes with a list of side effects. You can use it once every day, once a week, whatever your body needs. Beware of over using the Neti Pot. If you do it too much it can hurt your sinuses. If you have acute sinusitis don’t use the Neti Pot. If you just use it when you need it you shouldn’t have problems as long as your immune system is normal. Asking a real doctor about your personal use of the Neti Pot is encouraged. I googled “risks of the Neti Pot” and did not see any deterring evidence except the possibility of overirrigation. But too much of anything is harmful. What works for some people does not work for all. James Tidwell was not successful with the Neti Pot. He tried it a couple of times and said, “The Neti Pot is a magical lamp that does no wonders.” It also may take some people longer than others to accept a foreign object in their nose and to not feel as though they inhaled warm ocean water. For some, such as my friend Sandy, desperate times called for desperate measures. “I gave in to peer pressure and used the Neti Pot. I was at the point in my cold that the Neti Pot took multiple attempts. So note to new Neti Pots users: be persistent. Use the

Sex for your Nose

and is still used today by enthusiasts of Yoga and Ayurveda (the study and practice of a holistic way of life). They consider it an important cleansing tool. They believe it creates an equal balance in your body, while others simply use it to battle allergies and air borne irritants.

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Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

Comics
Attention Theology 101 fans! Jackson Ferrell is considering putting together a collection of his Theology 101 cartoons, with extra bonus features such as strip commentary, an introduction, and unpublished strips. If you think you might be interested in purchasing a Theology 101 anthology, please let Jackson know! You can email him at jferrell2@washcoll.edu to express your interest.

10

The Collegian

April 2006

Disclaimer: Those with gentle stomachs may wish to read this on an empty one. Those who adore Misty of Chincoteague are advised not to read on at all. s I am sitting here writing, I’m trying to figure out a way to get the bloodstains out of my pants. Those who know me may fear the demise of some unfortunate soul who got on my bad side on the 28th day of a vicious cycle. Those who don’t may wonder if this is an intro to some article about the virtues of a certain stain remover (stranger things have happened in The Collegian), or at the very least about a very bad scrape I got this morning from falling down the stairs or something. Neither, I assure you, is the case. As a matter of fact, I was feeding lions. Allow me to introduce you, gentle reader, to the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary, part of the Shamwari Game Reserve, located not too far from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The aim of Born Free is to provide a home for big cats (read: lions and leopards) who have been living in sub-par conditions, have lost their fear of humans, and are unable to be rehabilitated to the wild. Born Free is home to eleven cats; seven lions and four leopards, none of whom would last thirty seconds in the real world. I was brought here on a field trip for the Washington College-Rhodes University exchange program. You may find this hard to believe, but hearing the sob stories of various cats is not necessarily my cup of tea on a public holiday. But trust me, it was worth it. I got within biting distance of these magnificent creatures, which were most fortunately separated from me by an electric fence. Our guide, Glenn, was a pleasant fellow who regaled us with stories of how these cats had arrived. None of the stories were very happy, but it really makes you appreciate why places like Born Free exist. One lion, who was in a spectacular condition, had been living in a zoo in Dubai. She had been shipped there illegally when she was three weeks old to a buyer who had wanted a cheetah cub as an exotic pet. The poachers were hoping the lion cub would pass, because lions have cheetah-like spots when they’re young. The buyer didn’t take the bait, though, and left the cub in the airport without food, water, or prospects. The zoo took her in, and she eventually found her way to Born Free. Another lion was a diplomatic gift to an African ex-president who kept her in an empty water tank and never fed her. This lion killed her own brother for lack of any other food, and grew up malnourished and mistreated. Though she’s now fed and watered and eats as much as any other lion, the damage is done: she’s blind in one eye, and suffers from epileptic fits whenever she gets overexcited. There are three leopard cubs living together in a single enclosure, all brothers and sisters. They came in from Sudan, where they were being raised by

A

On the Uses of Dead Livestock
Val Larson
a bunch of Sudanese soldiers. No one knew where the mother was; whether she’d been captured or these giant kitties ate nothing more serious than giant kitty kibble, think again. The first thing I picked up, gingerly and held at fingers’ end, was a cow skull, which I took outside the enclosure and threw on a rapidly growing pile of bones. For those of you with delicate sensibilities, let me hasten to add that these were old and sick cows, whose owners had called up Born Free when it was apparent that the cow was doomed to an untimely end. Actually, cleaning up after lions and leopards is not as grisly as you might think. The bones are picked pretty clean, and crawling through the bush looking for bovine remains is kind of like an X-rated version of an Easter egg hunt. So the clean-up session was rounded off with a nice cup of tea while Glenn went to prepare a meal for the three cats that needed to be fed that day. He soon returned, and asked if any of us want to help. Courtney Madden (another WAC peep) and I volunteered. Courtney wants to be a forensic anthropologist and thus figured it wouldn’t bother her, and I’m just morbidly curious. That day’s menu turned out to be not the usual defrosted remains from the humongous walk-in freezer, but a horse. Fresh horse. It was a 26-year-old creature who had broken its leg and would not have survived, or if it had, would have done so in great pain for the rest of its short life, so stop feeling bad for it. This horse, which had been shot that morning, was under a black tarp in the back of Glenn’s pickup. In pieces. We couldn’t see it, approaching the truck, but the smell and the redness dripping off the back were quite enough to fuel the imagination. Courtney and I jumped in the truck with Glenn, clutching our latex gloves to us, as if that would help. Glenn drove us out to Anthea and Rafi’s enclosure. These, if I remember correctly, were

killed by hunters or another animal, no one knows. So there I was, listening to these stories, feeling pretty bad for the cats, when Glenn says, “Come on now, we’re going to clean out a cage.” Now, this does not mean cleaning up some giant version of a litter box, but in fact refers to cleaning up after the cats’ weekly feeding. And if you thought

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Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

Sophie Kerr

A child who’s got the habit will start reading under the covers with a flashlight. If the parents are smart, they’ll forbid the child to do this, and thereby encourage her. Otherwise she’ll find a peer who also has the habit, and the two of them will keep it a secret between them. Finding a peer can take place as late as college. In high school, especially, there’s a social penalty to be paid for being a reader. Lots of kids who have been lone readers get to college and suddenly discover, “Oh my God, there are other people here who read.” -Shirley Brice Heath
are the fun classes: Freshman Creative Writing, Advanced Fiction and Poetry Workshops, Playwriting I & II, Writing for Film, Travel Writing, and Living Writers. There is no better way to enjoy a novel than to discuss it in class with its author, and no better way to improve at writing plays/novels/short stories/non/ fiction/poetry/screenplays than to recieve feedback in person on a weekly basis. Students who can meet with a professor over coffee to discuss a thesis truly could not be more blessed than to attend Washington College. Sophie Kerr provides many students with a leg up in what is an everincreasing competitive market of writing and publishing. Take William C. Bowie, class of ‘75 and the editor of the Washington College Review who published a collection of poems called The Conservator’s Song, which won the 1992 Arkansas Poetry Award. Peter Turchi ‘82 read from his third novel last year, having written the first draft of his debut novel, The Girls Next Door, while at Washington College. Sue DePasquale ‘87 is now the editor of The Johns Hopkins Magazine after launching the first issue of The Collegian in 1986. Mike Hammer ‘93, who once composed poetry on the Literary House Porch, is presently the editor of the Plum Review literary magazine. Students are still writing, editing, and publishing on a daily basis at Washington College. In this first ever Sophie Section, The Collegian is honored to contain the works of several active writers all vying to take home the fat check for literary greatness. But even if they fall short of hearing their name during graduation, each will still have in a special folder tucked away on their computer desktop a little bit of what Sophie would’ve wanted to read herself. —Peter W. Knox Collegian Editor

