31 December 2016 Entry: Professor James Walker and the Final Day of 2016

Hello, WordPress! I actually started typing this entry on 30 December @ 11:30 PM Eastern Time. It takes me quite a while to type an entry, proofread it (because you must proofread your work – unlike MetsBlog.com), and finally click the “Publish” button for submission, so, I knew it was going to be an entry meant for the last day of 2016.

I was typing a post about the time in 2013 when I had to settle for a C grade in Urban Studies class in LaGuardia Community College. That grade is misleading as it should’ve been an A-. It came to be because of the incompetence of a Professor James Walker and, of course, the stupidity of my own self. Halfway typing through the series of events, I remembered how stupid I was, and so, I scratched the post.

But I’m not going to remember James Walker when I list all the people who were influential to me. Why? Because he accused me of having no integrity. Wouldn’t you feel insulted if someone accused you of having no integrity? Would you have tried to argue against that? I have social anxiety so I was too shocked to defend myself. Because my worst fears had come true in that situation: I was evaluated negatively. And he was unprofessional about it.

But it wasn’t like I had no integrity. I was stupid. No. What I did was stupid. I was going to call him stupid. But what he did was stupid. He gave me a C instead of an INC at the end of the semester, which was supposed to be the deal. Long story short: he thought I hacked into the grading system and gave myself the C. Wow! Where did such paranoia come from? My inner psychologist was and still is curious to know!

After briefly being suspicious of me, asking me, “Do I look like someone you can f*ck with?”, we discovered that he made a mistake with the paperwork. But the suspicion prior ruined every chance of him being the cool man I thought he was, of me getting an A, and of me viewing him as a respectable person. I only had a final paper to submit.

Did he think I was petty enough to be satisfied with a C? Because I never was. This post was the result of me seeing that grade again in my transcript. Even if I came to him sooner (which I foolishly didn’t do), he still would have had to submit a grade change. Why did he have to make me sob like a girl in the men’s bathroom after denying me that A-?

Are you, the reader, even know what I’m talking about? Sorry. Sometimes, I just can’t let go.

(So… this post did end up being about the post I scratched.)

2016. What can I say about it? It was the year I gained 20 pounds and became ugly once again, lost my self-esteem, took up cigarettes, finally took up relevant classes and rebounded in school, got promoted at work, moved in with my girlfriend, witnessed Trump win the presidential election, realized how racist and divided the United States really is, got to know and voted for Bernie Sanders, saw my beautiful cat – Marsha – die after getting an abortion days earlier, started taking dad to dialysis and quickly becoming exhausted with it, learned basic Spanish, learned how to play the guitar and play some Oasis tunes, visited New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine), visited Philadelphia two months later, became a vampire in Skyrim, started writing Yelp reviews, started blogging, started a WordPress, improved my writing, found renewed inspiration, and lied that I’d be graduating at the end of autumn.

So was it a good year?

Un poco.

I have a lot more work to do next year. I have to fix my place up with my girlfriend, get my GPA above a 3.0, graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree, find a real job, pay off $20,000 in debts, meet minds that are like mine, read more books, write more stories, lose 50 pounds, quit cigarettes, master the barre chord on acoustic guitar, go to Virginia Beach, find a cure for vampirism, make my family happier, make my girlfriend happier, etc.,etc., etc.

I can’t do anything now about 2016 or whatever happened regarding my Urban Studies class. I only have 2017 to look forward to. And it’ll be even better.

Epistolary: “The Great Aunt Helen”

In the summer of 2016, I took a class at Queens College called Introduction to Writing Nonfiction. It was that class where I received my first A after four semesters in that institution. Yes – SAD – but I look at it as a testament of how much I enjoyed that particular class. It lasted only three or four weeks and was instructed by a Professor Kaplan who was about the same age as I was at the time (25). That was awesome and it gave me inspiration and a model to look up to. That was what I was supposed to be doing at that age!

Every day in those few weeks, the class followed the same routine. First: an in-class writing assignment that could be shared; second: a discussion about the previous night’s reading assignment; third: group work; fourth: a separate in-class writing assignment; fifth: I forget; but that was how the format was. I enjoyed Professor Kaplan’s teaching style. And he taught us how to use semicolons! His specialty may have been theater because some of his group work involved us writing dialogue and plays.

