Being That Kind of Girl*

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I’ve long had, like many people, a complicated relationship with Lena Dunham: I love Girls, but whether or not I like its creator is another story. She writes an engaging show, yes, but my inclination as to whether I consider Dunham a once-in-a-generation genius or a self-congratulatory lout changes by the day.

Of course, my own personal opinion of Lena Dunham as a human being does not really matter, and, of course, the fact that I started out this review with the letter “I” is a good indicator that I am precisely the kind of girl for whom her new book Not That Kind of Girl is intended.

I am selfish— perhaps egregiously so, perhaps simply as a consequence of the generation I was born into. Dunham, who has been equally heralded and eviscerated as the mouthpiece for our generation (or, “a generation”) encapsulates this millennial selfishness in Not That Kind of Girl extraordinarily, unapologetically well. Because of this, the book is both engrossing and unsettling to read.

It is no secret that Dunham has made her trade on this uncomfortable relatability. Her squeamishly personal narratives invite self-comparison, not so much for her actions, but rather for the specific, resonating feelings that Dunham pinpoints. Because she can identify these emotions so well, Dunham, faces a lot of criticism (for being too fat, too liberal, too naked— take your pick) when she strays from whatever standards her audience holds her to.

Not That Kind of Girl does not attempt outright to resolve this criticism. Dunham continues her usual openness in the physical sense (if you like reading about peculiar places condoms can get stuck, this is the book for you), and also bares much of seems to be Dunham’s major flaw: over self-indulgence.

This is seen most clearly in one essay, “Little Leather Gloves (The Joy of Wasting Time),” which recounts a time working at an upscale children’s clothing shop called Peach & Babke in between graduating Oberlin and finding herself.

In this essay, Dunham seems to check every box for being an insufferable millennial—she is an incompetent, unsympathetic employee, regarding the job only as a pit stop to becoming famous. She arrives late, overcharges customers, leaves early to go to therapy. She quits when her boss chastises her for a costly, avoidable mistake.

And yet. The impetus for her time at Peach & Babke is one that will seem unnervingly familiar: “College was a wonderful gig, thousands of hours to tend yourself like a garden. But now I was back to zero. No grades. No semesters. No CliffsNotes in case of emergency. I was lost.”

Being cut loose from the in loco parentis of college, with or without a job, is enough to make anyone feel lost. Does Dunham’s willingness to own up to this make her more or less self-centered? We are all selfish, after all, but not many of us are too willing to discuss it in full by writing in a book about it, when we have already been excoriated often on a variety of different mediums. It raises the question of whether we get angry with Dunham because she describes her own particular selfishness, or a broader one many people feel.

Though it can be a bit confusing at times as to what the “point” of the book is, if there needs to be one, Not That Kind of Girl is worth a read for these moments of recognition. It is divided into five sections – love and sex, the body, friendship, work and the “big picture,” each one containing essays, lists and illustrations that more or less relate to these overarching topics.

For what it is worth, the book is also quite physically beautiful, with ink illustrations that dot each page, providing the pleasant, long-lost sensation of reading a (highly explicit) Beverly Cleary book.

In the end, it proves that you can enjoy art without necessarily enjoying the artist. You probably won’t like Lena Dunham much more after finishing her book and, for that, you will definitely like Not That Kind of Girl.

 

* I wrote this review before all the hoopla of Lena Dunham  allegedly molesting her sister arose (which now, in true internet fashion, seems to have run its course over a matter of days).

I am not quite sure how to approach it– nothing in the now-infamous passage (in which Dunham describes “spread[ing] open” her sister’s vagina because it was “something [she] would do”) stood out to me as something particularly problematic. It was weird, certainly, but mostly just on par with the actions of the very, very strange kid that Dunham had described herself as being. And, of course, everyone did strange things when they were kids but would rather not discuss them, which supports my assertion that Dunham attracts ire because she is open with her vices that reflect many of our own.

However, discounting any potential abuse as nothing more than a childlike transgression just because I, personally, did not see anything wrong with it also has its flaws, which is why it is important that this discussion continues. 