oetry pleasers and literature lovers (and alliteration aficionados!), rejoice, for this is our weekend. What War on the Shore does for lacrosse, Sophie Kerr Weekend does for writing, and what better way to celebrate than to print an issue of The Collegian – twenty-four pages dedicated to what students can do with words here at Washington College. When Sophie Kerr, author of 23 novels and hundreds of short stories (as well as a cookbook), passed away in 1965 before her 85th birthday, she did what few had ever done before her: she gave money to writers. The half-million-dollar trust fund (now up to a two million dollar endowment) was to be twofold. The well-publicized Sophie Kerr Prize is given annually to a graduating senior who shows the greatest “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor.” In 1968, the first prize of $9,000 was given to a Christina Clark, but last year Claire Tomkin, the soft-spoken girl in my travel writing class, walked away with a diploma and a check for $53,609. Although that’s no Powerball ticket, the Sophie Kerr Prize is a lottery you can actually deserve to win. Less obvious is the other half of Sophie Kerr’s wish list. For every Prize awarded in May, there is an equal amount of annual endowment profit that’s called the Sophie Kerr Gift. This money has brought well over two hundred writers and speakers such as Edward Albee, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anthony Burgess, James Dickey, J.P. Donleavy, William Gass, Alan Ginsberg, William Kennedy, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Katherine Anne Porter, W.D. Snodgrass, Elizabeth Spires, William Stafford, and Richard Wilbur (just to name a few). Jonathan Franzen wouldn’t have been here if Sophie Kerr hadn’t been here first. What you don’t see on the surface is the $500 each English professor receives to buy new books or the $2000 that goes to periodical and magazine subscriptions of literary merit. Sophie Kerr Gift money funds Writer Union Programs and campus publications like the one you’re holding in your hands. And every year, Sophie Kerr Gift money gives twelve thousand dollars in scholarship money to support three students in each year at Washington College. That’s money that changes everyone’s lives, not just one a year. Writing has not stopped at Washington College; rather, it has flourished under the umbrella of programs and capable professors. English classes

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hen I was applying to colleges in my senior year of high school, every time I mentioned to one of my relatives the schools I was considering, the first thing out of their mouths upon hearing me mention Washington College was “Oh! That school with the prize!” Forget the fact that we have a beautiful campus and some great athletic programs. This is what we’re known for. This is why I came here. When I arrived at Washington College in the fall of 2003, I had my entire four years planned out. Of course, I picked up a second minor in political science and then stressfully had to work the latein-the-day creative writing classes around my also very late lacrosse practice schedule. But I understood that this was something I knew I would have to do before I came to Washington College, and accepted that along with my decision to be a student here. I knew I was going to be an English Major and a Creative Writing minor and wanted to submit the portfolio I worked on as my senior obligation to the Sophie Kerr prize. Then the unfortunate day arrived late in the first semester of my sophomore year when I was sent an email informing me that anybody who was then a sophomore or freshman English major and Creative Writing minor could no longer simply complete a creative writing portfolio as their senior obligation. We would now have to do a senior thesis or Comps. If you were intending to submit your senior obligation portfolio as the Sophie Kerr prize…well, you better drop some activities because there goes your senior year. I was in utter disbelief. Why would they do this to me? I was sure that somebody would fight it. Wasn’t this illegal or something? I attended a meeting at the lit house with the then “speaker” of the Lit House (who was a senior), on this issue and I sincerely thought that the ideas and solutions we came up with there would lead the administration to revoke their decision. I was sorely mistaken. Most of the people who had authority and experience in the Lit House and familiarity with the administration were juniors and seniors and so didn’t really care what happened with it, because, well, it didn’t apply to them. We were told that they didn’t have enough creative writing professors to read all of the portfolios thoroughly enough and so were therefore being “unfair” to the prospective applicants. By adding the thesis obligation, it would in turn reduce the amount of students who submitted something for the prize. But is that really something they wanted? Less students submitting something? Isn’t a lot of competition a good thing? In our meeting we decided that we would get to the root of the problem by hiring a new creative writing faculty member, and, sure enough, a year and a half later we have a new poetry professor…only after 10 years of Professor Day literally begging the administration to hire a new poetry professor because contrary to my own opinion, he does not consider himself a “poet,” and believes that we deserve a real poet to instruct us. So, thank you, Professor Day. I recently spoke to an English department faculty member and was told that the department believes that a thesis better prepares students for graduate school and displays their knowledge of English more extensively than a portfolio. We must remember, however, that we have the option of choosing a thesis *or* Comps. Now, the amount

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Rant
wish I was a senior...

of studying required for Comps generally takes up about half the time and energy a thesis does. If you were given the choice of taking Comps or writing a thesis and you had planned on not having to do either anyway and you knew that you wanted to put all the energy you have into your portfolio because, hey, it’s $50,000 we’re talking about here… which one would you choose? Yea, same here. So what is happening to the prize? It is no longer the largest, the University of Texas now holds that honor. And what is this book prize thing? It’s not even student-oriented. I’m glad to see that we are getting a new Lit House director, but I was pretty happy with the one we had. If you can’t tell, I’m not really a fan of change. I know the prize is notorious for its lack of any sort of “future literary endeavor” desired in the students by Sophie Kerr herself. I am speaking of the so-called “Sophie Curse” which lies in the fact that everybody who has won the prize in the past has indeed not gone on to excel in any “future literary endeavor.” (Except for Christine Lincoln, who won the prize in 2000 for her book Sap Rising). But in a world where you can get any poem or short story off the Internet and just scoot down the road to your public library to pick yourself up a novel, it just isn’t a lucrative profession anymore. We’ve got to pay bills. It’s a highly competitive business, too. Cut us some slack. I know the prize has also received some bad rap in the past few years from winners involved in drug abuse. I think the faculty is just fed up with the prize. I think they want to see her fade. I guess my argument is more personal because I now have to rethink my entire senior year around the fact that I need to study for Comps and now take a mandatory course in the second semester (because it isn’t offered in the fall) for people who are submitting something for Sophie Kerr. I am wondering now if I will even have time to work on something for the prize. But maybe that is what the faculty wants, less applicants. I think it was very unfair for them to advertise the option and then rip it away from us during our sophomore and freshman year. I don’t know why they couldn’t wait two years to change it. It’s even still advertised as an option on the website. I understand that not all people who chose the option submitted something for the prize, but most did. I also know that some people who chose to write a thesis instead also submitted something for the prize. Other majors can submit something too…but nobody knows when the last non-English major who did that won. It must be acknowledged that the people who did use their portfolio option as their submission for the prize were able to dedicate all their time to their submission. Wasn’t that the point of having it this way in the first place? I even created a Facebook group for people angry about the revocation of the option and it includes all of 8 people. If this is any representation of how many people I will be competing against, then, great. But honestly, I want to know that my portfolio is put in a pool of great work, and the greater the amount of submissions, the more quality work I will be put up against. I’m not really excited about being the English Department’s guinea pig. They say we are getting four credits or something but nobody has really told me much. I don’t need any more credits. I just want my senior year back. ✍

