Having established that I am an inveterate asshole, I do not want it sitting out there that I’m a whiner. As much time as I wasted over my year in the Dick program I did learn one invaluable lesson: “No bitch without a pitch.” So herein I will explain what I want out of a class, which, it has occurred to me, is also what I want out of a lover.
It might have happened before Dr. Collins, but I’ll always remember him as my first. I’d studied the Constitution, as in read it, before. How hard could the Constitution and Federalist Papers be? It’s an undergrad class. But oh, hey, guess what? Your Alabama public school social studies class in no way, shape, or form prepared you for Dr. Fucking Collins, who reads Latin and Greek for funzies. I was blown away. I scribbled furiously, barely following him as we read Locke and Rousseau to help us understand the philosophical underpinnings of this document. It was like being the star of your podunk high school’s football team, then showing up at practice at Alabama. Fuck me, I thought. This is so good. I am so dumb. It was the best, and spawned a deep and abiding crush on Dr. Collins, despite the fact that he was approximately one billion years old, and cranky as shit.
The second class like this was a two-day training right after I was hired for my first big-girl job after college. It was called something like Bruce Clay SEO 101, and literally everyone in the class did internet for a living, including someone who worked for the Bang Bros franchise. I did not know any HTML. The closest I came to internetsing was AIM and a Livejournal.
I called my dad in tears. I didn’t know what anchor text was, and they were trying to teach me how to optimize it for search. He told me that it was uncomfortable, like drinking from a firehose, but that I’d get it eventually. That no one expected me to know this stuff already, but just show up and learn. I did. It was miserable, right until the group photo at the end where Bruce Clay himself grabbed my ass. But shortly thereafter I became Birmingham’s very own SEO expert. Lolcats.
The truth is I like some discomfort, some terror. I like the pressure to pay close attention, to be 100% present, just to not be left behind. I like the idea of some struggle to prove my worth. Whether it’s a man or a class or a friend. My saving grace is that I’m not actually all that smart, so it’s not too much of a struggle to find a struggle, especially in this town.
I can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart that the beauty-for-status trade is mostly a myth. I keep offering my looks for status, “Here, take them!” But no one will. “Ugh,” the Harvard guys say, as they pass me by for the Yale chick. And I’m crying into my beer, alone. Whatever, Harvard. You’ll never make Yale happy. Oh wait.
Which means, of course, that if I’m not going to be smarter than my friends and lovers, that I need to be nicer. Which is, as we’ve discussed, a struggle all its own.