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Being That Kind of Girl*

Spooky, scary

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When I was in the 6th grade, I had a special morning routine. I rose at 6:45 to the shrill buzz of a 1975 alarm clock purchased from an estate sale when my aging neighbor had died, dressed in my favorite school outfit of high-waist, light-wash jeans and a sweatshirt advertising a resort in Belize but was actually from Pennywise, and arranged my hair into a fetching middle-parted low ponytail (normcore before it was normcore!). Then, I’d sit down, pour myself a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and read the Washington Post Style section in full, starting from the back page and moving to the front.

Clearly, it was rubbing off on me.

Any part of this regimen can probably be used to explain why, for that Halloween of 2004, I chose to dress as a carbohydrate. I had long been developing a taste for things that delighted myself and, at best, confused and alienated others— 2004 was an election year, so had I waded into the actual news section of the Post at any point, I likely would have chosen to be something similarly obtuse, like the Foot in John Kerry’s Mouth or the War on Terror.

As it was, all I knew from my daily, exclusive perusal of the Style section that low-carb, protein-heavy diets like South Beach and Atkins were the trendy methods of attaining trimness. From that, I deduced that to the health-conscious residents of my Northern Virginia suburb, there would be nothing more terrifying than a rogue carbohydrate traipsing around their neighborhood in the night, and I planned to use the horror I would surely inflict to abscond with as much candy as I could.

Whether this plot was the zenith or nadir of my career as a human being remains to be seen. Regardless, it is common knowledge that a female tween with a unibrow has to get creative if she is ever to get anything that she wants, and so I decided to go full-force.

Choosing this costume was easy, but executing it was another matter. I felt that dressing as a loaf of bread or a human-sized potato would be far too on the nose, and that both would require hefty amounts of wiring, papier-mâché and time. My days were already full with learning vocabulary words for the SAT, which was a mere six years away, and sprawling on the leopard-print bean bag in my closet and imagining that I was Jane Eyre (a character who resonated with me both because of her plainness and similar inclination to middle parts), and thus, I simply could not devote any energy towards a new task.

Besides, I had seen To Kill a Mockingbird and knew what might happen if I dressed in a motion-restricting, food-based costume. Suppose I was knocked to the ground by an errant, revenge-bent racist and, entrapped in my plaster baguette, was unable to escape, just as Scout Finch had been in her Alabama Ham? It was unlikely that my father had incensed any possible local members of the Ku Klux Klan to the point that they might try to murder me or my siblings, but the idea of relying on a friendly neighborhood lunatic to save me if such an event did occur was not appealing.

Instead, I went for a minimalist approach— “all black everything,” as Lupe Fiasco would later opine, so that my subjects could project their own personal fears onto my murky visage. I had a black skirt, top, and, to complete the look, a long, flowing cape. On my front, I attached a sign, with what I deemed a “spooky” font:

I
Am a carb.
Fear me.

In what was a surprise only to myself, nobody really “got” what I was trying to do. Photographic evidence prior to the event shows the chasm between what might have been recognizable and relatable on Halloween, and what was not: my sister is an adorable witch. My brother, a tiny skeleton. I am, unintelligibly, a young carbohydrate, blissfully content to wander the streets striking fear into the hearts of some and comprehension into the minds of none.

Spooky, scary

Taking a Stand

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I was eating breakfast at my kitchen table when I received a Facebook message. It was from my roommate, who was perhaps ten feet away from me at the time, with a link to a Time article called, “Sitting is Killing You.”
“I think this speaks to you,” she wrote.
I responded, simply, “Yes.” (Still ten feet away. Ah, modern times!) Because it’s true: if you are happen to spend a lot of your time on your behind, like me, and also enjoy neurotically researching the myriad ways you are secretly depleting your own life force, as I also enjoy doing, you’ll know that if you sit a lot, you might as well be smoking crystal meth and eating cigarettes for breakfast. It’s that bad for you.
I recommend researching this matter through the Time piece, which has a helpful, neon-hued animation of a woman sitting around as a scythe-bearing Grim Reaper playfully creeps up behind her in various locations to demonstrate how, exactly, sitting is killing her. The metaphor is a tad heavy-handed, but as it turns out, barely even hyperbolic. According to a review of studies that were published this summer, increased time spent sitting can lead to higher levels of colon, endometrial and lung cancers, and also escalates rates of diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain. All of these factors mean that those who spend 11 hours a day sitting are 40% more likely to die in the next three years.