Anyway, “The Great Aunt Helen” came about in that class and was one of three drafts that was to be revised and submitted at the end of the term. It’s an epistolary where I, in the future, am writing a letter to my hypothetical son, warning him of an unexpected visit from his great-great-aunt Helen. The real-life Helen is, in relation to me, my great-aunt, and she is, indeed, a great person despite all her faults. And that’s where the title comes from! This epistolary paints an image of a maddening woman, but is intended to be humorous. Despite all the terrible things said, I do love her dearly.

As part of my revision, I wrote a second part which was a response from my hypothetical son to future me about the details of her arrival. However, I’m not going to include that here because I only wanted to speak from my own point of view. (A response to the first letter was the only expansion I could think of for the revision.)

By the way, this is my third post on WordPress! Success! I love WordPress! But I feel like I’m missing some of my lightheartedness that was present in my first two posts. Anxiety and fatigue are getting to me. Hopefully, they will not diminish my writing.

“The Great Aunt Helen”

Dear Edward,

My son! How is everything? Enjoying your classes? Hope you’re not getting bullied. There’s something I’ve got to tell you. Please…. forgive me.

Your great-great-aunt Helen – or your grandma’s aunt – I forget what you call it – is going to visit you in Washington D.C. this weekend. Seeing you is what’s most important of course, but she also has been planning to go there for quite some time now. However, she’s been complaining that you haven’t returned her phone calls. She called the house ten times already and all I have are her messages on the answering machine. Your mother is pissed off. This might be hard for you to deal with since you’re busy with school, work, and a girlfriend who I hope is nice, but you have to do it, son. Do it for me! You haven’t spent time with her since you were a kid anyway. She’s only going to be there for two days and needs a place to stay. She didn’t want to pay for a hotel and you know why (she’s cheap). She was over at the house last week and she forced me to go online for her to find the cheapest hotel. I went through Expedia, Travelocity, etc., for two hours, but nothing was cheap enough for her. So I told her you were in D.C. with room to spare. I’m sorry. I thought she’d forget about it. Call her back.

I should give you a heads up of what to expect. When she arrives at your apartment – a time that would be most inconvenient – you have to park her car for her because she hasn’t been able to parallel park for years. You have to inspect her luggage upon entering your apartment because you may remember a story about a roach infestation that happened at the house a few years ago. We suspect she was responsible because her apartment has roaches crawling all over. Extermination took us a year before they finally disappeared. Also, hide the toilet paper. If the toilet clogs, don’t be surprised.

While she’s staying with you, be careful with what she cooks. I know you’re trying to watch your weight, but she will sabotage that. If you don’t want to eat, you don’t have to. Sometimes she’ll force you to eat her food. Try not to let her cook because she can cost you a fortune with the gas bill, using all four flames on a stove all the same time… and no one even eats her food! Throw out old food right away because she’ll cycle it between the fridge and the microwave until it has been eaten. Also, don’t ever leave her alone in the kitchen while you’re cooking something because she adds a load of salt and MSG behind your back. Eat enough of her food and you’ll begin to look like her. You’ll always catch her rummaging through the fridge, but never when she takes your prized utensils home.

Keep your place clean, especially the kitchen where she spends most of her time, either eating or cooking. She’ll lecture you about how to live your life and you might get offended. It’s alright. Be adamant about how you live your life. I gave you that freedom. That’s why you’re in D.C. instead of here with your old man. Don’t listen when all she talks about is your uncle who became an engineer, and never about me, and what I have done – like teaching Health, or publishing a novel, or winning an award for best horror screenplay. That wouldn’t impress her, but we all live different lives. It’s none of her business.

I know this will be a major disruption for you. I’m sorry. However, I raised you to be a family guy. So make time for your aunt – or whatever she is in relation to you. Introduce her to your girlfriend. A great man once said, “a man who never spends time with his family can never be a real man.” Of all the things my parents pushed onto me, the only thing I ended up believing in was family. That’s something I hope you still hold on to. If your aunt doesn’t tell you how much she’s proud of you, then I’ll say it here in writing – I’m proud of you and what you’ve done so far with your life. I’m also proud that you’re going to accommodate your aunt for the weekend.

Now call her back.

Love,
Your Sorry Father

Dialogue: “Jimmy and Johnny” (“No ‘he said, she said'”)

My “brilliant” English professor, Professor John Weir of Queens College, author of two books, etc., etc., gave us, his creative writing class, an assignment earlier this semester. He instructed each of his students to write down dialogue between two people we don’t identify with, and to not include “he said, she said”. I forgot the purpose of the assignment, but going through it again, I thought it was sweet. Professor Weir always had great ideas for assignments, but it’s a shame he never remembered to go over them!

