Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prelude to Journalism

Fiddler on the Roof rehearsals were going well. They were a lot of fun – as I believe you’ve got the impression – and, even though there was a lot of odd emotional and… er, well, drama stuff that went on within the cast, it kept being fun.

I’ve been told that I should not have been surprised by the severe shifts in mood that I saw during that time from the cast members, but I still was. I’d like to believe that I’m a pretty stable guy when it comes to emotions. They confuse me, by and large, and I try very hard to remain Dude-like, to abide.

Of course, I don’t succeed all the time. Not even El Duderino remains Dude-like all the time.

Anyway, it occurred to me about halfway through one karaoke night at Rutherford that I needed a break from the outings with the drama students. I knew that because, when “Don’t Stop Believing,” the Glee version of course, came on and I thought, “I’d kill for some fucking Slayer right now.” 

The drunken squeals of delight that followed the entire Musical Theater Society as they rushed up to three microphones and performed the song surely didn’t help. Nor did the palpable wave of hatred that came from everyone in the bar.

And so, to find the polar opposite of MTS, I went to The Drunkard.

It occurred to me that I had never seen a single journalism student at Kent aside from The Drunkard. It didn’t bother me so much as confuse me. Surely the University would not allow a single-student discipline.

In my confusion, I called up The Drunkard. “Drunkard,” I said.

“Narrator,” he slurred.

“I need to speak with you.”

“Of course you do,” he said, punctuating the sentence with a gigantic belch. “Find me at Mungo’s. There’s a group of freshers here, and I’m analyzing them. Seeing which ones will give into nihilism first.”


I made my way to Mungo’s, ignoring The Drunkard’s new-found past-time. What a man did in his free time was his own business, and as long as The Drunkard wasn’t overtly bringing these freshers to some depraved depth, then I wasn’t going to interfere.

Mungo’s, now that the term was in full swing, was back to normal. Pints of Carlsberg and Strongbow flowed forth from taps like waterfalls of sub-par alcohol. The tables were filled with loud drama students in equally loud garb, and off in the side rooms, meaty individuals were playing FIFA on X-Box.

The Drunkard sat at one of the barstools on the raised portion of the bar’s dining area. He wore a hoodie, not dissimilar to The Stalker’s, and had in his right hand his customary double Jack Daniel’s on ice. I weaved through the tables, ignoring the screeching sounds of Katy Perry bursting over the speakers, and the smells of Mungo’s burgers.

He spotted me as I mounted the stairs and nodded. “No drink?” he asked, nodding at my empty hands.

I shrugged. “Still a bit hung over from last night.”

He shook his head. “You’ll never get anywhere with that attitude. Luckily for you, I managed to have some foresight and ordered another whiskey.” He pushed a tall glass filled with amber whiskey - no ice - to me.

“This is pretty big.”

“Quad Scotch, yeah. It’ll do ya.”

I pulled up a stool beside him, facing the dining students, and took a sip. It was rancid, but I felt my headache subside just a bit.

“What do you need to talk about?”

“Your degree.”

The Drunkard arched an eyebrow at me. “Checking up on my marks, Narrator?”

“No. I’m just confused. You’re the only journalism student I’ve met. Now, you can’t be the only one - I don’t think the University would allow a one-student discipline - so, logic tells me that there must be others. And I wond--”

“Stop,” The Drunkard said. He turned to face me full-on. “You’re entering a dark world. There are things you are not privvy to. Things that would change the way you view everything you’ve ever read or heard. Non-fiction, as a whole, if you choose to pursue this path, would be forever altered for you. Do you wish to continue? You’ll only get one chance. Choose wisely.”

I snorted. He was clearly being over-dramatic.

At least, that’s what I thought before I read the man’s eyes. There was a hardness there. Gone was the usually present mirth - however buried beneath self-loathing it may have appeared to be - and it was replaced with something dire.

I gulped. I nodded.

“Very well.” He knocked back the rest of his drink. “It so happens that there is a meeting of my kin this evening. I’ll vouch for you when we arrive, but it is imperative that you, above all, remain cool. No matter what depravity you witness, you must remain collected.”

“Depravity? Drunkard, you may fool the freshers in this room, but I know you. You drink, but that’s not depraved.”

“I am but a learner.”

“So where’s the meeting going to be held? I don’t think journalism has a building.”

“It doesn’t. We don’t require a building.”


“Look,” The Drunkard said, leaning forward. “There are several things you must know in order to explain why we don’t need a building. They all have to do with the difference between us and you literature students. To wit:
  1. We understand that everything we do is pointless. Our degree is a massive con. You do not need credentials to be a journalist. You need a sharp eye and intelligence, things that cannot be learned. You Literature students are much the same way, but you actually buy into your degrees.
  2. We understand that we will never amount to anything. Most of you have pretensions to being something other than starving, debt-ridden pseudo-intellectuals. We journalists embrace the knowledge that we are the middle men between information and consumers. It may wreck our livers, but we acknowledge the fact.
  3. Because of points one and two, we are more willing to engage in self-destructive behavior. When you realize that everything you’re being told is a lie, there is no recourse other than to live life in a Bacchinalic frenzy.
  4. Because there is no possibility of our becoming anything in society, we are driven to take down the sons of bitches in power. Anarchy, of a sort, is our creed.

Do you get it?”

He’d been gesturing frantically throughout his list. He was sweating, and as he began his monologue, his speech sped up to a frenzy. I don’t think I understood his last points, and so I just guessed at it. His final words came out more as “Jageddit?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I get it.”

“Good,” he said, calm again. “Meet me in Woolf Courtyard at seven. Be prompt, for time will be short.”

No comments:

Post a Comment