he list had just come through on the fax machine in the office when I came downstairs. Each day Katherine had Sammi the assistant put the list together and wire it over. There were some constants; sit-ups and various vitamin supplements that I had agreed to at the beginning, but there were always some surprises. Today I saw that I was getting my neck hair waxed and going shopping for new beltbuckles. But the first stop was going to be the fertility clinic, where I was to fertilize the eggs that Katherine had harvested and preserved somehow at a domed building in Arizona a long time ago. We first met at the after-party. That night my tuxedo was a little big for me, borrowed from a friend I no longer talk to. Katherine had just won her Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Hollywood Film Institute and she was all smiles and lipstick, her gray hair piled up on top of itself with something like chopsticks and her huge sagging breasts held up by what must have been a Kevlar bra. I poured her champagne without knowing who she was—my parents were not fans of hers and I had never seen one of her movies, not even the one about the WWII nurse. My pager was going off wildly all that night, 911s from a lot of unknown numbers, mostly from the Valley, who needed one hundred bucks worth, all five minutes ago. My tux jacket pocket was weighed down with maybe twenty grams, tied up in a ball and enclosed in a clear, plastic box. The Greater Hollywood Film Institute was a dinosaur, and even the pro girls looked bored and pathetic under the sporadic lights. Katherine’s escort, a semi-closeted sitcom star, grabbed my leg when he talked, resting it just above the knee, while his own leg bounced in time with his jittery jaw line. I spoke to Katherine about looking for meaning and respecting her craft. The jewels hanging from her neck Michael were nestled within a deep wrinkle in her skin, just above her McGrath gown’s neckline. I had just been diagnosed with gonorrhea and the meds I was on made my mouth dry all the time. She noticed and offered me a sip of Rattinger from her flute. I studied the lip imprint her gloss had left on the rim of the glass as I swallowed what was left and then we danced a slow salsa. She slipped a card into my hand before she left and I called her the next day. We have been together ever since. Being with somebody like Katherine can raise eyebrows, but that is mostly because nobody knows how these deals work. For one thing, we do not live together. I live in Silver Lake and she lives in Brentwood. I perform no services other than what has been agreed upon and submitted to my attorney in the form of a contract. I receive a weekly stipend. She pays my mortgage and when she dies I will receive the Silver Lake house, all bought and paid for by her estate. I have access to a car service and I get bonuses at the beginning of each quarter. I can bang other girls as long as she never sees them. I submit to monthly AIDS tests. I cannot gain more than ten percent of my current body weight. I must get all haircuts pre-approved. I have a black Amex. The bill is sent to Brentwood. Everybody wants to know about the sex. They are obsessed, angry even. But sex with Katherine is easy money. For one thing, the breathing machine she is on hums loudly enough that I cannot hear her sighs or dirty talk. The room is always dark. She keeps her nightgown on the whole time. She calls me Charlie before and after. Charlie was an assistant director on one of her first films. I met him once—don’t see what the big deal is. After taking the vitamins and doing the sit-ups I went back upstairs and watched a Christmas-themed adult film. Santa was disciplining a wayward elf when the phone rang. It was Sammi with directions to the fertility clinic. I

The Stud

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told her to email them to my Blackberry and I could make out Katherine in the background, just over the din of the iron lung. “Katherine says please don’t drive the motorcycle over there,” reported Sammi. I hung up, looked down at my crotch, shrugged, popped the DVD out of the player and put it in my shirt pocket. I grabbed my cell and the Ducati keys and made my way down to the garage. I had never signed a contract before I met Katherine. She hired me a lawyer to help me go through the terms and I picked the guy that seemed the least disgusted with what it was the contract was proposing. The lawyer, Eric, who I think I had sold to some months earlier at a gay bar in downtown LA, had slicked back hair and wore flip-flops with his three thousand dollar suit. We had gotten to the tenth page of the document when the subject of these eggs came up. “You realize,” said Eric, sucking on the lime wedge from his mojito, “that this means you will be a father.” I knew that. “You jealous?” I asked, smiling at Eric coyly and watching the vacuum at the bottom of the pool slowly creep towards me. “And as far as you know you are capable of fertilizing these eggs? There will be a test conducted. This is a potential deal-breaker. She wants these babies.” I imagined a little me, running around town in a Power Wheel, dating Dakota Fanning, sitting on my lap at the Ivy while I met with an agent to discuss the film rights to my autobio. “I’ll come on however many eggs she’s got,” I told Eric. The vacuum was bumping up against the wall of the pool and the gardener hadn’t noticed yet. It made an unpleasant buzzing sound, even from under three feet of water. It sounded like a candy machine returning a wrinkled dollar. After everything was signed Eric asked me if he had met me before. “Yeah, “I said, “maybe at Rico Suave’s birthday party.” He showed himself out and I took my shirt off and tried to ignore the vacuum. The bike really opens up on the freeway. I was preoccupied while driving. I had never gotten a chick pregnant before and this seemed like an odd but hip way to get into it. I was going to need a lot of inspiration for this- the Santa porn was still in my pocket and I prayed that the clinic had DVD capabilities. If they just had a magazine rack I might not be able to pull it off. I am more particular about my pornography than I am about my girlfriends. When I am with Katherine I replay entire scenes in my head with my eyes tightly closed. I have never been good at school but I have a photographic memory for these kinds of things. Once when I was with Katherine I played a scene in my mind about a female traffic cop and afterwards Sammi had to call an ambulance because Katherine’s heart-rate was like a drum roll. The clinic was in a modern building. A foxy receptionist took down my name. I asked about the DVD players and she assured me that they had them in each room. I am led to the last door on the right, after walking down a gleaming, blue hallway. I heard only small noises from behind some doors, and the sound of my shoes on the polished floor. The room was small. There was a bed that I would’t need and a wall-mounted TV. The nurse handed me my cup and closed the door behind her. The DVD slid in and the screen came alive, first an FBI warning and then some previews that I skipped over. The North Pole appeared- a blonde with pointed ears and bells on her shoes looked right at me and bent over. I thought about Katherine. I thought about Dakota Fanning. I thought about Sammi and then the elf and then Mrs. Clause and then of rows of eggs, lined up like at the store. They had faces and they looked like me. One had pointed ears. My eyes closed and my ears popped. ✍

14

The Collegian

April 2006

Cindy Brown

ina’s dragging TattooNeck along from person to person, those breasts bouncing up and down near to spilling out of her shirt. Gina. VaGina, a name I gave to her in high school. I snort into my glass. All around me are familiar faces and I wonder if any of them know anything about anyone, really. But I’m most interested in Gina. I’m wondering if anyone really knows anything about her. About how her father left her mother for a woman with bigger breasts and started a whole other family, hiding from the press his first one. He was an influential bastard who kept his ex-wife and ex-kids quiet with lots of money, Valium, and expensive cars. He gave his new wife and kids the same things, minus the Valium. And here comes Todd. He’s fiercely handsome, a top guy at some brokerage firm, making millions. He’s got his fat, sad-looking wife and two kids following behind him and he’s flashing a smile as big as his bank account. He’s a different man. He’s made it. I asked Todd to the senior prom in a fit of blind desperation and uncompromising teenage love. He was pimply and isolated like me. I wrote him a letter but Todd, like every other boy, wanted to take Gina. He was “In love with Gina(’s breasts). Sorry. I just can’t go to the prom with you.” Gina didn’t know Tom was in love with her (breasts). I remember when he was all pimples and tinted Clearasil and braces and asked her out by the janitor’s closet, in front of the entire cheerleading squad. “Heh. You’re fucking joking, right?” I watched as he slumped away holding a wilted flower taken from the garden at the entrance to the school, laughter following him down the hall. Later that afternoon, over the loud speaker, he was called into the principal’s office and even though Todd had never deflowered anything, he was given a week’s worth of community service to make up for deflowering our school property. “Okay, can everyone have a seat, please! We are going to do some ceremonial-type stuff.” Cathy, the president of the alumni association calls us to attention and everyone begins looking for the tables we are assigned. As the age-old monotony of herding by the last name would have it, I’m with Gina, TattooNeck (she never did tell me his name), Todd, Todd’s fat wife and two kids, and J.T.—the class clown and then local marijuana kingpin. “Hey Todd, where’s the other half a kid?” I ask. “What?” I say nothing and take a swig from my glass. Gina sits down in her chair, her breasts resting on the table once she scoots her chair in so she’s not blocking the aisle. She looks at Todd’s nametag and stares hard at it for a moment. She’s taking in the mullet, glasses, pimples and bad teeth. Then she looks up, “Todd? Oh my god! It’s so good to see you again! You look great!” Gina jumps up from the table, those glorious breasts jumping with her and runs around to give Todd a hug. Todd’s fat wife looks none too pleased. “What are you doing with yourself?” “I’m a broker. Big financial guy. Making money,” he says to her breasts, which she has left dangerously close to his face after she releases him. She puts her hands at the small of her back, pronouncing all that splendid womanhood and he’s practically drooling. Some things never change. She smiles at him, “Really? Wow. That’s cool.” In high school, Gina had all the money she wanted. Daddy kept her mouth shut with it even though she was sucking the cock of any boy she thought handsome enough. But he had to be handsome and usually had to have a girlfriend. Girls hated Gina but loved Gina’s breasts. Gina always claimed she “didn’t take anything that didn’t wanna be taken.” “Hey. Can you hear me? It’s good to see you. You’ve still got your hair dyed blue.” “Oh. Hey Todd.” “What are you doing with your life?” “I’m a writer.” “Gosh, some things never change.” I look at his face and notice a small pimple on his chin, “No, they don’t.” ✍