Are you standing up yet?
The good news about all this is that you can now justify saying that your classes are “literally killing you.” The bad news is that you can’t just jump on a treadmill afterwards to negate the fact that you are surely becoming prediabetic, obese and on the brink of a major heart attack. These studies also show that the benefits from exercise can actually be erased from prolonged sitting, instead of the other way around. Basically, if you want to see the full effects of your Crossfit class, you’re going to have to get up.
But how is one to do this in our sitting-centric culture? I decided to find out. All I had to do was not sit down for a few days.
This experiment is not a new concept- for instance, Dan Kois at New York Magazine skipped sitting for a full month. Seeing as I have neither a death wish nor the attention span to embark on such a task, I decided against that amount of time, but I wanted to see what it’s like as a non-sitter on the Wake Forest campus. I arbitrarily chose four days, Wednesday through Saturday, to sit as little as possible.
First, the rules: I have to sit in class, because there are no standing desks in Tribble and I am not yet chummy enough with any of my professors to request that I lurk, upright, like a resentful bat in the corner of their classroom as we discuss Richard II. However, I can only sit during the exact hours of the class- if I arrive early, I have to stand around until class actually begins.
Obviously, the first order of business is to create a standing desk for myself. This is simple enough, as all I have to do is put a throw pillow under my laptop and place it on my bed. I also fashion a suitable surface to eat from by placing my meals on a Keurig box on the kitchen counter, thusly transforming my North Campus hovel into a stander’s paradise.
Doing homework at my “desk” is…not bad. I feel a bit distracted, like I’m half-doing something, but also far less inclined to fall asleep as I read about Revolutionary War printing presses than I normally would. This is due in part, I suspect, to the stabbing pains that develop in my heels and calves thirty minutes in, but no matter. I am able to complete all of my assignments without keeling over and dying.
Eating while standing up, however, might be the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. My Keurig-table is woefully insufficient for my eating needs. My elbows have nowhere to go and feebly flap around, their ultimate goal, seemingly, to knock all of my food onto the ground. One day some friends, who are not respecting my journey, come over while I am eating dinner to watch me spill a lot of food on myself. This is a low point.
Another low point is when I accidentally arrive fifteen minutes early to class (invigorated, clearly, by the health benefits of being on my feet all day). My professor is the only other person in the room. I hover uselessly by my desk. Neither of us says anything and I eventually leave the classroom to go pace around until class begins. It is, truly, very awkward.
Despite these inconveniences, though, standing for four days was surprisingly positive. I found that I stayed more energized when I did homework, and also slept much better at night. But, obviously, quitting sitting is difficult, not to mention alienating (“Sorry. Can’t eat dinner with you because I don’t sit.”) and extreme.

Want to find some balance? Here are two parting tips:
1. Create your own standing desk- do like I did and do your work on any old elevated surface! Even if you don’t use it all the time, it’s more than beneficial to try every now and then. Just be sure to wear supportive footwear.
2. Get up at least once an hour while studying. Even if you’re in the library, you can go to the bathroom, refill your water bottle, do some yoga in the stacks- whatever. I don’t know your life. Set a timer or get an app like BreakTime to remind yourself to, you know, take a break.

If you were wondering, I’m sitting now, comfortably, though I have a timer set to go off in 23 minutes to remind myself to “ward off death.”

I’m so excited to do so, I can barely stand it.

Taking a Stand

Unpopularity Contest

There’s something decidedly unsavory about things once they get very popular. Remember the summer of 2013? That was a strange time for humanity, overall, mostly because of two things that everyone decided to collectively obsess over: cronuts (the croissant-donut hybrid that caused mass hysteria in New York City) and “Blurred Lines.”

