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O boy O. Henry!

Ok, damn it, I JUST discovered Ayelet’s journal and literally, two days later, she ends the thing. Was it me, Ayelet? Was it?
Because it’s all about me.

Speaking of fabulous writers, my charming and clever professor Dr. George Makana Clark just won an O.Henry award. I know. I am in absolute awe. I mean, I buy the O.Henry collection every year and now he’s going to be in it. I feel faint with wonder of it all, that I sit at his left elbow in class and he laughs at my stupid jokes. What is more, that means one of my recommendation letters was written by an O.Henry award winner.

We can’t all be part of a super Wondertwin Power activate duo like Ayelet and her husband Michael Chabon. There has to be some of us left to bow to the deities as they pass by.

Insert segue here, but there’s a guy in my class who is in every single graduate writing program across the country. You know that guy: sort of goofy dazed expression, long shapeless hair, flavor savor beardlet thing, and Birkenstocks. Let me clarify: Birkenstock sandals with otherwise bare feet, even though it is 15 degrees out and snowing in Milwaukee. His feet are white and dry and riddled with dead skin. Someone asked him the first week why he kept wearing sandals sans socks and he explained that he only owns his sandals and a pair of hiking boots. Although it just now occurs to me that this week, he mentioned that he owns a pair of spats, so either he was lying last week to be all hippy, or maybe he was lying this week to be all eclectic, or maybe he forgot about the spats last week and really does only own a pair of sandals, a pair of hiking boots and a pair of spats, in which case, maybe he needs medication.

During the first two classes, he sat next to me. The barefeet and Birkenstocks guy. Despite how squicky I get over feet, this wouldn’t have been too bad. I mean, they were on the floor, hidden by the table, so it shouldn’t have been a problem. And it wasn’t, for the first class, or maybe I wasn’t paying attention. But the second time he sat next to me, once he got comfortable, he slipped those dry calloused hooves up onto the chair, which was, by the way, inches away from my person. But could he keep still? No. No he could not. He then had to readjust several times, flexing his hobbit toes around, cracking them occasionally. And then? And then! And then he started feeling his feet with his hands, rubbing their arches, probably trying to massage some circulation back in. And then he’d put his hands back on the table.

And then he asked to borrow my copy of the short story we were supposed to bring (one of my favorite stories, incidentally, Robert Olen Butler’s “Jealous Husband Returns in the Form of a Parrot“) and then held it with his feety hands and then after class was through, he handed it back to me as though it did not harbor the essence of his hippy eclectic man feet within the very fiber of the paper.


This week, I switched to the other side of the table. I couldn’t handle it another week. I can’t imagine anyone would blame me. I hope he doesn’t follow me next week.