High School Reunion

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Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

Ol’ Dirty Rise
15

he car was not a jalopy; it was the red dragon, named aptly for its color and the fierce gargling sound when it stumbles in jerks up to the stoplight. Our necks jerked in violent, unrhythmic bobs to the music. The night was vacuous in the summer suburban night, and if tumbleweed rolled by, we wouldn’t have batted an eye. These three lanes all four ways; Wu-tang supposed worse circumstances and yet better left quiet for now. Diggs had just made the new mix CD. He’d shown it to me before he slipped it in, and it read: “Life Lessons of WuTang.” We’d been searching the search for most the night and were supposed to be heading to a big gathering. It was the summer before our senior year of college, or, as we’d say, the summer before the cubicles, 9-5s, and, abstractly and inversely, paid freedom coupled with tenantable servitude. If the neon Bennigans and T.G.I. Friday signs reflected the disenfranchisement of individuality, our future selves would want a drive-thru. But our tonight selves were supposed to be at a party 3 hours ago that was vaguely promoted as a house party/ high school reunion. At the light before our destiWill nation’s house 2 hours and 50 minutes ago, Grofic an SUV pulled up next to us, reverberating in pure bombast DMX’s “Where the Hood At.” It was a good question, one we didn’t regularly ask at night and on the way to a social function because we know said hood wasn’t quite in our vicinity. If anything the hood was toward the opposite direction of the SUV and the red dragon. I mean D.C. was less than 20 minutes down the road, real D.C. It was like the Wild West in your backyard. Wake up, open a window, and hear the gun draw at high noon. Ask anyone from the suburbs, and they tell you the city that their house nearly aligns with. Pretend like you could, if you would want to, drive so few miles to the tangible existence. Only that far away from saying been there, done that, but none of us would. The suburban development was new and rigid and sprawling with mirrored houses of identical structure. At one house, the garage may be on the left, two houses down; they’d switch the garages to the right. It was a simple modification but enough to promote not a copied image, but a mirrored one. Our windows were open because it was a miracle for the red dragon to start; asking it to cool us was above and beyond. The air vapored to us of a time when trees weren’t so formally placed, so exactly the same height. And if not the same height, how green the branches were blossoming, even at night, inciting in me a suspicion that these trees grew through electric light from the street lamps glow. We soaked in the night and became lost in the maze of sameness. Diggs speaks, “How do we get out of here?” Poppa Wu reminded us, If you forget where you come from, You’re never gonna make it where you’re goin. We’d been driving, turning casually left and right. We made sure there was never a circle performed or end to the lines; we’d made at least four halves of trapezoids and rhombuses. ✍

T

Dan Taylor

he works in a class for the developmentally disabled and on that particular day she was watching one boy, David, play a Star Wars games on the old Play Station. Behind the two forms sat another, suited, bobbing boy. The suit sat on his thin body perfectly so that he looked older than his mental capacity actually made him. His deep brown eyes, which rarely focus on anything, were riveted on the dancing star ship on the screen. And when the player lost and the T-Wing exploded, Daniel Taylor, the boy yet man, parroted “Game Over.” She leaned over to the player and murmured “David, class is almost over, so we have to stop soon so that you have time for your two minute bathroom break before PE. Is that OK?” The player rubbed his hand over the back of his head then his forehead, looked up through his eyelashes and said, “Is that why we should stop soon?” “Yes, So that you aren’t rushed because I know that you like to move slow and steady.” “Yes, I do, slow and steady.” “So is that OK?” “Yes, that is OK.” She sat back to watch the last few minutes of shooting out TIE fighters. Dan Taylor had heard. Sometimes people think that he can’t hear or that the soundtracks in his head tune all background out. Maybe it was because he was so focused on the video game that, when it had stopped on the Game Over screen rather than moving through the High Scores screen and back to the game, he had Capella felt a pattern change. Something Meurer wasn’t right when things didn’t go as they were supposed to, when the Simpsons was cancelled for football or library time fell through because other classes needed the computers. It wasn’t in order any more, things didn’t make sense and the world around Dan Taylor warped so that he had to find a pattern somewhere, something safe and orderly to hold onto while everything around him changed. She heard him mutter “No.” Suddenly she felt her hand clenched by another. Dan Taylor had latched onto her, pulled her hand closer and clasped it tight. When she looked at him she saw that his eyes begged, not David, but the TV to stay live. It was there, the emotion that he could never explain, darting and shifting with his eyes so that one had to be quick to catch it. She whispered, “Look at me, Dan Taylor, eye contact.” His head snapped around, almost against his will for his eyes strayed back. “We will play another time, I promise.” Dan’s hands shifted around hers. His fingers caught on her rings and slid the one on her ring finger almost off then back on again, marrying himself to her promise. ✍

would have laughed, but I suddenly had so little inclination to do anything, think anything, barely see anyone around me, or hear any of the soft, lilting coos of sympathy bombarding me from every direction. I had to retreat. I sat in the back of the car for the rest of the service, and no one stopped me. I watched as people cried, dabbed their eyes, hugged each other. I had no desire to hug anyone. I think I fell asleep. I woke up as the service was ending. I heard my dad’s father talking to someone. “Life’s very strange, isn’t it? Thought surely it would get me before him.” Maybe I was already getting used to the way you feel when your world crashes around you. And somehow it made sense that Grandpa Baxter, the typical old, crusty, “Greatest Generation” curmudgeon, would be in a deep, dark, mental pit of despair. But I still couldn’t imagine my father, the rosy-cheeked, loveable party animal, Three Tenors impersonator and giver of noogies, swallowing a pistol in his bathroom. It didn’t add up. Jake and Mom got in the car. We were silent for a few minutes before I broke it. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Mom flinched and started the car, but didn’t take the brake off. “I think I have a right to know my own father.” “Of course you do sweetie,” Mom said. “We just thought it was better if you didn’t have to think about it. Jake had such a rough time, and I guess…we were hoping it would skip a generation or something. We didn’t want you to start selfdiagnosing every little thing.” I awoke one Thursday afternoon, listlessly dreaming about missing AP Calculus again when I heard movement outside my door. I opened it to see a baby cradle make its way down the hall to what used to be my dad’s study. Then fluffy curtains. “What the hell is going on?” I asked no one in particular. But one of the hairy-assed mover guys said over his shoulder, “Making way for the new family member, kid!” I was not amused. I ran downstairs to the kitchen. Mom was leaning against the kitchen counter, smoking another cigarette, a habit she seemed to have picked up in the last few months. I looked at her stomach. She did not look Juliana remotely pregnant. “Charles. I’m adopting.” Converse “Oh, Jesus,” I said, chuckling. The chuckle turned into a guffaw. Mom didn’t share in the laugh. In fact, she smacked me. The sound of her hand against my cheek echoed against the tile. She paused for a split second, looking as bewildered as I did. “Grow up!” She sobbed at me. “I’ll make a damn good mother when I have a fresh hand of cards!” I had no idea what she was talking about. No one was accusing her of being a bad mother. So I calmed her down enough to find out that she was adopting a little girl from Guatemala. “Sounds good,” I said nonchalantly, and I strolled out of the room, ignoring her befuddlement. I sat on my bed, staring out the window for a while. Not a single thought crossed my mind as I watched kids on plastic motorcycles, wheeling up and down the street, their parents helping to push them along. What will screw up that kid’s life later on? I thought grimly. I picked up The Complete Existentialist Collection and started reading. I ran through Nietzsche, Kafka, and Sartre like a lightning bolt. I had no idea what it meant. Waking up as a giant bug? Shooting a man because the sun hurts your eyes? The necessity of believing God is dead? Utter gibberish. So, like everything else I couldn’t understand, I didn’t let it go. I spent the next three weeks reading.