Both were insanely popular- The Huffington Post dubbed summer 2013 the “summer of the cronut” and “Blurred Lines” demolished all chart competitors to become the song of summer.

But they had short shelf lives (literally, in the case of cronuts). After Labor Day, foodies abandoned the cronut for a new fad food (ramen, of all things), and “Blurred Lines” turned out to be a date rape anthem.

All of this is to say: just because something is popular does not mean that something is good.

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Trendy food, dead eyes.

It’s no different for television- take, for instance, the most popular comedy on TV right now: The Big Bang Theory. According to Vulture, 84.2 million people watched at least part of The Big Bang Theory last year, which, for context, makes it the most-watched sitcom since Friends ended back in 2004.

However, does popularity make The Big Bang Theory a good show? No. Full disclosure, I have never actually made it through a full episode— once, I was forced to watch part of one on an airplane, and my visceral reaction was so intensely terrible that I actually vomited. I was told later that food poisoning was the actual culprit, but I don’t buy it. Now, whenever I hear the phrase “bazinga” followed by canned laughter, I feel ill.

You, too, are better than puking on an airplane. You are better than a laugh track, you are better than “bazinga,” and you are certainly better than The Big Bang Theory. Here are some shows that might not pull in Friends-style ratings, but are certainly less nauseating to consume than cronuts, “Blurred Lines” and The Big Bang Theory.

Top of the Lake

In Laketop, a small New Zealand town, a girl tries to kill herself. She’s twelve years old and five months pregnant. Shortly after being hospitalized, she disappears and a former resident of the town, now a big-time detective in Australia, is called in to solve the case. As one might expect, this is no ordinary case, and things in Laketop are much more sinister than they appear. Top of the Lake aired on the Sundance channel in 2013 and, despite starring Elisabeth Moss in what is possibly her best role to date (Peggy Olson be damned), nearly no one watched it. Luckily, it’s available to stream on Netflix, and, at only six episodes, totally doable on a weekend. Creepy, startling and unsettling from start to finish, Top of the Lake will stay with you for a while.

Watch if you like: The Killing, Sherlock, Girl Power

 

Bates Motel

Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore star as a mother and son who open a motel together for a fresh start after the family’s father tragically passes. It’s too bad that the circumstances of the father’s death are, um, questionable, the son consistently has blackouts in which he conveniently can’t remember anything, and the mother has a particularly domineering, forceful stance for both parenting and dealing with unwanted guests. But what do you expect when your last name is Bates?

Bates Motel is a modern prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Psycho, about Norman and Norma’s relationship before any awkward shower stabbing incidents ruined Bates Motel’s Yelp ratings. It’s kind of upsetting if you had a crush on Freddie Highmore circa his August Rush days, but otherwise highly engaging.

 Bates Motel is on Netflix and A&E.

Watch if you like: Anything Hitchcock, American Horror Story, Oedipal Problems

Broad City

Broad City is the story of two broke best friends trying to have it all- or at least kind of subsist- in New York City. It’s not wrong to assume that this sounds a lot like a certain HBO show that starts with “G” and ends with “irls.” However, unlike Girls, Broad City won’t make you want to shower stab any of the main characters, mostly because Broad City has no Marnie and none of Girls’ self-assumed importance. The first episode alone has everything: bucket drums, a Craigslist posting with the phrase “two Jewesses trying to make a buck” and Fred Armisen in an adult diaper. If that isn’t enough to entice you, just go ahead and watch The Big Bang Theory. You two deserve each other.

Broad City is available to stream on comedycentral.com.

Watch if you like: Girls, Workaholics, Extended Adolescence

Submissions Only

Submissions Only is a webseries that chronicles the ups and downs of not-quite-struggling but not-quite-making-it actors in New York City. It features heavyweight Broadway cameos like Kristen Chenoweth, Audra MacDonald and Bobby Cannavale (Nick Jonas is also in an episode, if you’re into that kind of thing). Even if you’re not a Broadway buff, Submissions Only is worth a try. Its writing is incisively clever on a 30 Rock level and the relationships portrayed on it are relatable on par with shows like How I Met Your Mother and New Girl.

