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2B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 7, 2004
Random confirms: John Kerry s hot
The Michigan Da
no fact zonelshort fiction
By JORDAN HEm
By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Writer
The Michigan Daily: Hey, congrat-
ulations! You've been selected to do
the Michigan Daily Random Student
TMD: You got some time?
R: Um, kind of.
TMD: Oh, kind of, that's what I
like to hear. All right, so what's your
TMD: Casey, what's going on? What
year are you?
R: I'm a freshman.
TMD: Fantastic. All right. So today,
in case you haven't been out of your
dorm, um, was bid day, when all the
sororities, you know, grab their little
froshie pledges and head them off to
the house. How do you feel about that?
R: Um I don' care, I'm not doing it. I
think it's kind of stupid, but whatever.
TMD: No, no, go with that emotion.
I mean, doesn't it seem a little lame,
there's a reason Southern universities
refer to it as "Squeal Day."
R: Oh, OK. Well, yeah.
TMD: Doesn't it make a lot of
R: Um, sure.
TMD: Isn't it sort of like an angry
riot done by a bunch of really preppy,
squealy, like upper-class girls?
R: I don't know about all that, but
TMD: Whatever, all right. Who you
voting' for in the election?
R: John Kerry.
TMD: Oh, how come?
R: Because I think Bush is an idiot
and I think John Kerry can do a lot of
good for this country.
TMD: What about Al Sharpton?
R: Al Sharpton's pretty cool.
TMD: All right, so, but would you
vote for him for president?
R: Um, actually yeah.
TMD: Yeah, that's what I'm talkin'
about. What about Obama?
R: Obama? He's pretty cool too.
TMD: Yeah, that's what I'm talkin'
bout. So speaking of Obama, have you
heard the "Why" remix from Jada-
kiss where he talks about impeaching
George Bush and electing Obama as
R: Um, no, I haven't heard that.
R: Um, I'm sorry.
TMD: WHAT!? (in the manner of
R: Um, I'm really sorry, I haven't
TMD: Oooooooh, Lil' Jon's upset,
he's doing the interview with me. You
gotta excuse him, he sometimes gets
a little excited. All right, so have you
read the "This Week in Crunk" col-
R: Um, no.
TMD: In the Weekend Magazine?
R: Wait, no, I don't think so.
TMD: It's got the photo of the really
good looking guy above it?
R: ..(silence) ... (aside to unknown
person) ...I'm on the random student
interview ... (laughs) ... um, no, I don't
think I read that, sorry.
TMD: You should definitely start
reading it soon. All right, so what have
album you listening to?
R: Right now?
R: Um, I'm listening to a lot of
TMD: All right, what's your favorite
album in your CD player right now?
R: My favorite album in my CD
player right now is ... You know, it's a
really tough decision.
TMD: All right, top three, go.
R: Top three? Um, Johnny Lang: Lie
to Me, Tom Waits: Heart of Saturday
Night, and P.J. Harvey: Stories from
the City, Stories from the Sea.
TMD: OK, we just all give you a
standing ovation, because I just bought
the new Tom Waits album today, you're
officially the coolest random student
R: (shouts) I'm the coolest random
student interviewee ever!
TMD: All right, so Heart of Sat-
urday Night. Why not Rain Dogs or
TMD: Why Heart of Saturday Night
and why not Rain Dogs, it's the better
R: Well, see, Heart of Saturday
Night is like, my mom's favorite album
of all time, and I bought it for her for
Christmas and then I burned a copy,
R: I've listened to it nonstop for like,
the last year or so.
TMD: All right, well, good answer.
So MIPs, what's the deal with those?
You gotten one yet?
R: Um, you know, I'm pretty lame,
so no, I have not gotten an MIP.
TMD: Oh come on, you listen to
Tom Waits, you can't be that lame.
R: Um, yeah. Yeah, I am.
TMD: Oh, wow. Your stock is fall-
ing fast. What would you do if you got
R: What would I do if I got an
TMD: Yuh huh.
R: Urn, OK, um, try to whine my
way out of it. .
TMD: How come, 'cause you're a
R: Yeah, I could flirt with the guy,
maybe he'd, you know, like yeah.
TMD: What if it's a chick?
R: Um, in that case, then no. Hmmm.
I don't know. I probably wouldn't try to
flirt my way out of that one.
TMD: Do you think you could be
discriminated against to be having an
R: Um, I don't know, maybe.
TMD: All right, we'll leave that
alone. So clearly you're into random
stuff, you know, because you're doing
the random interview, so how do you
feel about random hook-ups?
R: (Different person) How do you
know - how do we know that you're
just not a stalker?
