Repeat After Me: A Rant in E Minor
When I was in college, I took an abnormal psychology course. During one of the recitation sessions, we were reviewing suicide when our leader quoted a statistic from the book, "More women attempt suicide than men, but more men actually succeed at suicide."

A girl in the front row raised her hand.

"Wait are you saying more girls try to kill themselves?"


"But more men actually do it?"


"Wait, you mean there are numbers to support this?"


"No I mean like statistics."

"Yes, precisely."

"Oh OK."

I remember the leader getting a pained look on her face as she tried to figure out what exactly the student hadn't understood.

When I was in high school I starred in Terrence McNally's one act play Next in which a middle aged man is inexplicably drafted. After passing the physical exams, he attempts to throw the psychological exam. How does he do it? By repeating the statements back to the examining officer. For example, when asked about the meaning of the phrase "a rolling stone gathers no moss" he responds, "Well I think that it means that a...uh. rolling stone..well it gathers no moss."

While in Next, the repetition tactic successfully earns the main character a pass from the Army, now he would be rewarded for simply listening and paying attention. One of my students arrived in my office over a paper which I discussed in class. Although I specifically mentioned several pointed out several issues students needed to consider in not one but two class periods and gave the students a hand out, most of the papers ignored the points that I intentionally tried to pinpoint. Many students received notes on their paper indicating that they needed to address the points I reviewed several times in class. It was one of these very students who arrived in my office today paper in paw to talk to me. (Mind you the students have also had these papers with comments for a while and it was until today, the day before the revision is due, that he bothered to come meet with me. And he has to do a pretty hefty rewrite.) I repeated the same points I made in class, the same points I wrote down on his paper. I even used the same phrasing. "Oh, I get it. I should address these points," he said.

Um yeah. If I say it six or seven times in one class and repeat the next day, and then write it down, well, it might be a good idea if you did in fact address these points.

I was having a conversation last night with a friend about this very issue. Even as professors have to issue increasingly detailed assignment descriptions, students seem to be increasingly inept at doing things like reading directions or highlighting important requirements. At NYU, administering their proficiency exam, students had to follow literally two directions. The first was to skip lines. Invariably, twenty minutes in a student would raise his/her hand and then say "Do I have to skip lines?" Does it SAY to skip lines? Well then yes. What was strange was that usually five minutes later another student would ask the same question and then another. And still on about half the exams the students didn't bother to skip lines. Often I find myself answering the same questions over and over again. And in some cases I find myself having to literally cut and paste sections of the syllabus into emails to answer student questions. The answers are there, but the students simply don't bother to look.

So what is the answer friends? Personally I wish Sam Kinison was alive. Although casting him as a history professor in Back to School was a joke, now I think he would be a great choice. He would calmly walk into my class and say, "Well today we are going to talk about how you need to rewrite the paper OOOOHHHHH YOU GOD DAMNED BASTARDS WHY ARE YOU DRAINING MY LIFE WHY CAN'T YOU JUST FOLLOW DIRECTIONS YOU SPAWN OF SATAN YOU ARE SUCKING MY LIFE WITH YOUR INABILITY TO READ WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU YOU THINK YOU ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET A JOB IF YOU CAN'T EVEN FOLLOW SIMPLE DIRECTIONS YOU EVIL MINIONS OF THE HOARY NETHERWORLD JUST DO IT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS YOU FOSTER CHILDREN OF SATAN OR I SHALL GET MAX VON SYDOW TO CAST THEE OUT OHHH OHHHHHHHH."

I garauntee you, they would follow the directions.

*The truth is that I love teaching, but you know there are days when I just want to hit them upside the head and say "What is going on in that little noggin of yours?" Also special thanks for David Sedaris and Bill Hicks for providing me with the title to this post.

Interview courtesy of Joe Flirt
I've done this meme before. The rules are simple. Joe Flirt
has answered his five questions and asked those who want to participate by writing "interview me" in the comments section. I responded so now I have to answer the five questions he sent me. If you want to play, just write interview me in the comments field. I'll then send you five question the answers to which you post on your own blog.

Here we go

1. Do you prefer silky, lacy or cotton for your "unmentionables"?

It depends on what it's for. On an everyday level, I prefer zany underwear. I have a unique style of dressing that reflects my sense of humor, and I like my underwear to continue that. I have some Betsy Johnson cotton thongs my favorite has a mermaid with the slogan Man Bait written under it. I also have pink leopard print.

For more "serious" lingerie I prefer silk slips from the 40s-the cut and the style. It fits the femme fatale in me.

2. Has your mastery of language ever been a barrier where you couldn't be with a guy that was otherwise perfect, because he just "sounded" like an idiot?

For me, no, but I know the fear that I judge men on that level inhibits a lot of men when it comes to getting involved with me. But if you look at the men I've dated (truck drivers, artists, scientists) most of them had absolutely godawful grammar. Never really bothered me unless they wanted me to copy edit their work and didn't appreciate the level of work that takes. And that happens a lot more than I care to admit.

3. (Following up on number 2, sort of) If faced with the choice between the best lover ever and dumb as a box of rocks, or Mr. Incompetent in bed, but challenges you intellectually, who would you choose? Why?

Oh man awful choice. I want to hope I would pick the intellectual because you know one hopes you can teach him to be a more competent lover. Sex is a small part of life, important, but small. Being challenged intellectually that spans a whole lot more and makes life much richer. And generally a person who is intellectually challenging likes to be challenged as well. So hopefully he'll be up to some sex schoolin'.