Submissions Only is available to stream on submissionsonly.com.

Watch if you like: Smash, 30 Rock, Adult Friendship

Unpopularity Contest

Motel the Tailor can Suck It

I was nine when it was decided that I was to have an arranged marriage.

I made this decision for myself, of course. It all became clear to me when I was strapped in the backseat of my grandmother’s Camry as we made our annual three-hour pilgrimage to a Suzuki violin camp in the Shenandoah Valley. During the journey, the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack played on a constant loop, and, somewhere around the third or fourth time “Tradition” played, I found myself nodding sternly in agreement, like a stern bubbe, with Tevye’s lusty calls for an increase in both traditional Orthodox Jewish values and house capacity. Life in 1905 Ukraine under imperial Russian rule seemed fabulous, as far as I was concerned, as long as there was a matchmaker around to marry me off.

The dream.

The fact that I had zero interest in boys at this point in my young life was not only irrelevant, but in fact entirely vital to my scheme and only served to exacerbate my desire to be engaged, hopefully, by the time I turned ten. I had already realized, thanks to a friend in my fourth-grade class who was both highly persuasive and apparently also a junior Woman Against Feminism, that a girl needed to have a husband by the age of 16 in order to prove her worth. Being betrothed would allow me to focus on activities that would surely help develop my character more fully, such as becoming a witch or taping beheaded Barbies to my ceiling fan in order to watch them swoop off and, if I was lucky, potentially fly straight through my window and plummet into my next-door neighbor’s pool.

In any case, I was more than ready to be a child bride. I had no worries about being in demand- what with my sprightly, youthful unibrow and overgrown feet, I was certain to be the catch of the shtetl.

I was willing to be flexible with the exact terms of my arrangement, of course. I didn’t have to live in Anatevka. Being a child of “mixed” heritage, I had worked out the way that my engagement would proceed based on either side of my family: my mother’s bookish Jewish one, entirely comprised of hirsute Eastern European immigrants (which involved the whole “Fiddler Treatment:” matchmaker, dowry, over-involved neighbors) or my father’s WASPy, straight-off-the-Mayflower side.  I was sure that this would be a secret, clandestine affair- no matchmaker here, just a simple, age-old agreement between families that had been communicated only through cleared throats and sidelong glances.

When I returned from camp, I pitched this plan to my parents, who both blinked at me, non-plussed, and told me not to be “ridiculous.” I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised: once, I had suggested that my parents get a divorce for the very reasonable purpose of providing me with two houses, two Christmases and two Hanukkahs. That had gotten shut down, too, so it was clear that I was being raised by a pair of dunces.

I am no longer in the market for a matchmaker (arranged marriages are not as carefree as I assumed back in 2003, actually). I must admit, however, that there are times when I still long for Yente the Matchmaker, such as on days when I find myself aimlessly “nope”-ing 30 people in a row on Tinder. But, what can I say? I once had a dream, and not all dreams are meant to be.

Not even for the cutest little child bride in the shtetl.

Motel the Tailor can Suck It

I Stopped Eating Gluten So You Don’t Have To

Recently, I accidentally become a Gwyneth Paltrow apologist.

Obviously, I didn’t mean for it to happen. But, about four months ago, innocently enough, I signed up for the goop.com newsletter on a whim.  My initial attraction was, bizarrely, that Gwyneth Paltrow’s way of life (excuse me, “lifestyle”) made me feel better about my own.

That sentence is a paradox, and, in all likelihood, has never been uttered before. But let me explain:

The thing is that my life is fairly easy. I’m not, you know, a Rich Kid of Instagram or anything, but I am highly aware of the relative meaninglessness of my own, very tiny,  #millennialproblems. That is, I know that the fears or worries or whatever that I have feel incredibly real to me — like grades, generational angst, finding a job that also lets me find myself, etc.– but they have no impact on anyone else, especially when considered in the light of basically everything else that’s happening in the world today. I’ve never been a proponent of a “eat-your-vegetables-there-are-starving-kids-in-Africa” approach as a barometer for suffering, but when your main duties end up only relating specifically to yourself, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to help the over-pampered, privilege-bloated individual that you are, comparatively.

