Archive - April 2006

La Vie de L’Artiste

I am an artist.

That just occurred to me.  Not the flannel-wearing, patchouli-stinking kind who thinks any two things you weld together is art.  Especially if you name it something obscure and important sounding – “I call this piece, ‘Baudelaire’s Misogyny: An Etude.’”  Helps if you say it with a French accent.  I don’t know why.

Nor am I an artist because of the drivel I foist off on you, the unsuspecting reader, in these missives.  Or in the two novels I’ve written.  (Hello?  Agents?  Hello?  Little help here please?)

No, I am an artist of the most inane sort.  The Liberal Artist.  Not a political statement.  An educational statement.  I was one of those delusional many that fell for the lure of the liberal arts degree.

     When I transferred from the Aerospace Engineering program to Philosophy (feel free to shake your head at my abysmal stupidity), I got a letter from the Department of Philosophy – and, no it’s not a government agency that hires idiots with Philosophy degrees, unfortunately.  The letter assured me that I was not making a mistake.  It said that, in fact, businesses LOVE people with philosophy degrees.

     That, not surprisingly, was a lie.

     Businesses are as impressed by your philosophy degree as they are by degrees in English (sorry, Nicki) and History (you too, Danny). 

     If you’re lucky, shortly after graduation, you’ll be hired by some overworked HR flunky and shown a cubicle next to Gail in Accounts Receivable. She is a garrulous beast with a fondness for cats and holiday-themed sweaters.  The magnitude of your educational “oops” will be come evident in less than three weeks.  Luckily, you can now afford even more alcohol than you could in college.  You’ll need it.

     If you’re not lucky (see: Me), this is what you can expect.

-         You’ll keep the job washing cars at a Rent-a-Car place.  The same job you had in college, then:

-         You’ll leave your degree off the application at Jiffy Lube because you’ve been dismissed as “Overqualified” for the last eight shit jobs you applied for.  You’ll make minimum wage.  In my case, I was made manager in six weeks, resulting in a lot more stress and fifty more cents an hour, then:

-         You’ll follow your girlfriend (whom you can’t believe is still with a loser like you) to grad school where she’ll pursue a real degree leading to a real job.  You’ll get a job in a junk yard, and spend a rainy winter lying in the mud pulling parts off an ’89 Ford Taurus.  Good news is, you’re making $7 an hour now.  Bad news is, your three bosses have thirty-two teeth, combined, then:

-         You’ll finally land a gig in a “Management Trainee Program.”  Two years later, you’ll realize that this nifty program is a way for the company to pay you salary (IE, no overtime) while making you toil in the warehouse for sixty hours a week.  But you have health insurance, which is nice.  Because you also have a bulging disc in your lower back and a hernia.

But what will really chap your ass, is when you get home, and after spending forty-five minutes in the shower trying to get rid of all the transmission fluid in your hair, then thirty minutes with an ice pack on your back and another on your groin, you get to sit down and a write a check to your student loan company.


Grumpy Llama,


Um, you see there is this guy who really really likes me, but I'm not gay so I need help on what to tell him so he will leave me alone.



Dear Anonymous,

Ahhh, the unrequited gay crush.  As timeless a conundrum as rippled vs. regular chips.

Is he rich?  Because at least then you could get some nice stuff first.  (Hey, if it's okay for the ladies...)

It also depends on his level of, uh, tenacity.  If he's being nice about it, a polite no thank you would work in lieu of public rejection (unless, of course, the latter would be funnier, which it probably would).

If he's unrelenting, then pick some place of optimal embarrassment, say church, or band practice (I'm making an assumption there), or any school assembly.  IMPORTANT:  Do not wait for him to approach you, and try to make sure he is not nearby.  Stand up, at the most inappropriate time, and shout, "Dude, I keep telling you, I like the hole not the pole!"

You will of course bear most of the blame for his suicide, but your problem will be solved.

Hope that helps,


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