Writing the dialogue was difficult at first. As a matter of fact, writing dialogue is my weakness. I think I do come up with some great ideas for stories, but my dialogue always suck! It’s probably because my introversion / shyness / social anxiety has limited my social relationships all my life. (Damn you, psychology. I can’t live in denial about my problems anymore.) I don’t know people. I don’t know what people say to each other or why they say it.

Originally, I wrote a dialogue between a man and a woman, but somewhere along the way, I got confused as to who was speaking. It’s easy for me to get confused in other aspects of life as well. Like math! I hate math!

“Jimmy” and “Johnny” may or may not be based on real people. I’m not saying any more… Okay, they were these two geeks in elementary school who seem to have grown up to be really cool people. And they’re more successful than I am. So there you go: two people who I don’t identify with. The dialogue is completely fictional by the way.

I copied and pasted the dialogue from my previous blog, Blogger, that’s now out of commission because I’m a traitor to Google.

“Jimmy and Johnny”

“Jimmy? Hey!”

“… Hello. I’m sorry. Who are you?”

“It’s me! Johnny! We were best friends in high school!”

“Johnny?”

“Did you go to Saint Francis Prep?”

“Yeah. I went to Saint Francis but… I don’t remember. Sorry. I’m in a hurry.”

“Wait! Class of 2008, man! We used to talk about wrestling all the time. We played war during recess like almost every day. I had a crush on Dana. Do you remember?”

“I remember Dana. But Johnny? … Yeah. I don’t remember.”

“Jimmy, right? James Nino. You have the same mole on your face. You talked about removing it some day.”

“Excuse me? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I love everything about myself.”

“How come you don’t remember me? We were best friends in high school. John Mauro? In our yearbook it says, ‘Why does Johnny follow Jimmy around all the time?'”

“… Yeah… Why did he?”

“So you do remember!”

“Yeah... I remember my girlfriend, Dana, cheating on me for some prick named Johnny!”

“…”

“Prick!”

“How come I don’t remember that?”

27 December 2016 Entry: Wendy’s @ 2:43 AM

It has finally happened: I’ve finally created a WordPress! (Or I’ve finally started using WordPress!)

I’m typing my first entry as I’m eating Wendy’s at 2:43 AM in New York City. I just got home after picking up my girlfriend’s aunt, or her tita, or her tia, or her ex-babysitter (I’m a bad listener) in midtown Manhattan, and driving her to Flushing, Queens. For my service, I was awarded the 4 for 4 meal from Wendy’s which my girlfriend lovingly paid for. She knows the way to my heart: food. The bacon cheeseburger is delicious, but the French fries are cold and soggy. Have you read my Yelp reviews? They all use those same adjectives! I should learn new adjectives.

I made a deal with my girlfriend that I’d do 30 “burpees” tomorrow. Is that how you spell it? I’ve been doing them for a while now and I think they’re the only thing that’s keeping me from being completely sedentary. I’m probably still not doing them the correct way, but they’re still quite exhausting. Last time I checked, I was about 200.6 pounds. That was yesterday as a matter of fact. For months now, my goal had been to get to 150 pounds. My starting weight? 180 pounds. No progress. I’m a runaway train, and I fear I may be experiencing early symptoms of diabetes, such as urinating more than a few times at night, numbness and tingling in my right hand, and, yesterday, feeling nauseated after eating five cookies. I’m still not worried though. I’m an optimist. I’ll get to 150 pounds, and I’ll have a healthy 2017.

Will writing out my thoughts improve my writing? I hope so! I’m switching over from Blogger, which I used because of my loyalty to Google. But I guess I’m trying to try new things. Most importantly, I had an English professor this past semester who I found to be brilliant, and he has a WordPress (or he uses WordPress), and I’m trying to follow in his footsteps. I’ve been following in his footsteps and I’ve been stalking him. Yes, I admit it. Maybe I’ll write more about him since he has inspired me to write more. You have to love those English professors who are inspirational. I should say not only English professors: all teachers. I intend to be one some day, in some way.

I’ve gulped down a tall glass of water to follow behind my Wendy’s, so I’ll leave this entry here. I’m excited to continue to write more, here, on WordPress! I just hope I can find the “submit” button. Or is it the “publish” button? Am I going to lose this entry? I’m going to pray…