TMD: Oh, babe, I'm a licensed jour-
nalist. You'll see this in the paper if it's
R: Well, but you could just have
looked her up on the Facebook or
something and pretend to be a random
interviewer, but you're just trying to
see what she enjoys in her free time
and her favorite food, and, uh...
TMD: You're completely right. I'm
the nerdy guy sitting three rows behind
you in chem class. Let's go out on Fri-
R: (back to Casey) Yeah, that was
my friend Dana.
TMD: Well, she brings up some
R: Yes, that's right, she does.
TMD: All right, well, this is what
we're doing now. We're going to play
the hot-or-not game. All right, Michi-
gan Marching Band, hot or not?
R: Because I was in a marching
band in high school and no matter what
marching band it's always pretty cool.
TMD: All right, what instrument do
R: I played the flute.
TMD: (Cough) Loser. I'm sorry,
Reverend Al Sharpton, hot or not?
R: Reverend Al Sharpton? He's got
pretty awesome hair, he's pretty hot.
TMD: Oh, OK, two for two. Michi-
gan Daily staff, hot or not?
R: Um, hot.
TMD: Oh, wow, you're batting a
thousand. Sparky Anderson.
R: Sparky Anderson?
R: Who's Sparky Anderson?
TMD: Who's Sparky Anderson?
TMD: Former manager of the Dee-
R: Sorry, I'm a Boston fan.
TMD: Oh, you're from Boston?
Cool, so am I. So who's gonna win a
hot oil wrestling match, Dick Cheney
or John Edwards?
R: Dick Cheney's a pretty big dude,
but John Edwards is kinda hot, so.
TMD: Huh, did you say that John
Edwards is kinda hot?
R: Yeah, I think that, yeah.
TMD: So you want him to like,
sweet-talk you that like, Two Americas
R: Well, you know, I think John
Kerry's hotter than, uh, John Edwards,
but, you know,
TMD: John Kerry - his chin is the
size of Arkansas!
R: Haha, doesn't matter.
TMD: Yeah, and you're competing
with Teresa, she's got mad loot!
R: Whatever, John Kerry's pretty
TMD: Yeah, OK, OK, OK, fair
enough, fair enough. Clearly, we know
how you're voting.
TMD: Would your -
R: Because you already asked me
TMD: Yeah, I know, but we're just
- don't get smart with me, random
interviewee! Um, all right, so final
question. We got a pretty conservative
football coach here. How would you
feel if we replace Lloyd Carr with rap
superstar Lloyd Banks?
R: Hmm. That might be pretty inter-
TMD: What do you think of - how
do you think the football games would
R: I really don't know, I don't go to
TMD: You don't go to football
TMD: Why? Too many, like, mouth-
breathing Neanderthals cheering on a
bunch of steroided-up kids throwing a
R: Um, actually, in high school,
I was in the marching band, and so I
went to a lot of football games, so, and
then last year one time we got up and
we were playing and stuff, and some
kid kicked a field goal and I got hit in
the head with the football, so football
is pretty bad for me, you know.
TMD: Why? You've got pretty rot-
ten luck. You picked the wrong Tom
Waits album and you got hit in the head
from a football, so. Well, thanks a lot,
you'll see this in the paper. Word, life.
I MWI #ia M 1
WT T 1
She knelt into the display
case, her oversized sweater
hanging off her thin shoul-
ders. With trembling hands she
cradled watch after watch, pol-
ishing their stone inlays with her
thumb. When her supervisor was
in the back attending to the shop's
books, Caroline would brave the
chance at being caught and wear
the watches with an unsuited
grace around the store.
In the late afternoons, when the
shop emptied of customers and
she was left alone with them tick-
ing, she would wear the one she
adored the most, the watch that
brought her back to when her
mother would hug her as a child
with an identical one pressing
upon her back. After Caroline
would wrap the band around her
wrist, she would remain, pen-
sively kneeling as if before some
deity. Then the tears she always
cried would shake her so awful-
ly she had to remove the watch,
place it with frail precision in its
sun-tarnished display, and ready
herself to leave for the night.
She sometimes resented her job.
When the monotony of arranging
the jewelry wore at her as it often
did, the ticking seconds struck
her with a desire to leave. She
would make plans to pack up her
necessities and buy a bus ticket
out of the city. The arrangements
were never made though, because
of the bleak realization that leav-
ing meant going home. Grabbing
at her sweater, as if in a mad
search, she would mumble so even
customers noticed, "Not again. I
can't leave and let it all go to hell
again. I have to stay." And she
would stay and endure the pains
of the late, lonely afternoons that
had been routine for months.
