12 November 2007
29 Questions About Grinnell
1.) Where did you get late-night food ?
Bob’s Underground had Lesley Bagels, with melted cheese and salsa. Someone later invented “The Bastard,” which substituted cream cheese for the melted cheese. When I managed Bob’s, a third of my salary went to feeding myself during paper-writing marathons when I’d live in a booth for days on end.
2. What was the best class you ever had?
Ed psych with Jean Ketter, both for the academic content and for the fact that it was the only class Ali and I had together, AND it was the class that solidified our friendship with Cam. Both fiction classes I took with Mark Baechtel, DBQ's poetry class, Cavanagh's Milton Seminar, the class with Russell Coward when we convinced him to take us to the West Side Diner for hashbrowns.
3.) What was the worst class you ever had ?
English Historical Linguistics. The topic was fascinating, but the class made me want to kill myself.
4.) Who was your favorite instructor ?
Such a tough call. Jean Ketter, who dressed in little tweed suits and said things like, “Where is that book? I want to marry that book!” – Mark Baechtel, who carried a leather satchel and never minded when I interrupted his writing at the forum – Michael Cavanagh, who thought it was funny when Cynthia and I compared Satan to the perfect ex-boyfriend – Dan Beachy-Quick, who let us choose between writing a final essay and hanging poetry in public bathrooms – Mary Lynn Broe, who had so much faith in me that she gave one of my poems to Tillie Olsen – James Alan McPherson, who handed out business cards for himself as a corporate epic poet (Last Epic, “Fight Fiercely Firestone”) – in other words, so many.
5.) Who was your least favorite instructor ?
Ask me in person. It’s a long story, lots of hand gestures.
6.) Favorite college bar?
The Downunder Pub, where we played intense games of darts and insisted on playing “Hey Joe” every night.
7.) Best sporting event attended ?
The soccer game where Davin broke a kid. You could hear the bone snap all the way across the field. It was gross. Also, any game when Jaddy’s mom brought the Great Dane, and any game where Dan Itzkowitz heckled.
8.) Best concert attended?
Again – so many. Maybe the Dar concert where everyone in Harris sang “Iowa” together. Or Herbie Hancock at the opening of the FA building, Fall of 99. Kris Delmhorst in Bobs, the Nields in Harris, the Black Eyed Peas… Off campus, Dar in Madison, September 2000, Young Blood Brass Band any time between 1999-2002.
9.) The best time to have a class ?
There was a Tuesday/Thursday class that was an hour on one day, and an hour and a half on the other. I think. Am I making this up?
10.) Favorite drink?
The poor man’s chai – black tea, vanilla torani, and steamed milk.
11.) What was your first dorm room ?Langan third, room 2310. It had a sloped ceiling and a window overlooking Mac Field.
12.) Favorite people to eat with while you lived in the dorms?
Ali got me in the most trouble in the dining halls. Erika Dowd and I ate breakfast together every Tuesday and Thursday for a year. The great thing about the dining halls at Grinnell was that you could walk in alone and be sure to run into someone you liked. You almost never ate alone.
13.) The funniest nickname for a person in college?”John Stamos if he got really fat, became a smelly socialist, and married his cousin.”
14.) Craziest friend?
Funny crazy, or sad crazy? There were a lot of both.
15.) Books . . . Buy? Borrow?
The bookstore was a big deal. This was before the global domination of amazon.com. I think I borrowed Ali’s psych book, but other than that… I bought them all.
16.) How many parking tickets?
Not as many as Ali! Also, I paid them when I got them. They were only five bucks a pop, so they never seemed like a huge deal. The ones I did get were all for parking in Darby or for the alternate side snow parking thing.
17.) Favorite cafeteria food?
Waffle bar – a quarter waffle with strawberries, walnuts, and yogurt or whipped cream.
18.) Funniest person?
There were so many funny people at Grinnell. Dan Itzkowitz and George Carroll come to mind (“Not funny ha ha, funny lawsuit.”) Chris Rathjen and Nick Wagner had a radio show that cracked me up every week. Mary Hoeschen and Ali Brown. Matt Schiltz and Matt Charnetski and Tim Kerber. Hudson Heatley.
19.) Phys Ed Classes taken?
Ha! I used to let my dog run around in the field house at night.
20.) Your first party spots?
Harris dances, whose blend of innocence and debauchery I’ve never found anywhere else.
21.) First friends?
Ali, Tim, and Kevin
22.) Favorite place to live?
White House, aka The Funnery Nunnery
23.) Best road trip?
Driving Mary Lynn’s smelly station wagon to Ithaca. We left at midnight and by 6 pm were dumping coffee coolatas on each other’s heads at a rest stop in upstate NY.
24.) If applicable, did you go to class on 9/11 ?
In a daze, yes – Cavanagh shook his head and couldn’t say anything, and half of us were sobbing… after a few minutes, we all wandered out again.
25.) Craziest thing you did on campus?
It probably involves alums and large amounts of harmful substances. Or possibly biting.
26.) Ever stay for a summer session?
Yes – Ali and I had a MAP the summer before senior year that involved doing research all day and drinking our stipend at the pub each night.
27.) Best campus job?
Editor of Ins & Outs, the newsletter for prospective students. Also, working alumni weekend was always fun.
28.) Funniest name for a campus building?
Mary B. James
29.) How many friends from your college days do you talk to each week?
PLANS allows us to feel like we’re in touch with each other without actually having to talk to each other – and I mean that fondly. That said, I do email and chat with a good number of Grinnellians every week, both people I knew in college and people I’ve met since. I met some of my best friends in the world there.