Thus, a subscription to the goop.com newsletter became a means of assuaging my self-doubt no matter how minuscule my current crises at the time happened to be. Every Thursday, when it was sent out, I would remember anew that Gwyneth has worries that actually matter less than mine– like the quandary of selecting an osteopath, and “mommy wars” over the very specific difficulty of being the subject of resentment from other mothers due to being too wealthy, all presented in a concise, aesthetically pleasing bulletin.

After reading, sufficiently soothed and with some perspective (or lack thereof), I would turn to my own issues, which somehow now seemed much more relevant.

Me and some gluten.
In my youth, with the enemy.

I am easily influenced

But then, like a true Cady Heron, somewhere along the way, I stopped being an aloof onlooker and turned into an actively devout participant.  I should have realized that I was in too deep when I engaged a professor in a heated debate over the validity of “conscious uncoupling,” or when I force-fed my sixteen-year-old brother an unfortunate goop concoction called “Warm Walnut Pâté.”

But I had become like Gwyneth, in that I was exceedingly non-self-aware. So I stopped eating gluten, for some time, for literally no reason whatsoever.

It was a dark time.  This act effectively rendered me the full caricature of myself that had been several years in the making, having always been a fairly kitschy Whole Foods-er with a Prius. Perhaps this is why my first few gluten-free days were suspiciously easy, enhanced by bizarre mix of adrenaline and a fabricated sense of superiority. I flitted about my days in a smug, jicama root-induced haze. This is so easy, I would think to myself, scoffing at those who deign to eat wheat. My friends, who are not as gullible as I am and all eat gluten, obviously loved this.

The "food" I served my loved ones.
The “food” I served my loved ones.

One day at work, a cake appeared in the break room. In this moment, I proudly announce to anyone that will listen that I have given up gluten for the time being— nobody cares, obviously, but I pretend that they do. (Later, I sneak back in and eat some icing).

The rest of my memories of these first few days are fuzzy– I do remember yelling at my dad for accidentally mixing some pasta in with my quinoa. But still, these are happy, hazy, halcyon days.

 

You’re tearing me apart, Gwyneth

After about a week, I begin to lose faith. I opened my freezer one day to find four Trader Joe’s Frozen Spinach Pizzas, which happens to be my very favorite food in the world. I resist it, but only just (“What would Gwyneth do?” I ask myself, which is concerning). I can’t tell if what I am experiencing is a fledgling eating disorder or evangelicalism, but it is probably something in between.

At my younger sister’s graduation dinner, a beautiful dark chocolate mousse cake is served. I can’t eat it and I am, obviously, morose until I devise an ingenious method of extracting the dark chocolate mousse by gently sliding a spoon betwixt the layers of glutinous cake until I have a generous serving on my plate. This is not what Gwyneth would do, most likely, but I am sated. However, my family is appalled (the rest of the cake is now collapsing on itself). I can’t help but wonder if this is causing a rift within my family.

Then, after exactly thirty-six days, I eat some gluten- half of an M&M cookie, at a work barbecue, on impulse. Just as I entered my gluten “cleanse,” I am suddenly out of it: suddenly, for no apparent reason, and with no great effect.

Nothing happens, save for the tremors I feel from a placebo effect crashing down—I do not pass out, nor do I violently puke, and my colon does not explode. My stomach hurts, though. A little bit. I think.

The End

I can’t say that I’m angry, though— once a Gwyneth apologist, always a Gwyneth apologist, as they say.  I remain steadfast in my fascination with ol’ Goop and her blithe, out-of-touch lifestyle advice, which helped me lose five completely imperceptible, unimpressive pounds over the course of thirty-six days. I will also forever cherish this roasted carrot soup recipe, and I still think that “conscious uncoupling” is secretly a rather brilliant concept. Finally, I am nothing if not a fan of a good hyperbole—I admire the hysterical melodrama of saying you would “rather die” than let your kid eat cup-a-soup, or that you would prefer to “smoke crack” rather than eat cheese from a can. So- I like Gwyneth, and you can pry my goop subscription out of my cold, dead, gluten-free hands.