Eventually, I processed what I read as a three-step pattern: Idealism, Nihilism, and Realism. Or something like that. I soaked it all up greedily at first, but finally I had to shelf it again. It was like I had Nietzsche sitting beside me, nudging me about “becoming,” and the absence of ultimate truth, speaking in a language I couldn’t understand, but in a tone that suggested he was speaking in generalities, but was targeting me in particular. I didn’t need it. Instead, I left the house. I drove up and down and back and forth on the endless River Road to get to the falls. I passed by the McMansions, the gated communities, the high school campuses that resembled small liberal arts colleges. The leaf blowers. A commuter’s paradise. Nothing in the air but sawdust and gas fumes. It hit the head before the nose. I reached the park. I almost dashed down the toe path to my favorite nook in the woods. I scurried down the path. There was no one out today. I swung around the trees, down the rocky steps, climbed up boulders and hopped over small streams until I smelled the rushing water. I carefully climbed out on my rock, facing Virginia, the tide between us. I thought about the baby. The new replacement. The drop of freshwater in a basin full of seawater. Doubtless, Mom saw her as her anchor of hope. I saw her as a startled outsider, who would grow up in a brand new, over-privileged, over-developed, over-medicated world. Fantastic, I thought. And with luck, she would be more lucid than the rest, and inevitably become dragged down, as I had. But I will bring her here, I thought, looking out at the green, yellow and vibrant orange trees, the turtle basking on his rock-like throne, the blue heron soaking in the afternoon. ✍

16

The Collegian

Catharsis
April 2006

S

I

iverse” is not the first adjective that comes to my mind when asked to describe the demographics of Chestertown, Maryland residents. In fact, it would not even make my list of adjectives; I would much sooner use words like “yuppie” and “dog-walking,” as reflected by the people I see coming and going in the downtown area. However, diversity is just what I found upon entering Chestertown’s newest Mexican restaurant one cold Saturday evening. I had been recovering all day from Saturday night’s adventures, and by no means did I have the motivation to cook dinner. My boyfriend volunteered to take me out to eat, with the stipulation that I choose the spot. Feeling uninspired, I headed in the direction of O’Connor’s Pub, again. After driving all the way around back to find a parking place, we walked into the breezeway and were assaulted by the onslaught of college students eating dinner, drinking beer, and generally overwhelming me. I picked out people I knew at seven different tables, and that was too many. I could think of nothing to do but turn around and walk out. Feeling defeated, I whined, “Now where will we eat?” Luckily, said boyfriend had the presence of mind to suggest that new Mexican restaurant next to Downey’s, now that it had finally opened. We drove off in search of something different in Chestertown. The green-and-yellow sign on the side of the building reads, “PLAZA TAPATIA: Authentic Mexican Cuisine.” We missed the entrance, which is accessed misleadingly from inside the Acme shopping center, not from 213. We parked on the edge of the Downey’s lot, only to be chased away by a large, greasy woman brandishing a broom. Now properly parking in the Plaza Tapatia parking lot, I wondered just how authentically Mexican it could be, as it is housed in the old Pizza Hut building, abandoned since 1999. Nearing the front doors, I questioned its authenticity again as I read the banner listing other Tapatia locations: Ocean City, Easton, Cambridge, Salisbury, Seaford. Upon stepping inside the restaurant, I promptly took back all of my grump, hungry, and cynical thoughts. Our senses were cheerfully greeted with stucco walls decorated with bright artwork, teal

D

Review
Restaurant: Mexico East
Megan Walburn
and blue booths and tablecloths, and peppy accordion music in the background. A young Hispanic man in a yellow polo shirt piped up, “Two for dinner?” I noticed with a relief that there were at least three open tables, and only one or two diners that I recognized from school. There was a small merry throng around the bar, bantering with the eight or so Hispanic men behind it. We were seated at a booth behind a man that I suddenly noticed was wearing a tight, white suit, bejeweled and fringed, with a slicked-back ‘do. I wondered briefly if there was an Elvis impersonation contest somewhere that night, until I realized that there were four more men walking around the restaurant in the same snazzy suit. From the front, I could now see that the suits were actually boleros and pants, and the men were the live Mariaci band that the restaurant had been boasting. We had just missed the performance! Just then, our chipper, polo-wearing waiter distracted me with the menu. And quite a menu it is. Appetizers, lunch and dinner specials, side orders, new entrees, desserts, and drinks are spread over seven pages in English and Spanish. The menu offers an entire vegetarian section as well as a list for those 10 and under. Most entrees are between $10$15, making Tapatia more reasonably-priced than most of downtown Chestertown. Margaritas come in strawberry, peach, coconut, lime, and “Texasstyle,” ranging in price from $4.25-$6.00, or, for the more enthusiastic drinker, pitchers run $14.95-18.95. There is also a section that gives descriptions for each Mexican-named dish on the menu. Being an incredibly WASPy, blonde American, I found these translations particularly helpful, and happily ordered myself a shrimp enchilada. After devouring that and a fizzy strawberry Mexican soda, I left the restaurant with a stuffed belly and a positively Mexican feeling. Plaza Tapatia brings the Hispanic-American culture that is growing rapidly on the Eastern Shore to the rest of us, and they do it with flair. Plaza Tapatia is located between KFC/Taco Bell and Downey’s, and open 7 days a week. Lunch hours: 11am-2:30pm. Dinner hours: M-F 11am10pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm, Sunday 12pm-9pm. ✍ Editor’s Note: Plaza Tapatia is currently still awaiting its county liquor license, so don’t go just for the margaritas like I did.

Reserve Your Apartment for 2006/2007 Now! Call 410-708-3654 Or email margroberts@comcast.net
Vol. 17, Issue 5

MAKE YOUR MOVE

Cozy Remodeled Building Close to Campus Studio, 1, and 2-BRs Laundry Internet Ready Big Backyard.
17

The Collegian

Danish continued from page 8
I took my backpack off and paced and sat and paced and sat and stared at the information written in Danish on the battered, weathered, wooden board on the platform. The only book I had was buried under a ton of stuff in my pack and I was too exasperated with the situation to dig it out. So I sat some more. I sat and wished that I had someone with me to bitch about how much it sucked. I thought about all the stuff I wasn’t going to see. I thought about the fact that the sky looked a hell of a lot like rain. Then I had one of those moments I’m sure anyone traveling alone must have at some point. I looked around, wondering how the hell I ended up here. Completely alone on a train platform in the middle of some trees in a field. I couldn’t see

any people or even the road. It might have been anywhere in the world if it hadn’t been for the fact that every written bit of anything around me was in Danish. It was a very strange, small feeling: as if I were the only person left on the planet and I had no concept of where exactly I was. But it was amazing. How often does one find herself humbled by the world? In the middle of an overgrown field, no less. It sounds a little silly, but I suddenly understood why travel is like a drug. In that moment, I became an addict. Just as suddenly as I had zoned out, I heard the slow, two-car, rickety local train lumbering towards the platform and I was back. I got on the train full of locals on their way into town to do their shopping, looked out the window the whole way back, and crossed to the regional platform to wait for the train back to Copenhagen.

And of course, as I stood there, it started to rain. By the time I got back to Copenhagen, it was around 3pm. I knew by the time I got out to the hostel, checked in, dropped my stuff in the room, and got settled, it would be time to go back out and find dinner. So, since I had spent an entire day on a whole lot of nothing, I went to the bakery in the station and got another one of those famous Danish cinnamon rolls. A country in which they make a pastry that could solve the problems of the entire day is worth the trip, in my opinion. Even if the trip ends right where it started, there’s more than just a bakery between point A and point A. ✍

Neti Pot continued from page 9
Neti Pot at the first signs of getting sick, because I waited too long. It did eventually give me some temporary relief. For those that don’t want to try it, it is quite amusing watching others.” Katherine Honold says, “I had a stuffy nose from elementary school to high school. I had serious sinus infections all the time. It took me some time to get used to it. One of my doctors suggested that I use it. My cold has never been bad again since.” Dan Holles used to the Neti Pot to impress his girlfriend, Katherine, who also introduced him to it. “I had a real bad stuffy nose, and I tried everything, but nothing would work. So one day

Katherine told me about this amazing device called a Neti Pot. I tried it, and I’ve been hooked ever since.” There are plenty of articles surfacing now about the growing immunity of antibiotics. Just try it, there’s no prescription or trip to a doctor needed. An article in the Chicago Tribune said “A recent University of Wisconsin study found the Neti Pot provided a simple drug-free treatment for sinus infections. Patients reported fewer headaches, fewer side effects and decreased use of antibiotics.” Where do you buy a Neti Pot? Natural and organic food stores such as Whole Foods, or Chestertown’s very own Chestertown Natural Foods on 214 Cannon Street sell Neti Pots.

