Andrew Gaerig: It ain't you, baby, it's me

BY ANDREW GAERIG
knee-slappin' homoeroticism
Published December 9, 2004

The revolutions and revelations that have been uncovered in this very space over the course of the last semester have, no doubt, been one of the highlights of your college experience. I am not (obviously) too humble to admit as much. To suggest that I have been unaware of the campus dialogue surrounding this column space, to suggest that I’ve ignored the bundles of e-mails that I’ve received (a grand total of zero so far, slack-asses) would be to publicly decry the sort of popularity that I desire, and quite frickin’ frankly, have earned.

Andrew Gaerig

Indeed, at the beginning of the semester, I promised to provide you with the sort of undampened genius that most people have to pay a lot of money for. I’ve ignored the warnings of other minor campus celebrities about the throes of fame: Lloyd, Chad, Mary Sue — thanks but no thanks. I’ve snubbed petty warnings from my roommates about how “people might not be as interested in reading 700 words about you as you are in writing them.” Poppycock! I made a promise to this campus, and neither petty jealousy nor the good intentions of my good friends will deter me.

All of that being said, I’ve got to warn you folks — at the beginning of the semester, I was worried that you would become too dependent on my layered prose, that my witty insights and ultimately life-changing words would throw you into a state of irreparable shock. For the most part, campus, I commend you, because while I do sense some lingering dependence out there, you’ve adjusted to me remarkably well. No, I’m afraid what I’m about to reveal to you, campus, is far more disturbing:

It ain’t you, baby. It’s me. I swear.

You see, while you were salaciously lining up at the newspaper racks at sun up every other Thursday morning, I was doing a little soul searching. Worry not: The majority of what I found down there was as genuinely awesome as you might expect. What I did learn, unfortunately, is that I’m really more like a genius factory than a genius distribution center. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” you ask. “Haven’t I written a column on being patient yet?” I answer. “No, you haven’t,” you say longingly, “though I bet that would make a great column. Besides, waiting is hard. I’m really looking forward to the explanation.” I would be remiss if I did not reward this type of flattery.

All this means is that I can’t just pack up and ship out the genius in neat little 700-word packages whenever you people demand it. Stuff like this takes a little while to manufacture. There are production costs, like food and shelter and constant, sincere ego-feeding. And even when all of the inputs are supplied in full, there’s a sort of fermenting process that goes on in my factory that I can’t really explain that well. Suffice it to say that if this stuff left my head prematurely, it wouldn’t be pretty.

I must give credit to you, public: You’ve been very patient. This column, therefore, is aimed at the people who regularly expect me to deposit genius at their doorstep in a basket like some unwanted bastard child. It’s not that easy, people (for one, it’s hard for me to part with this stuff – I love it dearly). I’ve routinely tried to explain this to my editors and professors, to no avail. I’ve reminded the editors of this very magazine that “sometimes it takes a long time to write this shit. Like, more than two weeks, sometimes.” They continue to impose their genius-crushing “deadline.” I’ve discussed this at length with professors, who have repeatedly threatened to “fail” me (as if!) if I don’t “turn in my assignments.” My roommates keep demanding a “rent check” under threats of my “personal safety.”

I’m hoping that the factory analogy, therefore, is a sufficient explanation for the way my brain works. I’m resisting the urge to pull out the seed-to-giant-oak-tree and caterpillar-to-beautiful-butterfly comparisons, but I’ll warn you: Such contrasts are not below me. You’ve just got to give me some space. You’ve got to give me time. Mostly, you’ve got to kiss some serious ass, because I won’t be around forever. And I’m not too proud to pull out the “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” clich