Bathroom Stall Series, #7

Why are there so many stupid people in COLLEGE?

I find this rather tragic. Is stupid relative? Is college relative? Do stupid people read the writing on the bathroom wall? Or defend it?

Perhaps what's saddest about this one isn't the sheer existence of stupidity on campus, but rather the realization that there are stupid people everywhere. The world's full of them, and at some point we all recognize that there's no one magical place to be, no one magical thing to study, no one magical job to have. And maybe, the day we realize this, we'll be doing our business on a public toilet, as this young lady has here.

And for the record, I'm not really such a fan of the word "stupid." I overheard a comedian on the Sound of Young America say that hearing his work described as "silly" or "dumb" actually was a compliment, because it was the silliest ideas that he enjoyed pursuing. "Stupid" implies not only ignorance, but willed ignorance, something far more dangerous than simple immaturity.

Personally, I like the silly and goofy on my campus, and don't mind the stupid, as long as it's debated on bathroom stall walls.

Found Poem

Ask me how old this box is next time we speak

In a twist of serendipitous fortune, I found this post-it lying face-up on the street while moving out of San Francisco yesterday. I'd like to say that it came from one of my boxes--some lost note or thought that lay forgotten for three years, until it came time to move again. But I think it is more likely that the handwriting belongs to some other person, living a parallel life on this, the beautiful and hilly street that has been my base while I worked my first real job, started grad school, fell in love, made friends, saw presidents and politics change in America. Someone else who likely has traveled far and expects to travel again. Someone who hopes, just as I do, that they do speak again, and when they do, they'll remember the day they packed the box.

I found this poem

I had a legitimate moment of literary amnesia just now, when cherrypicking old work for potential submissions. I found these words and I know they held special meaning at the time, but the idea of titling something like this a "Bloodletting for Scarlet O'Hara" -- the Julia who wrote this poem is someone I no longer resemble.

Blood Letting for Scarlet O’Hara

You laughed when I said,
It’s been far too long since I’ve had a good scab.
It was true;
My body was tired of stories
Knee high fence posts
And narrow doorways.
We were at Whiskeytown lake
And it felt appropriate to be somewhere
Named after alcohol
Because my legs got drunk around you
Skidding down the boat ramp
It was 104 degrees
And the dirt was scarlet

O’Hara would’ve never done that
In a black bikini
Run down moss while you were still in the car
By the time you had your trunks on
My knees were the color of the dirt
Even lines of oxygen trailing into whiskey

Town lake and when you put me on your shoulders
I’d never been happier
To acquire a scab


I wonder at what point creative work simply overrides memory.


A brief follow-up to the Monday night Quiet Lightning event: Evan Karp, the San Francisco Literary Culture Examiner, wrote up a great summary of the reading at Gestalt.