They cost around $10-$20, and you can buy special Neti Pot salt. The pots come in ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic, and in multiple colors. ✍ Want to watch a demo of the Neti Pot being used? Go here: http://netipot.org/demo_video.htm SOURCES: http://www.bytheplanet.com/Products/Yoga/ neti/Netipot.htm http://ezinearticles.com/ ?Nasal-Irrigation-Using-a-Neti-Pot:--For-theCommon-Cold-and-Congestion&id=85143 http:// altmedicine.about.com/cs/allergiesasthma/a/ SinusIrrigation.htm

Dead Livestock continued from page 11
two lions who had been kept in a bird aviary in Greece before Born Free took them in. We were accompanied by the other WAC folks and a load of British tourists with their cameras. Glenn backed the truck right up to a fence and then got out. He pulled back the tarp. The smell and the flies were... indescribable, really. He opened the first gate to a double-gated area and supervised as Courtney and I manhandled two pieces of horse into the enclosure. The lions were pacing mere centimeters from us, but believe me when I say that this is not your primary focus while you’re dragging a very heavy, very smelly, and very slippery chunk of horse into a small area. Well, having got the horse in, Courtney and I backed out, Glenn shut the gate, and then we opened the second gate that let the lions at the food. These huge creatures just took hold of the meat and dragged it away, and damn, that horse was heavy. The English tourists clicked away with their cameras while Glenn looked on in pride and satisfaction as Rafi began chowing down on what looked suspiciously like a liver. We got back in the car, bloody gloves carefully held away from the leather interior, driving over bumpy dirt paths, and in no time at all we’re at Kuma’s enclosure. Kuma was a bad-tempered leopard whose story I forget, but I do remember that he got the head. The horse’s head and neck were not easy to carry, and Glenn had to do the last few yards because Courtney and I were not able to handle the weight, the awkward positioning, and the nearby electric fence at the same time. Then that leopard grabbed that hunk of meat and yoinked it away. Kuma was obviously still in touch with his wild leopard instincts. Good for Kuma. Having deposited the four legs safely in the walk-in freezer, our trip to Born Free was more or less finished. What an educational facility. This is what I learned: 1) DO NOT take big cats out of their wild habitat. If God had meant for us to own exotic cats, then he would not have given us upholstered furniture or affection for horses. 2) DO NOT ever bend down while making eye contact with a lion. They do not like this, and will make their disgruntlement known in the form of a charge. 3) DO NOT mock butchers, veterinarians, farmers, or rangers. They have hard jobs, and dull knives to prove it. 4) The inside of a horse is not a pretty sight. 5) If you ever wish to become a vegetarian, I know the perfect turn-off. 6) Bones aren’t as bad as you think. 7) Blood makes things very slippery, but makes up for it by drying super fast. 8) Never stand between a cheetah and his dinner. Ever. 9) Lions and cheetahs are extremely cool, even when on the down and out. 10) If you come to Kuma without food, you are not Kuma’s friend. And now that the day is done, it’s time for laundry. Stain remover, anyone? www.bornfree.org/uk ✍

18

The Collegian

April 2006

high school social studies teacher in Colorado has compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler. One of his students tape-recorded Mr. Bennish telling his class that the State of the Union address “sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler used to say.” The student’s tape was aired on a Denver radio talk show, and the teacher was placed on leave while the school system investigates his conduct. And every step of the way, the Associated Press and the wonders of the Internet make it possible for us here in Chestertown to read about the case at our leisure and even to listen to the recording if we are so inclined. But the thing about this Information Age we live in is that it’s just that, information. It is mere information, not necessarily truth, not the intelligence with which to discern it, and certainly not wisdom, that we can access at any time, in mass quantities, over the net, the radio, or the television. And when it is a blog, a personality-driven talk-radio program, or satirical fake news we’re listening to—entertaining as these sorts of things may be—it is not even information being conveyed: it’s misinformation, it’s that ubiquitous thing, spin, whatever the person whose mouth it’s coming out of may say to the contrary. There are two approaches to this difficulty that faces us, fascinated as we are by Mr. Bennish’s story and hoping to learn more (in what way is Bush like Hitler? has this sort of talk gotten out of hand? what is Mr. Bennish’s first name?). We can either plunge headlong into the web of fact and opinion, relying on our education, wits, and Google’s Moderate SafeSearch to steer us towards the truth we seek, or we can stop being facetious for a moment and think soberly about the case as we understand it. We’ll see that there is a third option, of course, and that it’s the opposite of the first in another way than the second is. That is, rather than subjecting ourselves to the inanity that is the media, we can choose to ignore it as much as possible. Rather than adding one more voice to the shrill cacophony, we can treat it as none of our business that this teacher in Colorado said something that has a bunch of people livid and a bunch of other people overjoyed. It is this laissez-faire attitude to politics that I have long taken myself, and I never really saw much reason to change it. Common sense tells us that Bush is not Hitler, and that this guy should have been teaching geography instead of making incendiary claims without providing any kind of substantiation besides “it sounds a lot like things Hitler used to say.” But the beauty of common sense is that it is evenhanded, homey in the way Bush grinningly pretends to be, and it tells us, while Bush is not Hitler, he certainly isn’t a picture of presidential brilliance,

A

BusHitler: Being Diplomatic
Wes Schantz
either. High school students are still idealistic, they are interested in debating current events, and it is our privilege— maybe even our responsibility— in a free society to speak against the head of state even within the public schools. And as for the student who taperecorded his recognized something that makes my old outlook seem incomplete. I don’t think it’s ever wrong to see as many sides of an issue as possible; fundamentally, I’ll go on in this way. What is untenable is how I would stop there, doing nothing with it. Because, while Bush is not much like Hitler, most people today would fit right in in Germany under that demagogue. We are content to stand by as long as nothing bad happens to us: we aren’t the ones dying in Iraq or Sudan, just as they weren’t the ones in the camps a generation or two ago. Senator Birch Bayh, in his talk in Tawes this past January, spoke movingly about this. He cried real tears; it was amazing. People in politics are human beings, too. That’s something else that hadn’t really occurred to me. All the bloggers and talking heads, the people who have sent Mr. Bennish’s family death threats, and the students who protested outside the school with duct-tape over their mouths— maybe they’ve gone overboard, but if so, it’s partly because so many of us aren’t going anywhere at all, we’re standing still. If we say we can’t help it, that the wars and the global warming and the crude tone of political debate are all out of our hands, it’s partly a self-fulfilling prophecy. Until reasonable people take it upon themselves to enter the political forum, or at least acknowledge there might already be a few of them in there, we really have no hope. Likening Bush to Hitler won’t do us any favors, but neither will saying nothing at all. It’s the second choice we’re left with, talking seriously and carefully, and having done my best to exercise it here, I have to say it’s really hard. ✍

teacher, why did he have to be so sneaky, why didn’t he give the teacher fair warning that he was going to report him if he kept on being opinionated? Well, because it was exciting, and because he’s a celebrity now. I can see both sides of a case like this, but what I can’t see is why people worked themselves up over it one way or the other. Can you literally convince yourself that the president harbors genocidal intrigues against Arabs, or at least the oil-rich ones? Are you going to take it upon yourself to demonstrate that a high-school teacher is justified in putting the name Hitler anywhere near the name of anyone who hasn’t killed millions of people, and maybe not even because you think it’s an accurate comparison, but because of the sacrosanct First Amendment? Sometimes you have to agree with the Dude on these things: “Walter, you’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.” But within this Bush-Hitler analogy I

Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

19

Erin Thorp

Braided Bones
I have grown tired of watching hair spread underwater, winding it around my fingers like I am setting a clock I see the same strands in the irises of your eyes, wondering if eyes grow like hair grows, back through your skull down through your body I feel it wrapping around your bones, and I understand why it feels like your hands are watching me: iris ivy twists your fingers until they blink

The Home I Will Build
Mid-prairie, I build you a pinwheel house, tiny windmills bound together with violin strings that make harp-plucked sounds when the wind strolls by, lazy whirring, spiral staircases of sound. Outside, I spill a moat for you, concertos of water pour from green coiled garden hose and I pray you like to swim; in case, I compose bridges of colored glass. And from the grass I weave a ship, tie the sails of song to the masts of moments, pull anchor and gaze starboard. Ready for our symphony to begin, ready to sing you home across the gold ocean. Cellos and basses pluck and hum your praise I sketch your outline with my eyes on the clouds, in the water, floating down by the sandbar.

