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Whoa! Everyone is probably wondering where the hell I went. Well, maybe not "everyone," but I know my boss and wife were.

I probably should have warned you in advance -- this happens every year. You see, I was a student at The Evergreen State College, known affectionately by the student body as "TESC" and by local citizens as "that goddamned pack of bleeding-hearted hippie lunkheads." TESC has many hallowed traditions -- the spelling of "woman" with a "y", offhandedly referring to cops as "The Man" because they once asked you not to urinate on the post office, the widespread belief that the world would markedly improve if everyone dropped acid at the same time -- but none so cherished as "The Autumnal Orgy of Self-Righteousness," a festival which begins on the second Monday of October and reaches it's apogee on the fourth Thursday of November.

Actually, is starts a few days early, as students create banners and signs in preparation for Columbus Day -- or, as it is popularly known at Evergreen, "WHY DON'T WE CELEBRATE HITLER TOO WHILE WE'RE AT IT??!! Day". When the date arrives, student gather to march in protest, picket calendar stores, and speak passionately about the plight of the Native American which they know first-hand because they once rented that movie by Sherman Alexie. They also write letters to the editor of The Olympia demanding that the name of the holiday be changed to "Legalize Hemp"

Then, about a week later after everything has settled down and the people who got arrested for assaulting pedestrians with giant puppets have been released from jail, everyone eats one last "Pizza Hut Meat Lover's Thin Crust Special" and then announces to all their friends that they are vegan now, and, in fact, always have been. ("But I saw you eating a Reuben sandwich last week!" "No no, that was a ToFuben™") This allows them to not only join in the campus-wide, month-long denunciation of carnivory that precedes Thanksgiving, but also to wear t-shirts that say things like "Give Thanks That You Are Not A Turkey" and "I Am So Hardcore Vegan I Won't Even Watch Animals On TV" or whatever. The net result is that everyone spends Thanksgiving either (a) consuming an entree sculpted from soy, or (b) consumed with guilt as they gnaw on their murder. I mean "meat." Same thing.

So I got in the habit of withdrawing to my bunker on the second Monday of October and pretty much just hanging out in there until the end of November. (Luckily, at Evergreen you could miss 6-8 weeks of classes before anyone noticed or cared that you were gone.) Unfortunately, I can't seem to break myself of the habit. Last Sunday, for example, I unthinkingly went to my Fortress of Solitude and hunkered down, watching Fox News for three days straight. I was only jolted out of my reverie by the realization that I was running low on pork-flavored Mountain Dew.

And that's the completely true reason why I haven't been posting. Well, you know. True enough.

Posted on October 16, 2003 to Storytelling


Lies! Lies!

You were adding categories to your posts, that's what you were doing, in secret, all this time, and this gibberish about vegan eating turkeys and giant puppets and cops gone wild is an implausible cover story.

I'm on to you, buddy.

Posted by: i on October 16, 2003 4:07 PM

Oh, and I added categories to a lot of my posts, and stuff.

Posted by: Matthew on October 16, 2003 4:08 PM

"ToFuben" is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever heard.

Posted by: Darcy on October 16, 2003 4:53 PM

Hmmm, you pretty much described life at the Unversity of Victoria when I was there. My favourite was the guy with dreads working in the kitchen at the campus centre restaurant/bar who had to shave his head for sanitary reasons, i.e. he had lice.

Posted by: Steve on October 16, 2003 5:14 PM

I only know Evergreen by reputation ("no letter grades!") yet could not resist the urge, when speaking recently with a friend who just moved here, to describe Portland's Hawthorne District as "where Evergreen graduates go to fade into obscurity."

(She grew up in parts nearby, and appreciated the joke. But I'll gladly field outrage at your convenience. ::grin:: I wound up inexplicably at Missouri, so my sympathies rest in a different quadrant entirely. ::shrug:: )

Posted by: ben on October 16, 2003 5:54 PM

that pretty much sounds like my school, too, except that you didn't bring up the "bug" phenomenon otherwise known as "bi until graduation." that produced some odd conversations.

Posted by: kat on October 16, 2003 5:55 PM


I just love it when someone ELSE makes a good "observation" about Evergreen because that means I get to laugh at their expense *AND* usually avoid getting punched in the arm by my beloved spouse. (Greener Alum.)

Why did the Greener cross the road?

To get 5 credits!!