But I'll be honest here, it's a VERY hard choice because I don't generally like rehabilitating bad lovers. If the guy was bad in bed, but a good kisser I'd make the sacrifice if he was special. If he was a bad kisser, he's out. Period.

4. What is it that draws you to horror films?

A lot of things. As a child I had to deal with a lot of horrible things-an insane alcoholic father, all my health issues, but my parents never wanted to talk about it and wanted me to "be brave" ie not talk about it and not act scared. Horror films were the one time I could express my fear and not "break the rules." It also allowed me to confront my fears and triumph over them giving me a feeling of control-a feeling desperately lacking when I was say going into a room full of med students at Boston Children's Hospital.

But also I had a sleeping disorder in rural CT. Which basically means watching tv alone at night a lot. And at that time it was a choice between porn and horror. I picked horror.

I think those are the two two big ones, but there are lots of smaller reasons too.
5. If you could pick one former lover you cast away, and take them back now... who would it be and why?

One I cast away? I haven't thrown that many away. Generally my problem is being too accepting. I can think of lots of guys I should have never dated or broken up with earlier, but for the ones I left, I can't think of one I would take back. Nope can't think of one.

The Forgotten
"You seem kinda angry," she says.

Wait, let me back up.

In a move I'm sure he conceptualized as utterly compassionate I'm the one who apparently gets honor of breaking the news of his departure. Odd move for a guy who was so terrified of what I would tell my friends. A man like that, wouldn't he want to tell his friends? Take the option of maligning his name away from me? But then if he told the truth he would have to deal with being the "bad guy" because it what world does he break up with me? But really it's that he doesn't have the balls to do it. And so I, because I always get the wet work, I get the dubious honor of telling those we know.

She was hoping to have a party in two weeks and invite me. She was his friend first. He'll be on the list too. It's clear he has spoken of it. As if my removal of his life isn't worthy of comment. Another insult. Although he'll find a way to make it not his fault, he didn't mean it, he didn't know, it's now what he meant. Because, you know, he's such a nice guy. When I think about how many people tried to sell him to me, well, it's funny that he left me because that isn't the natural order of things in a just world. After all those people tried so hard.

So I tell her in the fastest vaguest way possible, without any details, hiding as much as I can including my pain, my embarassment, my rage.

"You seem kinda angry."

Angry? Angry?

Angry doesn't begin to describe it. I'm heartbroken. Still. Everyday. You want to know the truth? If you have any sense you don't, but I'll tell you anyway. As much as I suffered from low self esteem in my life, as much as my body has been twisted and tortured-I always enjoyed dressing up in sexy clothes. When I was growing up in CT and couldn't get a boyfriend to save my ass even though I had a body I would kill for now, in the middle of the night I would get dressed up-full make up and sexy cocktail dress and just hang out in the house. It made me feel better. Now I dread being naked, even around myself. That drawer of sexy sli[s I used to wear to bed. Might as well put them in storage. I don't even open that drawer. Oh I'm utterly inorgasmic. Feel so unattractive I don't even try to seduce myself. Hate the way I look. Hate myself for living this long. I try and overcome it. Maybe I succeed for a few hours, but then I'm back to hating myself.

And him.

But not as much as I miss him.

I tell her it'll be fine if he comes to the party. Because I don't want to be trouble. That NE stiff upper lip. But really it's because I want to see him again. Lie as I may to everyone else that's what it is. And yet I know what will happen. If I see him again, I very well might end up drinking a drano martini because although I hope he'll have a change of heart I know what will really happen. He'll be fine and I'll be left realizing I'm breaking my heart for someone who doesn't even think of me anymore. Motherfucker. I've held my tongue for so long to protect him-looked the other way-protected him and he only ever suspected the worst. Now he doesn't even think of me at all.

So why should I bother to protect him now? Because whether I believe or not, I was born a Jew and I'm gonna die a Jew. And Jews believe you do the right thing because it's the right thing, not for credit, not for repayment, not for reward. Virtue is its own reward. He can believe he's the good guy, I get to actually be him. And telling her is just part of the price of that virtue. Am I made? Absolutely. Because no one after this better try and sell him as a nice guy, or I'll rip their lying tongues out.

Does that seem angry?

I lose my cellphone at some point in the night and go uptown to my local bar. There are only two other people in the bar; a guy and girl are on a date. They are both blonde and good looking with a limited level of intelligence. They have seen the 300. Their conversation with the bartender, who is a friend, spills over to me. And in the end the guy becomes so engrossed in my conversation I know I could cock block and seduce and steal him. He has her back to her entirely while she sits in bored silence. I wait for a break in the conversation and bring her back in. Quickly he forgets me. An hour later they are making out. They leave without saying good bye. In their future happiness will they think of me? I could have stopped it. I could have taken him, but I didn't. I put them together.

And they won't even remember me in the end.

The Best Thing About Dead Silence

Oh I did so love Saw. And Dead Silence, well, I hoped it would redeem James and Leigh after the travesty that was Saw III, which I have many reasons for hating. But, well, the best thing about Dead Silence is the stunning visuals including star Ryan Kwanten. Let me just say yummy.

Unfortunately, the film is very slow moving with a lot of people getting their tongues ripped out. Which is unfortunate. Although if you look there is a special cameo by one of the stars of Saw.

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