Poetry
20

(Anything but) Flatware
Studying the world behind my back in the reflection of my dinner spoon. My eye bends around the focal point of this utensil, silver workhorse. I witness waiters balancing their way upside-down and backwards through stainless concavity. I look beyond the spoon and you are sitting staring at your hands folded neatly in your lap.

The Collegian

April 2006

Poetry
Will Grofic
21

The Amish In Me
A house put up last week by the Amish the size of an elongated trailer, still a house, pure roof angled to protection and sheltered shelf, strict outer skin laid down between the fiber glass, and nothing has happened to it since then: the stoop or porch not built, the door hangs suspended a few feet above the ground. A part of me is Amish never knowing the fundamentals of computers or the proficiency of finding out the weather forecast. The binary code can be taught with a hammer, a nail, and a board. Magnify these hammers and nails and boards and have a computer.

Sensory Attenuation
I. A vatic mask for the man that rips off flaps from silhouetted mattress tags from an avatar of a city behind. Your metropolis set aside a comfortable wording in symbolists’ rasps a guy on a train aligned like tickling ourselves. We are prescient beings, being from the Southside of the galaxy and closest to the closet of unseen down the stairs to the left of men that make fountains in mason jars of Mimosas to dream the dream like tickling yourself. The float of virelay on proleptic fingers. Our own. Period swift into the fitted seam, who wasn’t that serious: the senses pulsed an adaptation of august augur in restoration, the starting beam of our light being querulous like tickling myself.

II. The face mask, what was it all worth when leaving the avatar of cityI saw a guy on the train, first train ever I took out of New York, dusk lighting, he wears a shitty face mask that I could explain: Like tickling the same. I wore that thing for fiber glass in an attic, it said it didn’t protect, the fiber glass we moved in 100 degree heat for a friend’s sister newly married, now divorced, what was it all worth? III. Was it worth the poem to fit into lines? Was it worth the lines to mean something besides the repetition? The vague rhythm? The ticklish sense of another thing: IV. A thing not my own, a thing so undetermined it’s actually quite worth the work.

Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

From the Spring Break Travelogue of Kevin McGarry

Spring Break Snippets
Edited by Johanna Schaeffer Poster: You are currently logged in as MaryElizabeth. Date: March 23 2006 5:52 Subject: Spring Break
I haven’t updated in a while...I guess I should mention the break at least a little. All week of break, I stayed in the oh-so-rowdy Chestertown, and worked all day every day for my boss (doing everything from invoices to laundry for her (laundry, are you serious?), while my car stayed in the shop. This prevented me from leaving the tremendously exciting Kent County- I mean, why would I ever want to leave? At the end of the week, at least, I made enough money to pay the mechanic for the car from when I hit that deer, and my electric bill. I think that the wildest thing that might have happened to me was, when I finally did venture outside the bubble that is Chestertown to go to the Smithsonian in D.C., I ran into my friend Caroline from Louisiana whom I haven’t seen since I was in 9th grade. She looked good; I got her lj name so we’ll be in touch. Quote of the Moment: “patronization: the new roses” ~ Mary Elizabeth

Isaac Schendel Professor Mooney Creative Writing Assignment: Spring Break 3/25/06 What I Did During My Spring Break

AIM conversation with Eric Blumenthal
RandmFrend: So how was your break? Bloomenthal: It was crazy Bloomenthal: Me and some friends went down to the Dominican Republic RandmFrend: That must have been fun Bloomenthal: Yeah it was crazy Bloomenthal: On the first night my boy Drew Hill entered a couples contest and ended up having to get on stage and switch clothes with a complete stranger RandmFrend: lol Bloomenthal: he came out from the back in a skirt and a nice little tanktop RandmFriend: I bet he filled everything out very well Bloomenthal: bahahahah

During my spring break I fended off 1,000 Viking invaders. However, it was all in vain, for by Sunday I had to withdraw from camp to get to school the next day. Without my leadership, the resistance failed and all my comrades were viciously slaughtered. Next year, I humbly suggest that for the survival of the nation, the spring break be lengthened to include Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

To: ant_patty@aol.com Subject: JAMACIA IS GREAT!!!
Dear Aunt Patty That resort you recommended is fantastic! Jamaica is great! The resort is a sponsor for Sesame Street so there was a character parade and everything, and the kids loved it, and I even got to see Grover! He’s my favorite! I totally got sunburned during the parade, but it was worth it! Love, Mary Lide

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” Everyone has heard or used this phrase at some point in time. I, however, have seen it become the concise version of my life story. So I should have known that when I set out looking for a Spring Break trip that this luck would follow me. But I took a risk and figured I might have finally dodged the bullet with this spring break trip, one I embarked on with my best friend of twelve years. I had to at least try to be optimistic. Anyway, I was more than ready for a break after a horrendous first half of the semester. On the Thursday night before we left, after just receiving the worst mid-term grade of my schooling career, I remember thinking, “This is gonna be one hell of a trip.” Looking back now, I realize that was just the half-a-case of Bud Light talking. My best friend Tim and I set out Sunday morning for six days of all-inclusive debauchery in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The next day things looked better. I felt fine, and spent the day at the swim-up bar, which made me feel even better. All was finally set up for a night out. So naturally, I started things off at the casino since it was roughly 30 feet from my front door. Two hours, a few drinks, and $300 later I decided to call it an evening and headed off to the club. Once inside my buddy and I almost immediately met two girls. We started dancing, drinking, and doing more flaming Sambuca shots than I care to remember- so many in fact that Tim forgot to blow one out and almost lit his face on fire. I was fairly confident that I had escaped bad luck for the evening, but I was wrong. As I was sitting there talking to the young lady I was about to leave the club with, I saw an arm come flying in between us. I wheeled around, figuring I would have to tell some Canadian punk to buzz off, but instead was greeted by the not-so-smiling face of the young lady’s father. Needless to say, I was out of there faster than that last shot of Sambuca decided to leave my system the same way it entered. Tuesday was a pretty boring day, drinking and losing more money in the casino but not much else. But Wednesday would atone for all of Tuesday’s failings. Wednesday was drinking day at the resort, with drinking activities all day at the pool and Tequila Night in the club. First up was the beerchugging competition, and who was I up against but the British man named Hoss who was at the lobby bar drinking glass after glass of Dewar’s Scotch at 10:30 that morning. Needless to say, I got my pride handed to me. I then decided to volunteer as the male “participant” in the sexiest girl contest. I figured this would mean judging, but instead I wound up getting lap dances from four middle-aged French-Canadian women and a 15-year-old British girl. To top it off, I then had to shed whatever shred of dignity I had left by dancing for the girls. At least according to the crowd I was the best of anyone up there.

22

The Collegian

April 2006

As told by Mike Schaffer at lunch
It was nearly time for the drag show to start! My worst kept secret is that I have a drag queen fetish. It’s nothing sexual, but is merely for pure entertainment purposes. Drag queens are the funniest, most eclectic people you could ever meet. Having encountered several in my escapades throughout the District of Columbia I was well acquainted with proper drag queen etiquette. There was one simple rule: don’t fuck with them.

away several homes and killing 8 people. What had I done?! What to do? WHAT TO DO? I didn’t panic. I was caught in a pickle. I felt like I had just walked into a bathroom with four urinals and one man on each end of the row. I had to make the discomfited decision as to which man I wanted to stand next to and allow them to think I was checking out their junk. Either way, one false look and I could be dead meat. At this moment I immediately regretted not tipping the bathroom attendant. It was because of people like him that people like me were protected from getting swirlies at fancy restaurants. I knew I was about to get the worst kind of swirlie: a big gay swirlie most likely performed by a ninja. The answer to my current drag queen crisis rested with the direction of my gaze. I just looked back at her square in the eye. Not with a smug look like “Yeah, I said it.” But with one that said “No, you didn’t catch me saying something I wasn’t supposed to. I wouldn’t do such a thing, look how cute I am.”