OUCH!! Oh crap... she's home....

Oh and my best friend in the world actually did get credits in a course for digging a hole in the dirt.

Tracy, lives just a few miles from that fine concrete institution... and am a UW grad. And yes, the UW football team does indeedy suck this year. But at least we aren't the fighting Geoducks.

Posted by: Tracy on October 16, 2003 6:36 PM

Yes Greensters are just the pinnacle of a mountain of wheatgrass drinking righteousness ranging from U.C. Santa Cruz (husband's alma mater) to Reed College. And what's so funny about Tofuben? The only problem is coming up with a politically correct name for sauerkraut.

Posted by: Miel on October 16, 2003 9:14 PM

Hey Matthew, did you see Kill Bill: Volume I, because you're my favorite movie reviewer and I'd very much like to see your opinion on this film that people seem to either love or hate.

Great blog, by the way, the only one I visit daily!!!

Posted by: Anonymous on October 16, 2003 10:25 PM

"ToFuben"... too much...

Posted by: Joel on October 16, 2003 10:26 PM

..."But at least we aren't the fighting Geoducks."

BAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! (Totally unoriginal, but useful all the same.)

I've learned since moving back to shrug three games into the Pac-10 Season.

See also earlier comments about UMC. Oklahoma Rulez, Nebraska Droolz, Missouri's not even on the damn radar. Again. Grr. Following the Big 12 North out here is an exercise in sagacity.

...And the more I think about the Evergreen bashing, the guiltier I feel. ::sigh::

Posted by: ben on October 17, 2003 1:22 AM

What's so un-PC about "sauerkraut"?

Posted by: Adam on October 17, 2003 1:28 AM

isn't Sauerkraut a pissed off German?
That would make it un-PC, because it's true too often.
I didn't say that.

Posted by: Soulitaire on October 17, 2003 2:58 AM

Back in the day, we called it Liberty Cabbage...

Posted by: Nick on October 17, 2003 6:47 AM

And that's the completely true reason why I haven't been posting. Well, you know. True enough.

Mort Sahl used to say, "Everything I tell you is true, but this is actual." It's a good distinction to keep in mind.

Posted by: alkali on October 17, 2003 7:49 AM

Several years ago, someone organized a punk-rock event in my town called "The Carnivore's Ball" at which there was a huge meat buffet, and the dress code was fur and/or leather.

I didn't fully appreciate it at the time, and I've been trying to find out who the promoter was. It's time for part II.

Posted by: Barrett on October 17, 2003 8:04 AM

RE: PC way to say "sauerkraut": a few months ago at the Santa Monica co-op, my boyfriend (a TESC alum who adored Tracy's 5 credits joke) found a jar of stuff called "Cosmic Cabbage."

It was sauerkraut.

Posted by: Ariel on October 17, 2003 8:40 AM

Ah yes, Evergreen jokes:

How do you starve a Greener?

Hide his trust fund check under the soap.

Posted by: Matthew on October 17, 2003 8:56 AM

Ah, the things you miss when you attend a college that produces Nuclear Regulatory Commission members (really: http://www.min.uc.edu/nuclear/htmfile/spr02_sem7.html) instead of dissertations on on "Misogyny in Daytime Television Commercials and its Effect on the Development of Independent Dressing Ability in Baby Womyns"

Posted by: David on October 17, 2003 10:31 AM


i almost peed at that one

Posted by: Lisa on October 17, 2003 6:51 PM

But the Germans call it "sauerkraut". That's where "kraut" comes from. It means "sour cabbage".

Or did you know that?

Posted by: Adam on October 21, 2003 1:51 AM

So does this Evergreen thing explain why my sister entered that institution as a Protestant, vegetarian, and liberal...and by graduation had become a Catholic, started eating meat, and married a hunter who votes Republican, was formerly in the Air Force, now works for a defense contractor, and believes that corporate ownership of the media has no influence on its content?

If so, how?

Posted by: Anonymous on October 21, 2003 10:39 AM

I think this post made me want to go to this school even more than i already did. My friends and i have passed it around and had a good laugh.

Posted by: jenny on November 4, 2003 3:51 PM

pork-flavourd mountin dew now where can you buy that? Wouldent itmake more sence to have beef-flavourd mountin dew be more practical, for muslims?

Posted by: susan on November 23, 2003 8:14 PM