Men searching for gifts worthy
of the women in their lives would
ignorantly stroll through the
shop, requesting only the gaudiest
pieces. They always left rushing
out into the street, and Caroline
would envision them not running
home to their wives or daughters
or mothers, but to their own mir-
She could see them modeling
their chains and rings in self-
admiration. Caroline would laugh
and upon their quizzical glances,
she would quiet herself, excus-
ing the illegitimate giggles. Some
of the men though, with indolent
eyes like they had just seen a
whore and were not yet entirely
satisfied, resembled her father.
She was too frightened to delight
Late one afternoon, moments
before she brought out her watch,
a young man stepped inside
the shop and nodded politely
with honest eyes -fixed on her.
Through much deliberation, she
said, "Good afternoon, sir," and
reverted to her sweater. He nod-
ded again, more graciously this
time, and looked toward the dis-
Taking notice of his eyes, she
observed they had nothing to
lament; they could stare for a
long time, unabashed, not once
sinking away to past memories.
Caroline was frozen, gather-
ing clammy gobs of her sweater
and listening to the ticks chim-
ing under the glass. He knelt in
front of the watch display where
she had anxiously posed, and she
concentrated on his eyes. Fixed
on the pieces, they were carefree,
and she wondered how he could
be so close to them yet appear so
untouched. Those ticks were pain
to her - something everyday she
was forced to endure and could
never cherish, but here, they were
yielding to him. Caroline knew he
was numb to the ache those sec-
ond inflicted in her. She knew he
had no idea that with each tick
she wanted to leave sooner, but
obliged by the fear of where she
would go, she couldn't.
Her thoughts were disrupted
when he stood to look upon the
watches from above. He leaned on
his hand placed flatly on the glass.
She tilted forward too, grabbing
a tighter hold of her sweater. He
shifted his eyes to her, spotting
her tense movements.
"You're stretching your sweat-
er." His voice alarmed her to run
her shaken look across his. "I
don't think it could stand to be
Shooting her eyes to her crum-
pled sweater, she interjected, "It
was a gift."
He returned to the watches and
she to her strained stance. The
seconds pulsed heavier in the
silence; it almost bonded them
though, she felt. The ticking made
it seem to her that she was shar-
ing all her life with him - the
ridicule she failed to ignore, the
bruises she had covered, the tears
she withheld over the years - and
for an instant, Caroline was com-
forted by his painless ease with
The man interrupted her again
by standing up. An oily print of
his hand remained, and she shud-
dered at having to wipe away his
sweat later. She questioned qui-
etly, "Have you made a selection,
"I have. Please, I'd like that
small silver piece with the sap-
phire inlays around the face." He
pointed to her watch. She drew
her eyes to him overcome by the
dread of giving it up. A moment
passed without any words.
"Miss, I'd like that one,
At the sound of his gentle voice,
she shook herself free as best as
she could. "Yes, oh yes, a good
"My favorite piece in the store,
in fact." Her voice trailed.
They conversed awkwardly,
discussing payment and packag-
ing. Close in mind were thoughts
asking why she would ever give
up something that she loved and
cherished as this. She glared
at him fiercely while speaking,
uncertain how he had bought the
right to carry out the door the few
good memories she had. "WhatMO A
will he do with it?" she kept think-
ing. She imagined his palm, from C BER , PM
it dripping the sweat that would Letting the politics
corrode the watch and with it her
"Thank you. Have a great after-
noon." The man grasped his pur-
chase which lay next to his print,
and upon spotting his mess on the
glass, he apologized, "Oh, excuse
me. Let me get that." He pulled
the tail of his pressed oxford out,
gathered it into a makeshift rag, MONDAY, '
and cleared the glass. He tucked Cal fortC
in his shirt and moved to leave the
shop.$ " ticket pr-e.
See FICTION, page 16B
Interactive Web cast discussion on issues such as:
Restricting speech at athletic events
Establishing free speech zones
A Discerning between free speech and disorderly conduct
Creating civility on campus
" Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Michigan League - Vandenberg Room
Hosted by the Association for Student Judicial Affiars (ASJA) and the
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)
Co-sponsored on campus by:
Writers: Andrew Gaerig, Jordan
Henry, Joel Hoard, Lauren Hodge,
Megan Jacobs, Michelle Kijek, Puja
Kumar, Emily Liu, Punit Mattoo,
Evan McGarvey, Bernie Nguyen
Photo Editors: Elise Bergman,
Tony Ding, Ryan Weiner
Photographers: Joel Friedman,
Ali Olsen, Christine Stafford
Cover Art: Elise Bergman
Arts Editors: Jason Roberts,
Adam Rottenberg, Alex
Editor in Chief:Jordan Schrader
ffite of Student Conflict Resolution
Division, of Student Affairs