Next month...
(...maybe)

What To Do If You Suddenly Find Yourself Surrounded By Naked People Senior Obligations? I’d Rather Be Drunk! Grad Schools: Grow Up Puzzling Endgame Swank Summer Jobs: Janitor, Anyone? Snakes On A Plane

AIM conversation with Becky Streaker
After about the fifth or sixth (or seventh or eighth) individual performance and an equal number of beers it started getting really crowded. Like the dining hall when they used to have good food. Okay, bad analogy, they’ve never had good food. Maybe this one is better: it was somewhere between the dining hall on chicken fingers day and a Less than Jake concert mosh pit. It was pretty intense. Somehow, the Hawaiian drag queens not in the contest must have found out I was there and knew about my love and admiration for their kind. They started filing in and standing directly in front of me and my adopted mother. Each one of them was about six feet tall, which made them seven feet tall with their heels. Each one of them was also very pretty. I actually thought one was Beyonce Knowles and wanted to tell her how hot she looked, but I wasn’t ready for that jelly. Now there were about five of them, standing shoulder to shoulder. Hey, I’m all about the freedom to assemble guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, but this was getting ridiculous. I’d had enough. I open my mouth in the typical Mike Shaffer fashion: for awkward attention. “How did we end up with all of the 7-feet tall drag queens in front of us?! I mean seriously!” This got a laugh, especially from mom. I knew she understood. I also knew my record for moms loving me was still unbroken. Finally, the attention I’d been lacking all night! Why stop here? “You know, even if they got down on their knees we still wouldn’t be able to see! They’re just so tall,” I said slightly louder. Uh oh. It happened. One of them had heard me say “Down on your knees,” and thought I was being hateful! I had violated the rule. She turned around and gave me a look that could have killed a school full of children. It was at that moment, I think, that a dam broke on the Island of Kauai sweeping WCgirl37: So how was your break? Streaker09: It was awesome WCgirl37: What happened? Streaker09: Motion City Soundtrack rocked the Electric Factory Streaker09: MW and C, The Matches, and The Format did too. They opened. WCgirl37: That must have been fun Streaker09: omg. Picture this: South Street Philadelphia. It’s 34 degrees outside. Windy as hell. Sun going down. An hour and a half of sweat, pushing and shoving, screaming, singing, jumping, laughing, cheering, applesauce… WCgirl37: A night of gerunds! But applesauce? Streaker09: Long story. WCgirl37: Ok. Who was the encore? Streaker09: The Future Freaks Me Out. Then there was a trip on the way home to Condom Kingdom and Philadelphia Joe’s Pizza…and an hour drive home

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Not Impressed? Then WRITE FOR US! The Collegian Monthly Interest Meeting Thursday, April 6th 7:30 PM Reid Basement

Vol. 17, Issue 5

The Collegian

23

T

he black pick-up truck pulls over to the shoulder of 291 heading west and I quickly lower my thumb, rushing to join it. I have covered four miles at the slow pace of an hour and a half thus far, and I’ll be damned if I won’t accept help with the last eight. Besides, this is the whole purpose of my journey anyway, I think, motivating myself as I open the passenger door and swing myself into the seat. “What’sup man?” Those friendly words draw my attention to the driver, a smaller-sized black male in his early thirties playing the part of my knight in shining armor. I tell him I’m headed towards Washington College and he retorts, “Oh, I’m going that way.” My gaze pulls away from the unshaven man swallowed up in his too-large gray jumpsuit down to the twenty-four ounce Keystone Ice in the cup holder. The car pulls away and I survey the scene as I push the red button on the recorder in my pocket. I hadn’t known what to expect, and for the last four miles had hesitantly thrust out my right thumb, walking backwards, wondering what would happen if no one picked me up – or worse, if someone actually did. Knowing I’m not the type of person to pick up a hitchhiker, I worried who would. Is CSI: Chestertown going to hear my last living conversation on my recorder or will this guy think to check my pockets before he dumps my body? Say something. “Thank you, I’ve been walking for a while.” “I do a little good Samaritan for you. I’m just getting off work, the name’s Buck.” And I introduce myself, and feeling foolishly vulnerable I admit that this is my first time hitchhiking. What I don’t tell him is that I’m carrying a recorder, digital camera, cell phone, journal, pen, and I had my friend drop me off twelve miles away from campus. “Well there’s a first time for everything,” says Buck, and I find myself surprisingly comfortable with this stranger, despite the obvious danger I have entered. Explaining how I found myself in the passenger seat I relate this lie I crafted a week before about my friend dropping me off at the intersection with 301 because he was late for an appointment in Annapolis and couldn’t take the half hour detour to drop me off at the school. This seems to suit him and he tells me how “I walked this once before cause my truck broke down on me once. Even a couple people that I knew drove past me, but they didn’t know me by me walking. I got with them when I saw them, ‘Remember that guy walking? Yeah that was me’ I broke it down to them.” Despite having only hitchhiked for one short hour of my life, I knew the feeling. I had stared into the speeding eyes of dozens of passing motorists with an extra seat. The last words in my moleskin read, “Has the media successfully convinced people that being selfish is the only way to be safe?” As cars of every type zoomed by, I saw the

hypocrisy in many that declare support for troops overseas, yet wouldn’t pick up someone else lost on their way to college. What happened to the proud highway Jack Kerouac rode for seven years and his dream that with a pack of twelve sandwiches he could travel cross-country relying on his fellow man? All I knew was that if I were going to write a travel article for class, reading On The Road wasn’t going to be enough. I had to live it, if just for one afternoon. Four years ago, the only way I connected with literature was by laying my head across its hard covers in bleached white interrogation rooms called AP English classes. Coming to college was what everyone did after high school, and it was by chance that I ended up here. Sophie Kerr and her treasure chest were as foreign to me as the equations in my “Physics for Poets” class; a class I took not because I was a poet, but because I was certainly not a physicist. English classes were simply part of the distribution requirements I took because I didn’t have a major. When forced to decide, I’m glad that’s what I felt most confident in learning. Walking into my advisor’s office to pick classes, I left signed up to hike mountains in Europe as well. And that’s what opened my passion for literature – actually interacting with the words, taking them off the page, and seeing them in reality. At the top of the mountain in northern England where William Wordsworth wrote his poetry, behind his cottage and garden, I saw and understood why there would never be enough words to capture the breathtaking view. Enjoying a Guinness in a pub in southeast Ireland, I realized it made sense for Seamus Heaney’s poems to be short enough for the Irish people to recite by memory; they conveyed a feeling that would be lost in more words. As if being intoxicated during important professional college functions wouldn’t impart enough of the paranoia that fueled Hunter S. Thompson, I traveled to his hometown of Woody Creek, Colorado to drive where he drove, drink where he drank, see what he saw, and write where he wrote–all in time to witness his ashes explode out the top of a 153 foot Gonzo-fist cannon on his property. As if hitchhiking eight miles for a college paper wasn’t extreme enough. And I’ve listened to contemporary authors as well: write journals like Augusten Burroughs, carry a recorder like Tucker Max, “masturbate” like Sam Lipsyte recommended in my Living Writers class, and listen to people like Chuck Palanuik. At a time when any idiot with a computer can get drunk and blog, it’s far more important to write well. But if you haven’t lived through anything interesting to write about, then try to remember why you’re writing. I suppose that has been and always will be the question writers try to answer. Hopefully, they never will.

How vain it is to sit down to write if you have not stood up to live. - Henry David Thoreau

Endgame
Peter W. Knox

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