Giving up gluten, though, is something I only advise if:

A)     You seriously need to “get a grip” on your life,

Or

B)       Alienating yourself from your friends and family sounds like a fun activity.

 

And that’s about all there is to that.

I Stopped Eating Gluten So You Don’t Have To

Some Things My Professor Said This Semester:

“Thinking is wandering business”

“We all have a little Nazi in our hearts”

“Oedipussy”

“There’s a lot of junk out there that ya can’t cure”

“The Europeans used to have style but now they’re wearing that day-glow orange running sneakers shit”

“Shadow, my cat, was a shelter cat. That cat was a pooper. Two days before her death, I caught her trying to cross the barrier I had constructed for her. My wife and I were watching a pleasant kitschy movie and she got stuck. She knew the end was near and she had two days left to ruin my floor”

“I’m hoping there’s a resurgence of goddamn life before I croak but I doubt it”

“You’re Wake Forest kitsch. You look like Whole Foods-ers”

“It was so shittily unrememberable I didn’t remember”

“There’s no such thing as unconditional love”

“We spout bullshit out of our mouth every day”

“A little sex…a little je ne sais quoi”

“Beethoven is socially constructed…kind of middle class”

“Schmuck Schmuck Kardashian”

“You know who Don Flow is? He’s a flow”

“You’ve all seen grandpa sitting there like a stump”

“In 1982, when North Carolina started to mean anything…when I moved here”

“My brother in law is hopping around with a catheter in his dick”

“Cambridge. A creepy place”

“I’m near death. I’m not going to wait for you to respond. Fuck you!”

“This ‘ironic final’ that we have…the questions are unanswerable”

“3 cats constitutes a life”

“He doesn’t have a high IQ or EQ…he’s got no Q”

“A fuzz. A spring fuzz”

“I like your coat” “Do ya? It has a little je ne sais quoi”

“You can’t tell biology how to biology”

[On the bible] “Moses was in there begging for attention”

“I will back up because you hate me”

“This is a sub-complaint”

“I spent 18 years trying to grow grass in my front yard, because one should”

“BULLSHIT!!!!”

“American culture died in 1980”

“The Cheese stands alone”

“I don’t do drugs…anymore.”

“You guys won’t learn anything in this class, so I can only hope you leave with one lesson: floss. ORAL B MINT FLOSS. Write that down”

“This class is a savage journey to nowhere.”

“I’m not makin’ this stuff up- there are black bears in Greensboro and they stopped having sex in Japan!”

“My father was a bastard…literally”

“There are big cheeses and little cheeses in high school. I was a mid-size cheese, as you can imagine”

“…but that’s my one bit of honesty for the day. Back to ritualized murder!”

“The bellow of those lungs, man! You’ve gotta go to the Dixie Classic and look at those cows”

“At my age and with my dry skin, I spend most of my time trying to find a good doorway to rub my back against”

“I came in one night because, you know, I had a heart attack”

“I prefer to be invisible – it’s true, you can look it up!”

“It’s because I have Oedipal problems, as you know”

“When I stop teaching – which could be today, who the hell knows – no one’s going to teach Gravity’s Rainbow anymore”

“Gravity’s God Damn Rainbow”

“Gravity’s Fucking Rainbow, man”

“Speaking of which, here is an email from one of my previous good buds: ‘Hey, asshole.’”

“Can LSD cure our fear of death? NO! Look at me! I mean, I had bad trips”

“I do always try to address the potential terrorists in the room”

“Nothing like a placenta”

“Guy had Oedipal problems. He’s dead now, and deservingly so”

“My second best friend in the neighborhood, Clyde – well, he died. And now there’s nothing left of him. Let that be a lesson to you”

“Richard Nixon – a tricky-dicky evil bastard who needed to shave more often”

“Lay off the dope, take a few more baby aspirin”

“I’m down on Apple, I’m down on Amazon, I’m down on Google: I’m lost, I have no where left to go”

“I’ll never understand you people.  Good thing I don’t want to.”

Some Things My Professor Said This Semester: