Regular readers of the VENT will soon notice that I’ve gotten much smarter. Although admittedly the bar was set fairly low with such previous VENTs as “I’m Locked in my Car,” “W=Genius,” or “Dem Fractions is Hard!”

But now my intellectual prowess will be obvious. Let me give you some examples. First, I could count fairly high before. But I can count really, really high now. Also, if you ask me to define “existentialism,” I’ll say “no problem,”–or better yet, “no problemo” because everyone knows that “problemo” is much more sophisticated. You may never actually get that definition of existentialism, but my deft use of words such as “problemo” and “Okie-Dokie” will blow your mind.

Want more proof? OK. Do you remember those SAT word analogy questions? Well I can answer them now! For example, take the question “Joseph Stalin is to the Black Death as the Partridge Family is to ______ ??” Well I know the answer to that now (no problemo!). I think you see what I mean.

The genesis (big word! Ahhh!) of this change was the 3 weeks I just spent at a government-studies seminar at Harvard University (the Harvard you heard of, not that other one). Yes, it’s true. I was honored to stroll the same historic paths that John Adams strolled. I supped in the eateries where John Updike supped. I drank a bottle of cheap whiskey and passed out in a puddle of my own urine in the same alleys where George W. Bush drank cheap whiskey and passed out in a puddle of urine. It was heady stuff.

Over the next several VENTS I will share my experiences with you, my loyal reader. I don’t usually do multi-part VENTS, although my last series, “Shaving my Back, Parts 1-8” was surprisingly popular. However, I do think that both the depth of this particular experience, and my total lack of any other ideas merits a more lengthy exposition (another big word! And did you dig my use of the word “Supped”? I’m not even sure that’s a real word!)

Day 1 – The First Day

= I arrive on campus. I admire the ivy-covered walls. I learn it’s not really Ivy. It’s poison sumac. But somehow the school couldn’t sell parents on bragging that their kids were attending a “Sumac League” school. Many of the buildings have inspirational sayings carved over the doors, such as “Live, Learn, Prosper” (over the science library) or “Eat, Binge, Gluttonize” (over the local Sbarro). It reminded me of what my old Rabbi used to tell me to inspire me: “Daylin, the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others.”

= I review the curriculum. The first thing I notice is that there are none of the frivolous electives that were offered at my college, where I spent whole semesters studying “The History of Hack-e-Sack” or “The Roll of Fondue in the Civil War” (turns out it was limited). Of course, my college is no longer technically a college. It’s evolved into more of a bar and grill. Great nachos though!

Day 2 – The First Day no Longer

I show up to my first class, where we were supposed to be studying the roll of an elected representative. I was a little confused at first by the professor, who kept talking about “Avogadro’s Constant” and “Newton’s third law of motion.” It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that I realized that I had messed up the directions and wound up in a physics class by mistake. I didn’t learn much about government, although I did manage to write an excellent paper on why a Black Hole would be a great place to send Ralph Nader.

At this point (or long ago) you might be wondering how I got into a very competitive Harvard program. Well, I knew how impressed admissions officers are by interesting extra-curricular activities. So when I filled out the application, I made sure to mention several things, including:

= My long-term marriage to chef Julia Child
= My years playing bass for The Clash in the 70’s
= The fact that I invented subtraction
= The Pulitzer Prize I won for my rebuttal of Einstein’s theory of
relativity, called “E=MC2 My Ass!”

When I arrived at the seminar, the admissions officer did seem slightly disappointed that I didn’t bring a copy of my book. He also seemed surprised that I didn’t really look like a full-blooded Mohican Indian.

Day 3 – A Different Day Entirely

Each day we had about 60-80 pages of reading to do prior to our classes. In college I was a slacker. I read the entire assignment for, like, the first week. By the second week, I was skimming. By the the second month I was just smearing the papers on my chest and chanting “Smile on me Gods of Osmosis.” This led to me often being unprepared and answering every question the professor would pose by wailing “Oh, the humanity!!” which worked Ok in History class, but not so much in “Botany” or “Human Sexuality.”

Finally, I arrived in the correct class and prepared to learn. I wondered if these Harvard Professors were all they were cracked up to be. I expected these avatars of brilliance to question and probe me. I hoped they were able to overlook how hot I am. I was not in the mood to be ogled like a piece of meat yet again. Although, I’ve gotten over that part and I am now, once again, prepared to be ogled like a piece of meat…preferably mutton.

Next VENT, Class begins…

Dutch Larooo